Lord Karan Bilmoria’s Speech in the aftermath of BREXIT


June 29, 2016

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The 23rd of June was not Independence Day for Britain; it was the day the UK shot itself in the foot.

The UK economy has been going so well after an awful recession, but we have a fragile recovery with a budget deficit, a current account deficit and huge debt.

karan_thumb.jpgAnd ever since 2008, the rest of Europe has been suffering with countries having 50pc youth unemployment, we have recovered and in fact in spite of Europe being in a mess, we’ve done well.

Since 1993 when the single market started, the UK has the highest cumulative GDP growth rate of 62 pc versus Germany at 35pc.

And the truth is exactly the opposite of what Vote Leave have been saying about our loss of sovereignty and democracy we have actually had the best of both worlds.

We have been in the EU but not in the euro; we have been in the EU but not in Schengen; we pour our beer in pints, because we choose to; and we measure our roads in miles, not kilometres because we choose to.

We have been a big fish in a small pond, now we are a tiddler in a giant ocean.

Of course there has been a lot wrong with the EU. And I am an openly declared sceptic and critic of the European parliament of the role of MEPs and of some EU regulation.

However the Vote Leave claims, of red tape from the EU costing British business £600m a week, are utter nonsense.

I have not built Cobra Beer from scratch over the last 26 years worrying about red tape. If anything, it is our own, home-grown, regulations and barriers, such as our ever-increasing tax regulations, increasing in both complexity and size, our planning laws, housing laws.

And migration became the number one issue in the referendum and yet ironically Britain has today virtually full employment, in practical terms, with unemployment at 5pc, one of the lowest levels in our history and employment at one of the highest levels in our history.

And in terms of the government target of reducing immigration to the tens of thousands, Michael Gove of vote leave has confirmed during the campaign that they want to stick to their target to reduce net migration.

How ridiculous is that, when current net migration stands at 330,000 – three times that figure – of which over half of it is non-EU at 180,000, almost double their target.

And they talk about the Australian points-based system, well that is designed to increase immigration! They have got the wrong end of the stick.

Vote Leave live in a grass-is-greener dreamland. So much of what we take for granted within the EU – be it the free movement of people, travel; the fact that 1.2m of British citizens live in the EU; or the fact that 3m people from the EU live and work here in the UK – is now at risk.

Without their contribution our economy would collapse and yet, in spite of that 3m we still have full employment. What would we do with out them?

And we complain about the load EU migrant put on public services but take for granted the fact that hundred of thousands of them work in those very same public services, which we benefit from.

It is government that as failed in not providing us with adequate public services.

For the employment it needs for us to grow to become the fifth largest economy in the world.

And then there was the biggest lie of them all: the £350m that we give to the EU every week emblazoned on the Vote Leave battle-bus. And this would be saved by leaving the EU and put into the NHS to improve its services.

The Vote Leave advertising film was quite frankly not just misleading but shocking and should have been taken down by the Advertising Standards Associations.

In reality this £350 is a gross contribution. We receive a rebate of almost £200m, which leaves a net contribution per annum of £8bn.

And what no one has mentioned during this whole campaign is putting this £8bn into context. It is barely one per cent of our annual government expenditure per annum of over £770bn. This £8bn is barely going to shift the needle, let alone save the NHS!

We send over £12bn of aid per year around the world; this is more than 50pc higher than our net contribution to the EU. I would pay the £8bn every year to the EU for the peace and stability that the EU has brought to Europe along with NATO that the UK has benefited from for the past seven decades.

And then, regarding the scaremongering from Vote Leave that we would become part of an EU superstate, there will never be a United States of Europe, in terms of a true federal country like there is in India. And if there is a United States of Europe, the UK would never join it. There will not be a EU army and if there is one, the UK will not join it.

Turkey may want to join the EU but it is decades away from qualifying and, in any case, any one of the 28 member states can veto Turkey joining.

I predicted that a Brexit would create huge uncertainty. Britain relies enormously on inward investment. Britain has acted as a gateway to European by countries like India. In fact, 60pc of companies from all over the world outside of the EU have their European headquarters in the UK.

