The unthinkable has happened, and my fellow countrymen have decided to vote to leave the EU. After a seemingly endless slagging match, the wrong side won. I generally keep my political thoughts and interests to myself, but for once, I genuinely need to vent. There will be a number of repercussions resulting from the majority vote to leave, some directly impacting the community of travellers of all nationalities. As a fellow traveller, I voted remain, and here is why…
How Brexit Affects Travellers
I’ll start off with what is obviously the most important part before I skip ahead to my endless rant and expose just how salty I am about the whole thing.
Will we need visas to travel within the EU?
Chances are we won’t be able to freely move and work in other EU countries, unless somehow we strike up some unprecedented deals. But just like GB, other countries get a fair bit of money from the tourism industry, and with approximately 70 million people in Britain, it’d be absurd to block that kind of customer base. Various countries around the world have either visa free or automatic visas granted to British nationals (you can see how British Passports rank vs others here), and it’s likely that similar agreements will be worked out eventually. The extent, ease and quickness of these is pretty much unknown.
What happens to Duty Free?
At this point, no one knows. Hopefully it will make a return – we could do with at least one upside from this whole shitfest.
Are our EHIC cards still valid?
It’s not a part of the EU directives so technically yes. It’s tied to the EEA so it all depends on how badly we fuck up as a nation. It’s currently valid in a number of non-EU countries too, and special agreements are in place with countries such as Russia, even without EHIC (Similar to how Australia allows Brits access to Medicare cards).
What changes are there to our currency?
The sterling has tanked. It’s worth far less, but more on that later. Essentially you get less money in return for your pounds. That’s bad for Brits, good for “those damned immigrants”, or you know, all those decent non-British folk that want to visit our country. After hitting a 31 year low against the Dollar, if you exchange £1,000 you now get £90 worth less Euros and £120 worth less US Dollars. Holidays just got more expensive.
Freedom of movement is still in place and we can freely move around the EU until 2 years after Article 50 is invoked. That gives us 2 years of travelling visa-free at least. Aside from the surge in racism, and the country generally being unpleasant because of it, it’s a pretty good time to visit the UK. No one knows if it will become cheaper to visit the UK in the future, or if the pound will recover – that uncertainty is part of what caused the crash in the first place. Take advantage and come visit!
Now to get on with the angry, ranty part of the story. Now is the time to turn back, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
First of all, let me point out a few things. Although I work in the finance industry, I’m based outside of London – I don’t get to enjoy the inflated wages or any of the other aspects of the capital. I’m from a working class background; as far as I know my whole family voted Leave (wrongly, but such is life), I also have a university education. I’d say that going by all of the numerous demographic studies going around, I sit somewhere in the middle and aught to be on the fence. I’d also like to mention that, having multiple non-English heritages, I would also not exist if not for immigrants (much the same as, well, most of England).
The Brexit Rant
Remain and Leave both slagging each other off. Remain bases it’s campaign on the fact that we’re jumping into the unknown – the “experts” say the economy will collapse, the sterling will be worthless and we’ll have a period of uncertainty in which a number of companies could leave Britain and the Bank of England will need to implement whatever to try to stop us dropping back into recession. Great stuff.
The answer to this? Scaremongering.
Keep in mind the referendum results came out on June 24th. Look at this completely coincidental drop in the value of the pound. Those experts clearly don’t know what they’re talking about. If only someone had seen this huge mistake coming a mile off…
But that isn’t all, it’s not enough that they correctly predicted the devaluation of the pound (which by the way, is now probably better used as toilet paper). Our stock market crashed. The bottom fell out of it and it spilled all over the floor. There goes a few billion £ of our now worthless currency.
It’s okay though. It’s only money at the end of the day – and remember the working class don’t care about the loss of value in companies and shares – savings are for the middle and upper classes who will be the ones hurt by this downturn.
No. This results in the Bank of England releasing a ton of money to keep the economy afloat, and that has an impact on inflation rates, interest rates, and all that good stuff. That doesn’t include the fact that gilts are now returning less than 1% on savings over 10 years, or that the price of gold is through the roof.
Basically it means that your mortgage is now going to get more expensive. The cost of every day goods will go up, and your pensions will pay less. Nice one, working class! Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. You reloaded and shot the other foot too.
Again though, this isn’t only about money – it’s about sending a message, and a few other things.
About messages. One of the key points of the Leave campaign was to use the money saved from paying into Europe (£350m reportedly, obviously excluding the rebate negotiated because that would have less of a shock factor) and use this money to help the NHS. Quite a few people based their Leave vote on this fact, turns out it was complete bullshit and it was never going to happen.
Much is the same about immigration; those politicians who told you we could have an Australia-style points based immigration system? Well we can, but we’ll lose all of our trade treaties in doing so and thus the recession spirals even further out of control. Not a clever thing to do. Guess what’s likely going to happen.
You got it. We keep freedom of movement as part of the agreement for trading. Those “immigrants” that are taking your jobs? Yeah, they’re not going anywhere. Luckily. They add more to the economy than the percent of Leave voters that I like to call leeches. You know who you are.
Looks like the Leave vote was based completely on lies. Oh wait, it was. But you know, we can’t have a second referendum because winner winner chicken dinner and you’re just sore losers. This, despite the fact that the Leave group urged voters to take pens because they wanted to be able to cry corruption when they lost. Or the fact that they set up a petition asking for a 75% turnout minimum and a much larger majority vote. Which swiftly came to bite them. Just one more beautiful irony.
