So the UK will leave the European Union. I’m not qualified to speak on the economic and political implications of this decision, but here’s a few other reasons why I’m not celebrating. They’re in no particular order.
- I don’t identify as ‘British’ or ‘European’. (In fact I don’t ‘identify’ as anything but me.) But some of my genes come from Austria, and further back from further east. Am I meant to give up such connections? Will I be suspect for being ‘foreign’ or for being able to speak two other languages? Will I need visas to visit EU countries? (They’re expensive!)
- In my profession, academic research, some money comes from the EU’s Horizon2020 framework. I suspect that this funding source will become unavailable to UK researchers.
- Equally, some of my colleagues are from Europe. Are they meant to disappear right now? At the end of their current contracts?
- What will happen to access to Europe-based scientific literature?
- The medications I take are made by companies headquartered in France, Germany, Norway (not an EU member), Spain and Switzerland (also not an EU member). What will happen to the costs of these medicines? And how will the NHS pay for them if the exit-vote inspired economic downturn continues?
- The best predictor of a vote for remain is the proportion of residents who have a degree.
- Will the successor to Safe Harbor, an EU scheme to protect personal data when exported outside the EU, continue to apply to the UK?
Of course the EU is far from perfect. The Common Agricultural Policy has long appeared to be a sick joke. Some countries’ reactions to the ongoing migrant/refugee crisis are unpleasant, and as far as I’m aware the EU has failed to come to a workable solution. (Perhaps there isn’t one.) The European Parliament’s powers seem complex, but what else can you expect for a body that represents over 500 million people? I’m not sure how my preferred idea of subsidiarity is best built into such a complex body. But I am sure that reform is not possible from the outside.