Saturday, 25 June 2016 17:46

BRITAIN'S DECISION TO LEAVE THE EU: A Pandora Box, A shock Wave, A Tsunami or an Earthquake and its Pros and Cons.

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If there is any other country I love besides Nigeria and the United States, it is Great Britain popularly called "Ilu Oba" by my Yoruba clan of Nigeria.

I instantly fell in love with Britain the first time I visited London in 1972 as a new admission to the Royal Institute of Public Administration at Mabledon Place London next door to the University of London at Gower Street.

I was a regular visitor to the Public Gallery of the Mother of Parliament for all of my years in London. I went there to listen to Parliamentary debate or watch the questions and answers sessions of the British Prime Minister. The members do not speak the "Igodomigodo" stuff you often hear from our own Patrick Obahiagbon of Edo. I fell in love with the country there and then and the love has endured till tomorrow even though I now I live in New York, the greatest city in the World.

Once upon a time and long before July 4, 1776 when America got her Independence from Great Britain, the center of gravity in World Politics was Britain. It was the colonial super star that colonized and ruled America and India ever before Pakistan broke away from India.

The British Empire was described as the "Empire on which the Sun never sets" for good reason because most of her colonies can be found in all time zones of the 6 Continents up to Australia, New Zealand, Canada up to the Caribbean, and to Africa and to Hong Kong in the Pacific and Falkland Islands in Argentina.

Little Britain with a population of less than 50 million at the time was the Lord of the Manor. When Britain sneezes, the rest of the World used to catch cold until the United States completely stole the show reducing Britain to a second fiddle by consensus. Britain, nevertheless, remains a great world Power and the closest ally of the United States.

Up to last Thursday Britain used to be the 5th largest Economy in the World. It quickly dropped down to Number 6, minutes after its plebiscite to stay in or leave the European Union was decided in the early hours of June 23 in a cliff hanger of 52 to 48 votes in favor of breaking ties with the EU.

Much of the World including the British Prime Minister and the United States President had expected the side opting to stay in the Union to have a narrow win, but they were all proved wrong as the returns from much of England minus the London area and Wales began to trickle in. London area had voted to stay on by 70 to 30 percent vote and Scotland by 62 to 38 and North Ireland by 56 to 44. The decision to leave surprisingly won by 52 to 48 votes in the final tally. The Prime Minister had misread the mood of the country.

The outcome was music to the eras of the side that won but a Pandora Box, a Tsunami and a Shock Wave or Earthquake to the rest of the World as I would show with the remaining paragraphs of this article.

When I heard the final result from BBC News, all I remember was how an Ijebu man or woman would have described the Earthquake of a Referendum. I whispered to myself  "Kide o?" and I replied to myself "Ijogbon romde" meaning that trouble has come because I knew the development is going to have some serious and far-reaching implications not only for Britain but for the rest of the World.

I thought it was a short-sighted decision that Britain might regret down the road, but when I remember the resilience and the resourcefulness of Britain from the beginning of time, I could clearly see some light at the end of the dark tunnel for Britain despite my disappointment.

Every disappointment has some opportunities hiding within it, if only you have the eyes to see them. That is why the Chinese in their wisdom define the word "Crisis" in their language never as a tragedy per se, but as a chance to do a makeover and do it better. Shall we now go to the pros and cons of that vote which many in the World, including myself, have described as a huge mistake?

I thought it was a mistake because of what happened as soon as the whole World and Wall Street and the Global Economy became aware of the outcome of that monumental vote. 164 Billion Dollars in World Trade was calculated to have been lost within the first few hours of that decision.

The United States alone lost 830 million Dollars in just one day of trading following the decision. The Dow Jones Industrial Average nosedived right away even though it started to pick up again once unflappable David Cameron had made his speech, admitting that he had failed and after he had laid out a very persuasive and credible plan on the steps that Britain was going to do reassure the rest of the World that nothing drastic or draconian is going to occur rock the boat of the global Economy.

It was a huge and necessary damage control by a very bright and articulate Prime Minister who admitted he committed a blunder by calling for the Referendum at the time he did, without placing too much premium or emphasis on what happens next if his own side of the Referendum did not win as it turned out.

