Brexit – How it may affect you (from July 2016)
There has been a lot of speculation, predictions, gossip, etc. about the recent UK referendum in which 52% of the people who voted chose to leave the European Union (EU). The UK joined the EU in 1973 (which then had 10 member countries), but there was no referendum about joining because the leading political parties at the time were all committed to take the UK into the EU and felt that a referendum was not necessary. In fact, most public opinion polls at the time showed that the majority of UK people did not want to join the EU, but a majority of MPs in the Houses of Parliament voted to join. Before the General Election in 1974, the Labour Party promised that if they won the Election they would have a referendum on whether the UK should leave or remain in the EU. The Labour Party won the Election and a referendum was held in 1975. The general public feeling in the UK at the time was “now that we are in the EU, we should stay in” and the referendum resulted in 67% of the people who voted choosing to remain in the EU. Since that time, the EU has changed a lot, and it now has 28 member countries. The UK chose not to use the Euro as its currency, preferring to continue with the Pound. Before the last general election, and just like the Labour Party did in 1974, the Conservative Party promised to have a referendum in 2016 on whether to leave or remain in the EU, but this time the result was reversed.
What will happen now?
The referendum result to leave the EU has shocked many and delighted many, but there is still a lot to be decided in the coming months and years and time will tell how things develop. I am sure that the UK will remain a very important country in the world and it has a history of democracy, culture, tradition, values and education to be proud of. So how will it affect you? In the short term, nothing much will change and the immediate effect for Thai students seems to be that the Pound has fallen in value against the Baht, so you will find it cheaper!!! It could be that other countries decide to leave the EU, and the UK referendum result has certainly made the EU realise it will have to make improvements to maintain its solidarity. Switzerland has never been a member of the EU, and neither has Norway. The UK’s relationship with Thailand is particularly strong, and the UK has very powerful links with the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and of course it also has influence via Hong Kong to China, and commonwealth links with India and Africa, etc. Whatever happens, I am confident the quality of UK education will remain among the best in the world. The UK is by nature a very internationally driven country and it will remain a centre for excellence for teaching, research, innovation and development. It is also the home of the English Premier League! (and well done Leicester City!!)
Justin - born in William Shakespeare’s birthplace town of Stratford-upon-Avon, which is just 24km from the University of Warwick!!