The hardest thing in life is to see a thing coming and be able to do nothing to prevent it.
John Galsworthy - A Knight (1901)
If the UK opts for Remain on June 23rd, what long term effects should we expect to see? Apart from the obvious loss of democracy which too many voters don’t seem to care about anyway.
It is impossible to foresee such a complex future, but there is one factor worth considering and that is our position as an offshore island. We are not the sophisticated thinkers of our fantasies - visceral feelings matter to us, directing our thoughts, actions and reasoning. They direct thoughts, actions and reasoning within the EU too.
Given its geography, how does an island, such as the UK place itself at the centre of EU politics in the longer term? How does the UK avoid a future where it is little more than an offshore whisky distillery and outdoor museum with poor weather, poor people and hopelessly unattractive career prospects for ambitious elites?
If we vote Remain, then able people are likely to be attracted to the EU mainland where the weather is better, property is cheaper, infrastructure is good and opportunities more attractive. The EU is not likely to base anything of real importance on our island. Why would it in the longer term when the EU integration project is more complete and UK public opinion matters even less than it does now?
We’ve always lost able people to other countries, but take a look at our current crop of political leaders. Cameron and Corbyn with Osborne and Watson as their deputies. Are they the best we can do or are we missing out on the best because the offshore job isn’t worth the hassle? Mull over those four names if you will. Again - are they the best we have? If not, then why not?
Even London may lose out as a premier financial centre. Not this year and not this decade, but over the coming decades the EU mainland is likely to secure the best of everything and why would that not include financial activities? City folk won't mind - they will simply move across to the mainland if they haven't already.
This chilly island on the edge of the Atlantic ocean has bred some remarkable people and a remarkable culture. It actually became civilised for a while, if one accepts the inevitable caveats which seem to apply to any civilisation. The time may soon come when all that has been forgotten.