I take off my hat for the young man. Even in his worst possible moment as Prime Minister, he still found a way to stand tall as a consummate politician. That was something that third world leaders and politicians like old Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, poor Museveni of Uganda, naïve Jomo Kenyatta Junior of Kenya and President Jameh of the Gambia and our own President "Go Slow" of Nigeria could learn something from.

President Buhari was once asked why he had given all of the juicy positions in his Cabinet to his fellow northerners, he replied those were the people he knew best and trusted the most. That was a reply that a David Cameron would never have made even in his sleep. Any British Prime Minister making that kind of statement would have had to resign within days of making such a Tsunami statement. The President got away with it in Nigeria because we knew no better in our "Animal Farm" kind of "Unitary Federalism"

Despite the assurances given by David Cameron Britain lost her position as the 5th largest economy in the World. She was instantly downgraded to the 6th position. Because of the outcome of that vote Scotland which voted to remain in the Union was emboldened to declare it is going to have another Referendum on breaking away from Great Britain.

If she succeeds, there is a likelihood that North Ireland might do the same thus shrinking the UK to the smallest size she has ever been in her History. If Scotland and North Ireland get their independence then future kings of England like Prince Charles, Prince Williams and little Prince George would have had their kingdom reduced in stature and leverage than the one presided over by Queen Elizabeth the Second for more than 60 years. That was not a prospect that those who voted to leave the EU had factored into their decision or calculus.

The chickens are now coming home to roost as those who voted to leave the EU are now weighing the full ramifications of their decision which makes some sense from their own point of view which I would now briefly address because they too have reasons to be concerned about where their country is headed if their country retains her membership of the European Union.

I totally agree with them that Britain is no longer the Britain we all used to know. I visited Bradford not too far away from Leeds the last time I was England. I would have sworn I was in some Ghettoes of New Delhi or Doha, Karachi or Kabul or Jeddah.

If you go to Liverpool Market in London today you may feel you are in Kingston Jamaica or Porto Prince in Haiti, or Mushin in Lagos, or some of the Favelas of Brazil. Immigrants from all over the world and most especially from Europe are moving in to Britain in droves that would drive any British citizen crazy because they too love their country and their quality of life which has been seriously diminished.

I do not blame them. Low density areas of London like Paddington, Edgeware Road, Marble Arch and Savoy Row where the rich and affluent used to live are fast becoming Ghettoes where pick pockets now abound day and night.

You travel in the decent and clean Tube or subway in London only to find some hoodlums and little children begging for alms inside the trains and defecating in public places like they do in their countries of origin. They sing "Sadaka sabo da Allah" like they do on the streets of Kano, Gwagwalada, Potiskum, Abuja and Kaduna or Banjul in the Gambia or Kaula in Senegal. I could almost weep for Britain when I saw that. Come on. Give them a break. I too would complain if I find myself in their shoes.

If you think that was bad enough, wait till you hear of immigrants from many of the breakaway 15 Russian Republics who are now members of the European Union. They are all coming in droves to Britain as Asylum seekers and Refugees.

Some of them are well educated people and Professionals and skilled technicians and house keepers who can be easily absorbed into the British job market without any problem, but the great majority of them are uneducated and unemployable. They all come to Britain to get public assistance and medical coverage their parents and relations have not worked for and all from tax-payers money and labor.

They are all roaming the streets looking for dole out or begging for alms as allowed by their faith or Religion. They get into crimes to keep body and soul together. Many of them are from Cyprus, Turkey, Greece and former Yugoslavia and the newly created Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovenia and what have you.

Since Britain had ruled India for close to 500 years before granting them their independence in 1948 and in Nigeria for more than 100 years before our independence in 1960, Indians and Nigerians and Ghanaians and the Caribbean people take England as their second home.

You go to Liverpool Market today and you think that you are at Oyingbo or idumagbo or Dugbe or Alaba or Onitsha Market. The immigrants have more or less taken over Britain. No wonder you now have your first London Mayor, a British citizen of Pakistani or Indian origin. The immigrants don't see anything wrong with what they are doing but the indigenous and Anglophile British resent the development and rightly so. Put yourself in their shoes and you will feel their pains.