The UK is the second largest recipient of inward investment in the world and the highest in the EU by miles. Is this going to carry on after leaving the EU? Well already credit rating agencies are talking about downgrading Britain’s coveted AAA rating.

The pound has plummeted to a level not seen since the 1980s which reminds me of the time when I came as a 19 year-old student from India to a Britain that was the sick man of Europe, a country with a glass ceiling, a country where entrepreneurship was looked down upon.

Today, Britain is a country of aspiration and opportunity and an aspirational country where people can get as far as they want to regardless of race, religion or background and where entrepreneurship is celebrated. Do we want to wind the clock back to being the sick man of Europe again?

What has been sad about this referendum is that the youth of our country have been disenfranchised.

64pc of people with a median age of 21 voted to stay, versus 24 per cent who voted to leave. 45pc of those with a median age of 37 voted to stay versus 39 per cent who voted to leave and yet it was the fifty year-olds and above who overwhelmingly voted to leave. These older people have taken away the future of the youth of our country. What a selfish and irresponsible act!

What is more, I forecasted that if we left the EU it would threaten the UK and the EU itself. Already, many countries in Europe with right-wing parties are demanding a referendum, which could lead to the breakup of the EU itself, which, in turn, would lead to the breakup of the Euro and a global financial crisis beyond belief.

Already Scotland, in which every region unanimously voted to remain, is asking for another referendum and will leave the UK.

Let alone Northern Ireland, which also voted to remain, possibly now merging with Ireland with the UK shrinking to England and Wales.

The uncertainty in the future will now continue with political turmoil, with Prime Minister David Cameron announcing his resignation, the Conservative Party already being torn apart and continuing to tear itself apart in choosing a new leader.

The referendum is advisory, and yet our represented politicians in Westminster, two thirds of the House of Commons are pro-remain and at least 80pc of the House of Lords are pro-remain, all adding to the complexity and uncertainty and turmoil.

Jeremy Corbyn has shown himself to be a useless, incompetent and pathetic leader whose role in the referendum was barely visible and quite frankly useless. With a competent labour leader, the referendum result would not have gone the way it did. The Labour party is bound to go through a leadership change as a result imminently.

What is more, with all these changes and almost certainly another election before the end of the year, who knows what is going to happen?

The uncertainties will continue for years to come with the protracted negotiations with the EU leading to article 50 being invoked. This will all hamper inward investment, create uncertainty in business and hugely damage our economy, our businesses, our citizens, our stability and our standing in the world.

Britain may not have the empire any more, may not be a superpower, but is a global power. We’ve been at the top table of the world, with a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, a member of the G7, G8, G20, NATO and the EU.

So this decision, this 52-48 vote to leave, will not actually achieve the slogan of ‘Vote Leave’ – ‘Let us take control’. We’ve actually lost control and we’re going to lose more control.

It is a selfish, irresponsible and narrow-minded decision, in the words of the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in his famous poem, Where the Mind is Without Fear, “Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic wars.”

1 Comment

  1. Raj Dhillon

    I can only say in hindsight that the resentment to immigrants all over Europe is one of the major causes for this Brexit turmoil. And of-course the future shock that the youth of the 70’s & 80’s had to cope with as years went by and they turned older. The youth of yonder years – possibly 70’s and thereafter – turned to hatred due to influx of immigrants who they saw depriving them of their choice & variety of jobs. The era of hippies & their communes gradually metamorphosed into the youths newly joining the ranks as either some yuppies but certainly more skinheads. Those who didn’t show their skinhead tendencies carried their feelings.hidden inside. Flower power had done away with war and conflicts and nations were struggling before the likes of Bill Gates introduced the concept of the ‘global village.’ However, by now, the youth of the 70’s and 80’s -older but not wiser- missed out this revolution and they found it hard to cope when the younger ones turned more towards their key-boards and mobile devices. By now in their senior years, the 70’s & 80’s youth turned away from the ways of the modern world. While in their 30’s they saw conflict and war re-introduced leading to a divergence between the haves and have-nots. Now in their 60’s & more they feel alienated and unable to compromise with life as is today. The Age of Aquarius is under the spell of being closeted and in oblivion. I’d really like to understand and make sense of what David Bowie meant in his last album ‘Blackstar.’