Nexit ? Are you crazy? 

What do you think Nexit will give you and will it be worth the cost? Let's look at some of the issues that mis-sold Brexit to the UK...


The Brexiters claimed that the UK had surrended its sovereignty to the EU. This is false, as every country is sovereign within its own borders.  However, once you start to have peaceful dealings with other countries, there have to be rules. And where there are rules, there has to be a means of resolving disputes if one country thinks that another has broken the rules. That means that there are international courts that can judge the cases. Even this does not lead to a loss of sovereignty  because although these courts can make decisions, they cannot force a country to accept that decision. However, there are pragmatic reasons for countries to ultimately abide by a court's rulings: it's bad for a country to be seen as a rogue state that doesn't honour its commitments. 

In this interconnected world, no country can stand alone and prosper: we all need something from other countries. Examples include a trade agreement for the speedy and cheap flow of goods between countries, deciding on the distribution of radio frequencies so that one country's transmissions don't interfere with another's, agreeing to deliver mail from another country, cooperation on air traffic control etc. Personally I find it bizarre that the Brexiers whine about the supposed loss of sovereignty brought about by membership of the EU which only means that we agree to follow the rules: the rules that we are intimately involved in shaping, and yet have no problems with membership of NATO which can lead us into a war to defend another member...

We should remember that as a member of the EU the UK was intimately involved in the decision making process: not only in proposing and agreeing legislation, but also in voting for the EU Commissioners and electing members of the European Parliament. In addition, the EU was involved in setting regulations for the quality and standards of goods. After Brexit it won't be involved in the decision making process, but will be required to abide by the standards in order to sell its goods in the EU... that's losing control, not gaining control.

Leavers complained  about the EU forcing the UK to have open borders and unrestricted immigration. Again this was misinformation. Immigration to the UK  includes people coming from EU countries, people coming from non-EU countries, UK citizens returning to the UK, refugees/asylum seekers and students. The only one that falls within the remit of the EU are the EU citizens. Even they are subject to rules: in brief, if they can't support themselves after three months they can be obliged to leave the country. In practice, the UK voluntarily has never made use of this rule, because it doesn't require people to register where they live. Therefore there is no way of knowing if they have stayed more than 3 months...

Non-EU citizens are a matter for each individual member state which can apply its own rules. Nationals of member states returning to their home country are obviously subject to their own country's rules.  Allowing students from other countries, especially non-EU ones is profitable for the UK universities as they are charged much higher fees than EU students. They also contribute to the economy through paying accomodation and living expenses. Refugees/asylum seekers are covered by the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. They are only tangentially an EU issue as the EU is looking for a way of dealing with them, so that they can be shared amongst all the EU countries, rather than remaining in Spain, Italy or Greece. Although the problem is still ongoing, the actions of the EU have lead to a dramatic reduction of their numbers  from 1,000,000+ in 2015 to less than 100,000 in 2018.

While some people in Europe are clutching their pearls and swooning at the thought of welcoming a few tens of thousands of refugees, let's not forget that poorer countries have welcomed them in much greater numbers: Turkey 3.5 million, Pakistan and Uganda 1.4 million each , Lebanon 1 million and Iran 970,00+.

The elephant in the room with respect to immigration in general is that all EU countries have a birth rate below the replacement rate. Not enough people are being born to replace older people who retire. This leads to less tax income at the same time as there is more demand on health and social services for the elderly and more money needed to pay pensions. The solutions include: incrasing productivity, lowering services and pensions, increasing the retirement age, increasing taxes or encouraging workers from abroad. Which option(s) do you choose?

In addition, Brexiters claimed that foreigners were "stealing" jobs from locals. The reality was that EU citizens were taking jobs that either the locals didn't want or weren't qualified for. Since the referendum and the 20% fall in value of the pound,  EU citizens have not been coming to the UK to pick fruit and vegetables and the locals have not been replacing them. The UK has also seen qualified nurses and doctors leaving... Who is going to replace them? Perhaps people from non-EU countries...

Trade Agreements
The Brexiters claimed that the EU prevented the UK from trading with the rest of the world and that once the UK had left it almost instantly and easily make favourable trade agreements with the whole world. That one really was an obvious lie: take a look at the labels on your clothes and electrical apparatus: do the words Made in the USA/China/Malaysia/Japan/Taiwan etc seem familiar? Of course, they do, because the UK already trades with the rest of the world.