Even if you completely write these off, you have the one and only Nigel Farage intending to push for a 2nd referendum in the even that Remain win 52:48. As soon as the boot is on the other foot? Keep kicking them! We’ve won wooo! No you can’t have a second referendum to get the vote that you want.
It’s not about getting the vote that I/we want; many of the voters were lied to and in light of the economic downturn and the sudden (really? don’t know how you guys still fall for this shit) realisation that politicians tell lies to get votes, a lot of people have come out and said they’d vote differently. Oddly, some didn’t even know what the referendum meant, and other had no idea what the EU is.. Google knows all and I have to ask, why are you voting on something you have no idea about? Really guys? Why?
You’ll have to excuse me for not seeing many positives in this situation. I’m more than happy to suck it up and accept that Remain lost, but purposely misinforming the masses to swing a vote aught to be considered treason, especially considering the demographics of voters;
The working class (who were meant to be protected) will suffer the most
The younger generations will have to face a future that they didn’t vote for
I get it, OAPs, I do. You didn’t vote for the European Union, you voted for the common market. Bla, bla, blah. I’m tired of hearing the story. The world was a different place before that. I get that you could walk into new jobs, do whatever you like, but the world is not in the 70’s.
Globalisation? That’s a thing.
Freedom of movement? Yep. A thing.
Drop the nostalgia goggles and see the world for what it is NOW. Terrorists run rampant, economics are crashing left right and centre, and what do we do? Vote to make it all worse. It’s obvious to most of us that what the world really needs is humanity to come together as a collective and sort all the complete shit out. It’s wishful thinking, but we have to start somewhere. You can give me the bullshit about how our vets fought for freedom; I’m not saying they didn’t. They fought for us to not be oppressed (In Europe, we’re not, Google oppression), and for peace and safety. That is a hell of a lot easier to achieve as a collective.
Heck, hours after voting out, Spain re-staked it’s claim on Gibraltar. Starting to see where I’m coming from yet?
Back to the whole demographics thing. You’ll all no doubt have seen that generally, the younger generation voted to Remain. 75% of young voters went remain, 56% or so of those 25-36 or whatever the age bracket is. Only 42% of young voters turned out to vote.
I can’t be bothered doing the maths now, but I’m sure if you work that out, based on average votes and missed voters, GENERALLY, the majority of the country wants to Remain. Including Scotland and Northern Ireland which are being forced to suffer our retarded decision. Sorry guys, really. I’m as dumbfounded as you. I severely underestimated the stupidity of the average person.
To sum that up
- The economy is through the floor
- We’re all going to get poorer
- It’s going to be a really difficult few years, you can hold me to that
- The immigrants won’t stop coming (I hope, please don’t leave me to suffer alone)
- Your holidays are going to get more expensive (currency works like that, yeah, it’s a bit of a bitch)
The Happy Part
Okay it’s not all that happy unless you’re on the outside looking in, but it is travel-relevant.
It’s going to get much cheaper to visit England and Great Britain
Now that our currency has tanked, things will get much cheaper for non-brits that want to visit. Even in London. On the flip-side, going abroad will be more expensive for Brits. Travelling just got a fair bit more difficult for us. Gutted. Just to put this into perspective; those immigrants and foreigners you wanted to get rid of? They can come here cheaper now, expect more of them, not less – especially since Leave has since retracted the entire border control & immigration stance it abused to gain votes.
British passports won’t be nearly as good as they were before. In fact, the vote to Leave has sparked a huge increase in searches for Irish passports – give us dual citizenship so we can abuse freedom of movement. Would’ve been great if I qualified. What that does mean is less obnoxious drunken Brits pretty much everywhere in world. Bonus for the rest of you!
Just keep in mind that goods in general will probably be more expensive here, though that will mostly impact British nationals that work in the UK – exchange rates are a beautiful thing.
I also feel like I need to apologise on behalf of some of my fellow Brits who, following a vote to leave, suddenly think its perfectly okay to exercise their racism. I’m really sorry. Please take some solace in the fact that some of us actually do acknowledge what you immigrants, Europeans or otherwise, bring to our economy. We know we wouldn’t be nearly as successful as we are without you guys (and this stems back to post WW2 when y’all bailed us out of the shitter). It isn’t right that you move around the world to help only to find your children victims of this utterly disgusting bullshit.
Remember, the true majority of us value your input and we want you to feel safe and welcome in our country.
If you’re looking to find just how bad it is, this facebook group is a good place to start, or have a look at #postrefracism on twitter. Luckily there are still decent people left that flat out condemn this ridiculous behaviour.
Or you can check out the circulating videos of the complete scallys up in Manchester.
If you (and I sincerely hope you don’t) encounter this racist behaviour, please report it to the police.
Only a slightly Brexit related note:
Congratulations Iceland. You thrashed us and I sincerely hope you guys reach the Semi Finals (because then I want Germany to win)
This is going to get tons of edits as I think up more things to add in, and find suitable links, sources and pictures to back up my opinions (because that’s what we do on the rational side, we source our own information instead of believing Nigel Farage’s tosh).
Think of it more as a work in progress than the final piece. And more simply as one man’s rant about the shit going down in his country.