Thus pleads the Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad with a front-page headline “Don’t leave me this way” over a full-page Union Jack. The Netherlands currently chairs the European Union, and it is thought that if Britain leaves on its watch, this will damage the country’s reputation. The headline is also seen by many as a response to British tabloid The Sun, which told its readers on Tuesday to vote "Leave” when they make the "biggest political decision of our lives” on 23 June so that Britain may be “set free from dictatorial Brussels.” The political rhetoric surrounding the "Leave” campaign has unfortunately descended into xenophobia and racism, with so-called immigration problems being the main target of speeches and cartoons. In a lighter moment, the Guardian advises its readers to freeze your cheese and holiday in Albania.
The debate of Britain leaving the European Union is gathering impetus ahead of next week’s referendum, with many polls indicating that the “Leave” campaign is winning out over the “Remain.” On the other hand, First Franklin Chief Market Strategist Brett Ewing has a different interpretation of the polls. In a close examination of the latest set of results, Ewing said in commentary this morning: “In the polling for Brexit, ‘undecideds’ consistently make up somewhere around 10 percent of responders. Most people who are calling for the Brexit to happen are citing the tendency of undecideds to break towards the challenging side—this phenomenon does exist when voting for people, but not for issues. When facing an issue that directly effects the person voting,” contends Ewing, “it is much harder to pull the trigger for change than it is to simply vote for a person with whom they identify. The other key differences in the polling come from the discrepancy in online versus telephone polling. ‘Remain’ has consistently been ahead in telephone polling … identifiable telephonic polling is much less susceptible to errors in sample size and veracity of belief than the online polling.” The Economist has a Brexit poll tracker on its site, though this amalgamates statistics from both online and telephone polling.
A report published today by the Centre for Economics and Business Research suggests that Britain will experience 800,000 job losses if it leaves the European Union. The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne has threatened a damaging Brexit budget, warning of tax rises to fill a £30 billion black hole, if the population votes to leave, while 57 of his colleagues, and the Labour Party has threatened to vote it down regardless. There is a rare show of unity between Tory leader David Cameron and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Indeed, former Prime Ministers Tony Blair (Labour) and John Major (Conservative) have both made numerous speeches and appearances saying that leaving the European Union would be disastrous for Britain. In fact there are rumours that all four will appear on a platform next week to urge voters to remain.
While the Conservative Party is “allegedly” staying “neutral,” half of Conservative MPs, including five cabinet ministers are in favour of leaving. The U.K. Independence Party is, of course, also in favour of leaving, while the Labour Party, the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Welsh party Plaid Cymru are all in favour of remaining within the European Union.
Business is generally supportive of the “Remain” campaign. CBI director Carolyn Fairbairn, speaking today said: “Access to the Single Market allows ambitious firms to buy and sell easily in 27 other countries and smaller firms to be part of supply chains that span the continent, creating jobs here at home and making the U.K. more prosperous. The Leave campaign admit that their preferred choice means withdrawing British firms' access to the EU single market of 500 million people. This will put British businesses out in the cold and hit jobs.” The CEOs of Rolls Royce and the Berkeley Group are the two most recent to throw their weight behind the ‘Remain’ vote. Rolls Royce CEO Warren East has written to employees to support Britain remaining in Europe, noting that it would give the firms American rivals a competitive advantage. The British Chamber of Commerce says about 55 percent of its members back staying in a “reformed” European Union.
Even if the vote is to leave, the process would take two years or longer, with Britain still having to abide by the EU’s rules without having any say over which ones are implemented. Such a situation would lead to significant uncertainty over legislation and regulations—looks like there's more to come.
Continue the conversation at Compliance Week Europe: 7-8 November at the Crowne Plaza Brussels. Join us as we look at changes in global anti-corruption regulations, slave labour risks in your supply chain, and how to detect fraud, to name just a few topics. Learn more