And the claim of easy and favourable new trade agreements has been revealed as a huge lie. It was claimed that it would be possible to "roll over"  the existing trade agreements that the UK has as a member of the EU with other countries. In practice, after two years, the UK believes that only six will be signed before Brexit with another thirty or so off track or impossible to achieve before the deadline of 29th March 2019.
As I write, Japan has decided to delay discussing a bilateral trade agreement with the UK, because they believe that they can get tougher concessions from the UK once it has left the EU. It should have been obvious that a country  of about 70 million people can never get a better deal than a trade block of 400+ million...

These were supposed to be the easy trade deals.  The UK also has to make trade agreements with the rest of the world and that is a lot more complicated. See

So those were the (non)-issues that Brexit was supposed to solve. Brexit has not yet taken place and what have the effects been?

Right after the referendum about Brexit in June 2016 there was an almost overnight +/- 20% fall in the value of the pound.  One unexpected result was a short term surge in retail sales and services as tourists flocked to the UK to take advantage of the sudden fall in prices in relation to the own currency. Another unexpected result was an increase in hate crime against foreign nationals and even UK citizens who spoke with an unusual accent or who looked foreign.

Immediate damage to the UK economy was prevented by the Bank of England lowering interests rates in August 2016 and pumping an extra £170 billion into the economy. This is approximately £2,500 for every UK resident. However two years further on and even the Brexiters' economist acknowledges that the UK economy has lost at least 1% of growth. In June 2018 the Financial Times looked at estimates for the cost to the economy from a number of sources  and arrived at an average estimated loss of £469 million per week. Let's not forget that before the referendum the Brexiters told everyone that Brexit would enable the NHS to be £350 million per week better off...

At the level of the individual this lack of growth coupled with the fall in the pound has led to a fall in income. Wages have generally stagnated while prices have gone up. Exporters have not really benefited from the fall in the pound, because although their goods are now relatively cheaper, their imported raw materials are now more expensive. Uncertainty is bad for business, and Brexit is providing a lot of uncertainty.

In addition, many companies have become concerned about the implications of the UK leaving the Customs Union with the EU and no longer having frictionless and tarif free trade.  This would mean that items produced in the UK would be subject to import duty when entering the EU and would have to undergo customs checks. In this day and age of just-in-time manufacturing this is likely to increase costs as items may be held up for an unknown length of time at customs posts. Currently they just roll off the ferry/train and drive away.

The risk of import duty on sales to the EU has encouraged manufacturers to move production elsewhere. Even the enthusiastic Brexiter Dyson has moved his company to Singapore. It's just signed a trade deal with the EU, so he is guaranteed easy access the EU market. 

The UK economy earns a lot through financial services, however this trade is dependent on access to the EU markets. Because of fears that UK companies will lose access, a number have set up companies and have moved staff to other EU countries. Currently over 250 companies are in talks with the Dutch government, discussing how to move operations to the Netherlands. This include companies from Asia and America who want to continue to benefit from unfettered access to the EU market. All these moves will represent lost jobs and also lost tax income for the UK. The Leave campaign didn't put this on the side of a bus...

What about Nexit?
The Netherlands would also face the same sort of difficulties as the UK, but magnified, as it would have even less bargaining power with potential trade partners. In addition  it would have some different issues on top: Schengen and the Euro. 

It is extremely unlikely that after Nexit the Netherlands would continue in the Schengen Agreement.  It's very unlikely that the other EU member states would allow a third party to be responsible for the EU's borders. So the Netherlands would have to create a hard border between it and the surrounding countries. Can you imagine the physical difficulties of doing that? The borders are over 1,000 km long. This will complicate any trade agreement between the EU and the Netherlands as the EU will want to ensure that smuggling is prevented.

Leaving the Euro is going to be a big problem.  Presumably the Dutch would bring back the guilder. But it would need to be physically updated into new coins and bank notes that are resistant to counterfeiting. This would not be too expensive: it costs the US Treasury about 15 cents per note, however it would require time to design and print. The biggest issues would be the setting the new exchange rate, losing access to the ECB and repayment of debts in other countries. As the Netherlands would end up with worse trading conditions than before, it's new currency would be weaker, so the debts would be proportionally higher: just like what happened to the UK. 

In conclusion, if you've been following Brexit and seen the problems that it has created for the UK, you should realise that Nexit will be even worse for the Netherlands... so if you're advocating it, are you crazy or do you hate your country?