An Open Letter to Brexit

28/06/2016 11:08 | Updated 28 June 2016

Dear Brexit,

Congratulations on a hard if not well-fought victory in the EU referendum. I write to you with my heart as heavy as the pressure that now falls on your shoulders to make good of the biggest political and economic gamble in Britain's history.

As was warned by nearly every leading economist in the world, the London stock market has plunged and the pound has fallen to a rate not seen since 1985. Banks have felt the force of leaving the EU, with Barclays and RBS falling about 30%, although they later pared losses to roughly 17%. The FTSE's slump, meanwhile, was its biggest one-day fall since Lehman Brothers' collapse in 2008.

Prime minister David Cameron has announced he will step down before the Conservative Party conference in October; so if voting to leave was an attempt to shake things up, consider them well and truly shaken. It is saddening that ideas about nationalism and birthright seem to have supplanted the need for a safe and stable economy.

Economy, from what I understand, has played second fiddle to immigration throughout the referendum debate; curiously in areas that most directly benefit from EU subsidies with the smallest proportion of immigrants within their population. Irony just doesn't seem the word.

Of course, not all Brexiters are racists, nor even is the concept of leaving the EU an inherently racist one. It is laughable, however, to suggest that racists who prioritise immigration policy have not used this referendum as a conduit for faux-legitimacy and their own misguided ideals.

The tragic death of Labour MP Jo Cox was not definitively down to Brexit, but your message did little to dissuade a murderer with said misguided ideals. I don't view that as shameless political point scoring any more than a tabloid headline suggesting that all Romanians are rapists.

The demography of the final vote certainly does not make for hollow reading. The results show a clear, entrenched desire to stay in the EU from the young and a concentrated effort from baby boomers and beyond to leave. Generation Y will be asking exactly that. Why have you done this to us? Why have you denied us free movement? Why have you denied us the chance to study abroad? Why have you damaged our currency? Why have you embarrassed us on the world stage? Why have you treated our allies from two world wars with such contempt?

The EU is far from perfect, but then so are we. Talk of trading at a premium soon loses its push when you realise Britain has few premium products with which to trade. We are a tiny group of islands, which could become even tinier in the coming months, and can provide few things that you can't get elsewhere. Why would other European countries pay a higher tariff to trade with us when they can trade with each other more cheaply? Boris Johnson says, 'they love our cake in France,' but I'm not sure they love it that much.

Britain leaving the EU means that 27 other member states will now, by majority vote without our influence, decide on what offer of trade to make. It hardly seems to 'take back control' as you so readily suggest.

UKIP leader Nigel Farrage has already reneged on one of the leave campaign's flagship pledges to provide the NHS with an additional £350million per week. Jobs and lives are at an unprecedented risk during a period of alleged peace.

I don't know, maybe I just have a case of sour grapes, or more likely, an enduring social conscience.

Yours fearfully,

Rohan Banerjee