The 92 comments made (so far; there could be more; the webhost allows comments for 30 days) to the entry "Europe - A Reader Question" (18 June) were the most ever for single post, I believe; this "energising" subject naturally leads to reaction inside & out of Great Britain, across Europe and also the rest of the world. More importantly, it leads to questions about the future of the European Union.
Q: Esteemed Committee, why is public policy in Great Britain in a state of "meltdown" as one British reader suggests?
C: As we have said, few leaders wanted or expected this and have now been thrust into a position of carrying it out.
Q: The value of the British currency has fallen, many stock and bond indices have dropped and the impression is loss of wealth.
C: These are paper losses as humans are given to say, although all loss of money is a paper loss, despite human perception otherwise.
Q: There will be a recovery in value of the investments which fell immediately after the vote?
C: Yes, however this is not to say there will not be a variation of value, as there always is. What we say is, the decision to leave the regional conference will soon stop being a factor in the decisions of buyers and sellers of paper investments.
Q: What about other investments, for example in projects or expansion of business?
C: Currency flow is not restricted and will not be.
Q: You understand the concern for loss of wealth?
C: Yes. We wish to say, this decision need only cause wealth to drop if it is collectively chosen. The decision to see economic activity lessen, because of this decision, remains under the control of European Union members, Great Britain and other trade partners.
Q: What will be the effect on the remaining twenty some odd nations, once Great Britain has departed?
C: This effect has already begun and is financial; there is great effort coming to estimate the drop in costs and tax revenue, because the centralized authority will have to shrink. The departure of sixty million people, places obvious pressure to shrink on this regional conference.
Q: Will the EU central government reduce its size proportionally?
C: This is unlikely, and we will say no, not voluntarily. This authority has steadily expanded in size, both absolute and in proportion or relation to the several measures of the member nations' total size; economic output and population are the two most obvious measures.
Q: Will the European Union continue to exist?
C: It will eventually break up, or be dissolved.
Q: Do you have a list of departing members and possible their order?
C: Not specific in order, however yes; the smaller economic members are at the moment more interested in separation yet keep their ideas quiet; they are patiently waiting to see what is done by the central authority. There is little mystery regarding what the British will do; this nation is a known and somewhat stubborn entity. This is not to stay they are resistive; for the national culture is not. They are determined to move in a preferred direction as they always have, and their neighbors understand them very well. The smaller European Union members are interested in what shall come, to judge the likely effect upon themselves, if they seek to leave the union.
Q: Let's assume everything goes well, and no material flaws flare up; the EU goes on minus Great Britain, and Britain herself gets along just as well. Then what?
C: This will not come to be; the catalyst will be economic and will affect the eurozone. As teetering economies continue to balance the edge of debt collapse, the departure of Great Britain removes it from play as a possible destination for migration within the zone, placing potential additional pressure on remaining large nations to absorb migration from the smaller.
Q: Would this be Greece, Portugal and maybe Italy, which is not so small, whose populations might attempt to migrate to Germany and France? Maybe the Netherlands?
C: As you see, it is not so simple, yet the economic difficulties soon to arise, caused by factors not directly related to the existence of the European Union, will bring about its dissolution.
Q: Who will bail out first?
C: There are several candidates; the decision will likely be one of default, where the departing nation simply ceases to remit tax monies to the central authority. The established leadership of such countries can do so, and will, justified by economic pressures. Simultaneously these non-remitters will establish a national currency, and the break-up will ensue.
Q: This sounds like a bigger nation; my guess would be Germany.
C: Your guess is accurate.
Q: What's going on inside the United Kingdom, with the political landscape in meltdown?
