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With or Without EU in a Global Britain? Our Emerging Talent debates

On June 23rd 2016 history was made as the British people took their vote and voted for change, a shift to a brighter future by opening up its economy to the rest of the world. Or at least, that was the plan when UK voters backed leaving the European Union by 51.9% to 48.1%.

The move away from the EU has been fraught with difficulties with the uncertainty of a “hard” or “soft” exit and with David Cameron stepping down as Prime Minister mere days after the vote, we are only just becoming used to the idea of Theresa May as the woman who will see us through Post-Brexit. Although the prospect of leaving was filled with uncertainty, Theresa May has pulled through with her 12 Point Plan providing a structure and an idea of what Post-Brexit might look like making clear that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain” in reference to any agreements with the European Commission based in Brussels.

Two recurring themes are prominent within the debate around the European Union: the control of immigration, and access to the single market. In terms of immigration, what is not being suggested is a ban on immigration but bringing a balance between filling skills shortages and delivering public services, and the pressure put on infrastructure such as housing and public services like schools. With free movement to Britain immigration cannot be controlled in this way so this momentous ambition is a step forward in the right direction and is in tune with the now famous campaign slogan: “Take back control.”

Access to the single market was a key point in the “remain” argument but is one that is being tackled by Theresa May’s plan of a bold, ambitious yet comprehensive free trade agreement. With the US amongst those countries keen to strike a bilateral trade deals with the UK, the UK is going “out into the world” as Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade has suggested, building new relationships with “old friends and new allies alike” as a great, global trading nation. The 23rd of June was not a step back as some may suggest, but a move forward to a new Global Britain creating new and exciting opportunities for trade deals and a landmark in Globalisation.

Times are changing and society has turned into a Postmodern, globalised world where there is a high level of interconnectedness in societies and countries in a “global village” reaching out across the globe, from the advent of technology such as a simple text message or a Facebook message that lets us reach out to someone thousands of miles away, to a global culture of TNC’s selling the same consumer goods across countries, to the changes in identity and cultures to a more international one as a process of this that reaches far beyond the European Union to a globalised level. It is therefore questionable whether we need the rigid structures and frameworks of the European Union or whether, because of the changes happening within society, a new format is needed to meet the needs of a globalised world.

The pressing of the big red trigger button for Article 50 to start the process of leaving the EU has been postponed as the Supreme Court now has the power to make the choice of how Britain is to leave the EU, not a question of will it as an attack on democracy. As Boris Johnson, a leading Leave campaigner tweeted: "Supreme Court has spoken. Now Parliament must deliver will of the people - we will trigger Article 50 by end of March. Forward we go!" and forward we go we must!

The ruling of the Supreme Court that more decisions and processes must be laid out highlights that it is “not about politics, but process” and goes beyond politics to a more economical realm and a law binding one as not only will the shape of our economy have to change, but many of the laws that once governed us from the EU will have to be rewritten and rethought out. The membership of the EU is messy and the power given to the Parliament and Supreme Court is only right to ensure we get not only the best deal, but the right one which cannot and shouldn’t be done by the stroke of a minister’s pen.

Interesting times are ahead and time will tell whether Theresa May and the Supreme Court can deliver on what was voted on last June; more positive outlook in a changing society is needed to make the best out of the situation and get on with the protocols that we, as a nation, need to jump through in order to give the people what they want: a new beginning away from the EU in a globalised world.

Emilie Reeks, Atlantic Speaker Bureau