A vote to leave the EU

Today’s result to leave the EU shocked millions across the UK and I’m sure Europe and the rest of the world, myself included. You have to ask yourself how many people were fully engaged in the debate and analysed the facts before voting. Nonetheless there is no point in dwelling on it, we need to now think about our futures.

Ultimately the impact will be felt by everyone in the UK, people and businesses, on differing levels at one stage or another however it is obvious to say that the effects will not be felt for many months or even years to come. We will essentially be stuck in a status quo for the next 2 years until article 50 is triggered and negotiations are finalised. And with that on pause until a new PM is elected at the conservative conference in October, there is leeway to plan ahead.

There are foreseen implications for the economy and legislation and regulation that I am sure you have heard about or seen spilling across your news feeds on Twitter and LinkedIn. You only have to follow the trending hashtags #whathavewedone and #notmyvote to see the divide in opinion and perhaps hasten amongst UK residents as the result sinks in. Nothing is clear or definitive yet there are studies and scenarios that have been played out by key economists, business leaders and politicians to begin the conversation of what happens next, in the short term and the long.

I’m certainly no expert on the subject but do work within the financial services industry so have been close to the debate and conversation, especially today as we discussed strategy to help our clients move forward, embracing the changes that will need to be made. Time doesn’t freeze and the world won’t stop turning therefore we shouldn’t. It’s been a surreal moment in history and one that is likely to rewrite it as we know it.

I wanted to take a bit of time to reflect on some of the potential outcomes of the result, perhaps less prominent, but still important to the way we currently live our lives and more aligned to the philosophy of my blog.

Travel
I love travelling Europe and have been lucky enough to have visited many beautiful countries over my lifetime which has been made easier and more accessible as a member of the EU. So many people today take gap years, career breaks or just long holidays to see the world, and Europe is a key destination for us all. With the value of the £ falling considerably this could make travel to the EU more expensive, for some limiting their options altogether. But on a more important note our immediate right to live and work in EU countries will end making that option increasingly difficult to pursue (although not impossible i’m sure). Having spent a summer working in Italy, meeting a incredible group of people who took me in as their own and made me feel like family it seems crazy to think that that could’ve never happened. It’s also important to note that it works two ways. Some of the guys I met there had come over to live in England to learn the language and earn some money to then take back home – how will this impact others looking to do the same?

Education
Growing up through school, college and university I have met so many people of different nationalities and this has really taught me to embrace diversity and learn a lot about other cultures, something which we are hearing a lot about in society today. So how does a vote to leave impact immigration law and how will students feel the affects? Changes could mean that students from the EU will be restricted to study higher education in the UK which is a real shame and I think is us taking 10 steps back in nurturing young talent of the future. Friends now sit and wonder where their place in the UK fits, if it does at all.

Small Businesses
Again I’m not expert, but in an economy and country that has encouraged and supported startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses over the last few years, will this be sustainable when the exit is in place? We have been encouraged to build up business from nothing and become strong business leaders with entrepreneurial minds yet with lower rates of lending and investment in the economy, which is bound to happen as a result of leaving, is this no longer an option to explore and take risks with? Will these businesses survive or will we see a U turn back in time…I don’t know.

There I’ve highlighted just 3 very small views contributing to a much larger debate but that perhaps sit more closely to my heart in the first instance. And although there are worries and doubts for the future, it’s important to remember that there is always a way. A way to approach the challenge and find opportunity, a way to work together to ensure the best outcome and a way to rebuild. Not forgetting we live in the digital age and have technology and innovation on our side. It may not be the outcome that we all wanted nor expected but it is what it is. We also need to consider what this means for the rest of the EU and indeed for Scotland who face the likelihood of a second independence vote.

A very different post to my usual but necessary all the same. It’s not going to be easy. The challenge now is to find and grab hold of those opportunities that ARE out there and make the decision to take this in our stride. We will agree to disagree, let the news settle in over the weekend and get back to work on Monday and do what we do best. I said to a friend today, one things for sure – we are making history to which he replied, but in a good way or bad? Who knows, but we can look back in 20 years and make that reflection.

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