Britain’s economy and legal system are so deeply integrated with the European continent, and many fear that changing it could prove highly disruptive…
The US presidential election was supposed to be the topic of discussion that would keep the world guessing for the next few months. However there’s a vote this week that is just as important: Britain’s referendum on whether to stay in the European Union or leave.
On Thursday, the people of the United Kingdom will cast a vote that could completely transform the political landscape of Europe. If a majority of voters cast a vote for “Brexit” – Great Britain’s exit from the European Union – it could start a process that could cost the EU one of its largest and wealthiest members.
The stakes are high on both sides. Britain’s economy and legal system are so deeply integrated with the European continent, and many fear that changing it could prove highly disruptive.
Brexit advocates, however, argue that Britain will be better off in the long run outside the EU, with full sovereignty and unfettered control over immigration and economic regulations. Two opinion polls published last week put the “Remain” camp ahead before Thursday’s vote but another gave “Leave” a slight lead. British expats living in the UAE are on the fence about which way to go.
“Voting to ‘leave’ Europe would be disastrous for the UK. I think sometimes Britain has a superiority complex; we still think we are more powerful and influential in the world than we actually are. We are a small island trying to compete on a world stage with huge emerging powers such as China and India – we need to be part of a wider collective in order to be competitive. President Obama has already said that, should we leave Europe, the UK would be last in line when it came to America negotiating trade agreements, shouldn’t that be a wake-up call?” says Katie Daniels, a 31-year-old press manager currently living in Dubai.
Sharan Sunner, a 28-year-old accounts manager feels it would be a huge mistake to leave the EU. “The fact that no member country has ever held a national referendum speaks for itself. If we leave the EU, we really will be an ‘island’ out there on our own. I know there are problems with the EU but can anyone properly explain what our plan is if we leave? Without a decent follow-up plan, a leave vote could see the UK standing in a kebab shop arguing about whose fault it is.”
Howard Leedham, a former navy pilot and special forces officer said: “For all its benefits, I believe the EU simply carries too much baggage for the strong countries within it, and given the endemic problems of the Euro and the recent demonstrations of lack of cohesion by the EU members, when compared to the size, strength and standing of the UK and its economy, my instinct tells me ‘leave.”