C: The departing prime minister is already under pressure to begin planning the departure, a task he does not want because he did not want the United Kingdom to leave. There is always the component of political ambition, which will bring forward a number of replacements, the expected political struggle. Mixed in with this is the minority, representing the losing option, who will pressure any and all of the emerging hopefuls to the position of prime minister for the outcome most suited to their preferences. This group has already called for nullification of the vote. Such a move by the legislative body would effectively dissolve credibility; they would be seen as supporting a return to a true monarchy where elected representation is optional before royal authority. England, its former colonies, conquests and neighbors who formed Great Britain, all toiled long and tough to establish a representative government. To nullify a popular referendum, one which re-establishes a claim to national sovereignty, would be seen as a sell out, an abdication of responsibility. This is well understood by all British government officials yet their positions as politicians rest upon popularity. Unpopularity among the majority of voters is the position to remain, which conflicts with citizens.
Q: What does the Queen of England think of this?
C: She is not the Queen of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland; her position is unique before these countries, yet she is pleased. She is happy to see her subjects express their will, she is proud of her nation, England, as the keystone of the greater Britain built upon its history, and she keenly remembers former foes on the European continent who once sought to invade and dominate England. She is supportive of the decision to depart.
Q: She doesn't seem to have made a public statement like this.
C: She will not until pressured to do so; this is unlikely. If foot dragging begins to slow the process of unhooking Great Britain beyond a reasonable time, you can expect to hear from her publicly on this point. This is unlikely.
Q: What about the resistance to the departure? For example, the recently elected mayor of London suggesting the city should declare its independence from England and join the European Union separately.
C: Humans call this political grandstanding.
Q: What about the idea Scotland would do what in Texas we'd call a two-step; vote again to leave Great Britain then join the European Union? Is that a realistic possibility?
C: There are several factors in play; we shall explain each.
If Scotland proposes leaving Great Britain, the question essentially asks: Scotland's decision to remain a part of Great Britain was not tied to Britain's continued membership in the EU. This was not considered and would become a key part of a new Scottish referendum. Few Scots believe their decision to remain in Britain was based on the EU.
The second factor involves joining the European Union separately; what challenges would Scotland face? One strong factor pushing for independence from Great Britain was to gain control over revenue from crude oil production; many Scots believed too much of this was used to benefit other parts of Great Britain, and that Scotland did not benefit proportionally or fairly. Since then prices have fallen and much less than Scotland might expect to realize would remain with them; the European Union membership costs would involve a larger portion of the oil revenue than Scotland would prefer.
The third factor to be considered is the effect this might have with the now smaller Great Britain; trade, investment and good relations are unlikely to continue to common benefit as they have been in effect.
Lastly, Scotland would be required to create a sovereign currency or adopt the existing regional system. The latter would immediately involve assumption of a share of debt, implicitly or directly. The cost of creating a sovereign central bank and monetary authority, while not impossible, would be seen as oppressive if not dangerous to Scottish interests, much as assumption of a share of existing eurozone obligations would also be perceived.
These factors will work strongly against a Scottish vote for independence from Great Britain.
Q: What about Northern Ireland or even Wales?
C: No desire to separate would gain traction, for similar reasons and even more acute effects as might apply to a Scotland separation.
Q: How is the European Union leadership and Parliament viewing this decision?
C: With displeasure. Efforts to reorganize, reform and remake the EU are being discussed.
Q: Efforts within Great Britain to resist the separation are going to have an effect?
C: No. This would be political suicide, far more costly than political disgust.
Q: What about other EU nations?
C: Many are watching with keen interest; movements to consider a similar departure are gaining favor. No material actions will be forthcoming until the dissolution is observed; such nations are watching both what and how Great Britain acts and as important, how the European Government proceeds.
Q: What about the rest of the world?
C: There are political considerations now being made, especially in the United States although little effect will there be upon upcoming elections, in this nation. What was going to be decided, will be, independent of the EU separation vote.
Overall there is seen an opportunity both with the remaining EU nations and Great Britain itself. Many nations are looking to establish new agreements to their respective benefit, where and as these become possible.
Q: Esteemed Committee, thank you.
C: Our pleasure; do return one and all.