London - Forty one years ago, Britons voted overwhelmingly to join the European Union. Of 26 million votes cast, two thirds were in favour. Measured against that benchmark, next week’s too-close-to-call BrexitReferendum shows that at the very least, millions of Britons view the EU experiment to have failed.
Something like half a million South Africans living in the UK are entitled to vote on June 23, courtesy of SA’s membership of the Commonwealth. In a contest where every vote matters, they could make the difference. And Saffers possess a powerful vested interest for Brexit.
Pundits from both sides agree on the short-term consequence should Britain leave the EU: weaker Sterling, a drop of up to 20% in house prices; and a tighter job market. All of which very much suits the legendary hard working South African emigrants now living and working in the country. Who would have thought?
Dan Brocklebank, director for UK business at value investment house Orbis, told Biznews that from a long-term investment perspective, the consequences of the UK exiting the European Union are being overplayed.
Banks, he reckons, have far bigger issues to worry about than London losing its status as Europe’s financial centre while a likely drop in the value of Sterling would only provide a temporary boost to UK exporters.
On the other hand, as a private citizen he sees a lot of upside should his country leave the EU, ranging from regaining control of its legal system through to the ability to extricate itself from the mess of Europe’s unsustainable economic structure.