Reflections from France – 50 shades of Brexit?

Some people take the extreme stances on the consequences of a Brexit; “we will lose everything” or “nothing will change, other arrangements will be put in place”.

The scaremongers say that pensions WILL be frozen, we WILL be disowned by the UK and our host countries WILL throw us out.

Some expat journals reinforce this point of view with predictions of rights and benefits being withdrawn and restrictions imposed that go well beyond what is involved in a UK withdrawal from the EU and a return to a pre-1973 situation.

Even if the UK does leave the EU, something that is not as certain as some would have you believe, there will not be a one size fits all outcome for the UK citizens living, working, studying in the rest of the EU.

Don’t get me wrong I DO NOT think we can be complacent about the possibility of a Brexit.

Even if there is not a Conservative led government after the May elections, what is there to say that the government of the day will not seek popular approval for its success (or otherwise) on EU reform?

The major parties have all modified their position on a referendum over the decades, what is there to stop them doing so again?

Labour is still under pressure to make a manifesto commitment to a referendum on EU membership.

There are even those that argue that you need the commitment to an In/Out referendum to have a strong negotiating position on EU reform.

The seemingly “safe” option of making sure that the Conservative party doesn’t lead the government after May may not be as safe as all that.

The issue, which many treat as party political, could turn into cross party free-for-all as it did in 1975 when some very unusual and contrary alliances were struck for the referendum campaign.

The only things that are certain is that the debate will become hotter and more complex, and not electing a Conservative led government is no guarantee that the threat of a Brexit will go away.

We can not afford to let up in our efforts to make more people aware of the potential effects of a Brexit on the aspirations, finances and livelihoods of UK families and individuals across the EU.

There may not be 50 shades of grey to the outcome but whatever it is it will not be simply black and white.


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