Just the thought of such a desire is staggering.
A nation, part of the world’s greatest union of nations representing one of our generation’s greatest achievements in international cooperation for shared economic, social and security benefit, choosing to break away and stand alone. Impossible. The wish, the perceived advantages of walking away, seem unfathomable.
And yet it has happened.
BREXIT – the United Kingdom has chosen to leave the European Union.
And now a wildly moving wave of ‘how did this happen?’ is reaching across the UK, and across the world. The pain and unnerving realisation of reality of those in the UK who voted ‘IN’ are palpable. The cocktail of sadness, shock and shame heartbreaking. The quiet of those voting ‘OUT’ deafening. There is no going back, no face to save. OUT it will be, and if the EU has its wish fulfilled, it will be a rapid process, well within the 2 year ticking clock period allowed. No one wants to be unwanted, unappreciated, unloved. If the UK has chosen to go, then UK must go.
Reading the overflowing amounts of analysis the morning after the voting day before, there is a clear sense of ‘what just happened?‘ So many are still so taken aback that this is where the UK chapter of the story of the EU is to end. How did this happen? How did we get here? It is still all so unclear…
What is clear with the BREXIT vote yielding an ‘OUT’ outcome is that confidence in the UK is plunging. Markets across the globe are feeling the far reaching tremors as one of the world’s most beloved currency drops to its lowest level in over 30 years. Questions are now being posed, loudly, around trade relations, tourism movements, and capitals of commerce. The cachet of London, and the UK, has been severely tarnished.
But even beyond that, beyond the statistics, the schedules of exit, the scenarios of what life will now be as an independent island economy, is the human impact. So easily overlooked, this is where the scars are appearing most deeply.
However the legal exit formalities may unfold, relations are tarnished, sadly irreparably. ‘Divorce’ has become one of the most popular, and possibly meaningful, analogies when BREXIT is explained. Indeed, it is a parting of long-committed partners who, over 40 years ago, thought that their vows were for several lifetimes. But then the hurt began, individual wishes and needs being eclipsed, a feeling of “this is not working for me” emerging. It was not a surprise – the UK / EU relationship had had troubles areas for many years. But when one partner finally says to another “Do you think we should get a divorce“, the DNA of the relationship cannot but change. Feelings of betrayal, bitterness, rejection and rage are natural. There is no erasing the question once asked. On paper the marriage may still be intact, but in the hearts of those involved, a fracture of bond has occurred.
This is what the entire BREXIT question, campaigning and outcome has felt like. The fact that the UK even held a referendum was a huge slight to the people of the EU. Again, posing the question of divorce is damage enough. The offense is felt. The hurt is real. And the reaction is raw. It is no surprise, therefore, that the EU is asking for rapid imposing of Article 50, and appointment of a successor to the Prime Minister of the UK. The decision is made. It’s time to move on.
While back in the ‘what the hell just happened?’ UK #regrexit trends and discussion around a second referendum gains momentum, deep down, the damage is done. Credibility is lost. Commitment is violated.
One can only now hope that, where counseling was unable to break through conflict, this breakup of a 40+ year relationship will encourage all involved to pause, and think deeply about, what each can do better next time. For the UK the ‘next time’ sadly is not an option. But for the EU, the opportunity exists for Brussels to dig deep and address the issues that made one of its strongest members so irate with the relationship that breaking one of history’s strongest bonds was the only option.
The impact of BREXIT goes far, far beyond geopolitics, economics, IN/OUT. The impact is personal, deeply personal. Because whatever the paperwork, our global community is about human bonds. We test and break these at our peril.
Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2016