For months, the Brits have threatened their fellow EU members with a Brexit that could destabilize the entire European Union. But guess what: That probably won’t happen.
1. Britain’s coolheaded Britishness
Brits see themselves as the keepers of common sense, a quintessentially British virtue. They think to think that they are capable of keeping a cooler head than some of the continental EU members. With that in mind, it would not be sensible to destroy the European Union on a whim.
2. The British reticence
People on the British Isles are likely to resist change. When they say not to rock the boat, they mean it – especially when it comes to work or politics. So the British have kept their royal family and health care system. They just carry on acting like everything is fine, like there’s no need to change. Maybe that is why London’s tube has not been renovated in ages or Heathrow Airport expanded. Who knows? Things might turn out worse.
3. The Scoxit risk
You know it’s serious when Alex Salmond, who led the Scottish National Party until 2014, is threatening the UK with secession just two years after losing a referendum to the same end. If Scotland really does plan to leave the UK in the case of a Brexit, then the English should really ask themselves if they want to main a rump kingdom as Northern Ireland and Wales are also thinking about divorcing the crown.
4. It’s the economy
The “Stay” campaign has gone to great lengths to explain the dramatic consequences of a Brexit. Finance Minister George Osborne estimates that every Briton will be poorer by 4,000 pounds (5,250 euros/$5,850) a year. The country would fall into recession and not recover for years. But one argument does strike a chord in the nation of homeowners: It is predicted that residential real estate prices will fall by 18 percent. A house is seen as a provision for old age, so prices bear existential significance.
5. Markets are floundering
Several heads of banks have discreetly questioned the idea of remaining in the UK after a Brexit. After all, Paris and Frankfurt are also options. Suddenly, a chasm has become apparent: After initial surveys showed that the Brexit camp was leading, the pound briefly fell. Now, there are many reports that tell investors how to protect themselves in case the pound crashes. The Bank of England has warned against a Brexit; bankers are concerned about London’s status as an international financial hub. Also, the financial crisis has been overcome and the businesses are booming. See No. 2 above.
Foreign policy arguments do not seem to count for much, but that hasn’t kept Prime Minister David Cameron from stating that a Brexit would be a blow to the United Kingdom’s security. President Barack Obama has said the US would not give the UK preferential treatment – not economically, not politically – should it leave the EU. Even heads of intelligence services have warned that fighting crime would become a much tougher task without the help of the UK’s “friends” on the continent.
7. Boris is out
For years, Boris Johnson was hugely popular with Britons. In his role as London mayor until early May, he offered a steady supply of quirks, trademark messy hair and a deep reserve of entertaining quotes. (“My policy on cake is pro having it and pro eating it.”) But he lost a lot of credibility when he took up the “Leave” cause – and lost much more when he likened the European Union to Hitler. He also didn’t make any friends when he claimed that Obama’s African heritage made him anti-British.
8. A labor shortage
Ever since Prime Minister Tony Blair opened the doors to workers from new EU member states in 2004, thousands of Polish builders have moved to the United Kingdom. Many Poles now fill positions in the service sector – in hotels, restaurants and assisted-living homes, for examples – and have gained a reputation for affordable, reliable and skilled labor. And, as the British constantly buy, sell and renovate houses, Polish plumbers, carpenters and bricklayers cannot get enough work. A Brexit would send them back home.
9. An individual prerogative
Polls are smoke and mirrors, as evinced by survey results before the last UK elections. The Labour Party led, but the Tories easily won. Either polling institutes lie, or it all comes down to solitude in the voting booth. With no friends to influence them, voters are left alone with the task of making a choice. And, in the upcoming referendum, voters may be overwhelmed by doubt about a Brexit and decide they want to stay in the European Union.
10. Odds are long
Who has the thickest finger on the pulse of the United Kingdom? The bookies, of course! They cannot afford to be completely off like the polling institutes can: They earn their money taking your bets. And bookmakers such as Paddy Power are giving “Stay” voters 1-7 odds – that means you’d have to put up 100 pounds to get just over 14 quid back should Brits stay as expected. When in doubt, listen to the bookies.