Added into the mix are Islamic, radicalized immigrants and Asylum seekers from Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Algeria and Morocco who cross the Mediterranean Sea to cross over to Gibraltar and other parts of Europe. Most of them end up in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Britain looking for greener pastures and gainful employment.

The true British are scared to death and rightly so. They have to know that staying in the EU could only compound their problems and predicament because they would be bound by the rules applicable to member countries of the EU.

They figured it out that they have more to gain by leaving the EU and cutting their losses, and I cannot help but agree with them on that. The British are intelligent and resourceful people if you are familiar with their History as much as I do. They are aware that their traditional alliance with the United States is strong enough to protect their country and cushion any fallout from their decision to quit the EU.

They have the British Commonwealth as another huge protective umbrella talk less of the G8 and the G 20 group of Nations not to talk of NATO, the most powerful Military Alliance in the World and the United Nations of course. Leaving the EU may cause them some hiccups but not nearly as much as losing membership of NATO and the British Commonwealth.

They knew their almighty Sterling can weather all the storm because it is the strongest Currency in the World and that London will forever remain the pillar of the Global Economy come rain or shine. Their trading partners in the EU cannot because of their leaving the EU abandon Britain altogether because they need Britain as much as Britain needs them.

They make the judgment and rightly so that the Heavens will not fall if they leave and cut their losses on that score. It is not a bad position to take by a world power like Great Britain. The British believed in the precept that" Nothing ventured nothing gained" and that there is no gain without some pain.

They took a chance on the EU. They might suffer some black eye and some pains along the way, but they would survive when all is said and done is their calculation. We must not second-guess them on that given their history as the greatest diplomatic colonial Power the whole World has known.

They were aware of Article 50 in the EU Memorandum of Association which was specifically put there to persuade and lure Britain to join the EU to start with. The Article 50 was meant to protect the right of member countries to walk away if they change their mind on their membership. So come to think of it, Britain by voting to leave the EU is not doing something that is totally unexpected.

They have exercised their right under the Charter to leave the EU. But if Britain ever chooses to come back in the future, it is her prerogative, and there are protocols that she has to follow. It is a long and tedious process but it is within the realm of possibility.

We cannot fault them because countries like France and other members of the EU have expressed the same opinions or reservations and may well end their membership of the EU in the future based on the same sentiments that Britain has expressed. The decision by Britain to leave the EU right now is therefore not as crazy or bizarre as it may sound.

The immediate losers in all of this are the followings. The Prime Minister, David Cameron who has resigned with effect from October. There are three legal ways to remove a Prime Minister in Britain. If the Prime Minister loses a vote of confidence on an important motion on the floor of the House of Commons, he could tender his resignation and call for a new election even if he has been elected for less than a year.

He could be removed as Prime Minister if the majority in his Party voted against his continued leadership. He could voluntarily tender his resignation for Health and other reasons and call for a new election just like he has just done for losing an important Referendum.

It is a great Democracy and arguably the best in the World with no written Constitution but well established Conventions and Protocols which all leading Politicians in Britain hitherto have always observed without being forced to do so.

You will never find an "Akintola taku" or a President Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast or an Emperor Omar Bongo or a Robert Mugabe who all refuse to relinquish their jobs until they have a gun pointing to their heads.

David Cameron resigned with immediate effect and rightly so, leaving the Party to either back or elect Mr. Lawrence Johnson, a former Mayor of London or Michael Gove, a ranking member of the Conservative Party as the new Prime Minister. The two of them support the motion to leave the EU and either of them has a right to be elected Party leader and Prime Minister in accordance with British Protocol and tradition.

Only in Britain is that possible. You will never find a man like Donald Trump aspiring to the highest office in the Land and going that far in Britain. His simple statement made in Scotland that the fall of the Almighty Sterling is very good for his kind of Business would have quickly ended his campaign and presidential ambition in Britain. Her Majesty, the Queen does not get into the fray because the Prime Ministers all govern and rule the country on her behalf. "God save the Queen"

It is a different ball game, however, in America where a buffoon and a political novice like Donald Trump can be elected the presumptive nominee of a major Political Party in America. Forget it. That kind of scenario would never have been allowed in Britain. The British are decidedly better than that if you know them well like I do.

I rest my case.

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