Let’s Talk Business: Analysing the Economic Impact of a Brexit

Britain has entered the battlefield to save, slay or restructure its membership of the European Union. Key players from all national sectors have taken up their positions on all fronts. But clarifying the motivations of British stakeholders and sectors in terms of their support for, or opposition to European integration requires a little more insight. We need to fully understand the challenges faced, and the opportunities on offer from the EU side, and the way in which British industry perceives and responds. British feelings regarding Europe seem mired in semantic differences rather than cultural commonalities. Britain is with, not of Europe. Europe ‘is my continent, not my country’, suggested John Redwood. This produces a sense of resignation in some, who like Stanley Baldwin, argued that ‘whether we like it or not, we are considerably bound to Europe’. For others, the connection at least affords a singular opportunity for British leadership. ‘We have many times led Europe in the fight for freedom’, said Anthony Eden, ‘it would be an ignoble end to our long history if we tamely accepted to perish by degrees.’

This however, is a fight of a different type. It’s fight to determine the vision, and the viability of the Union, and the location of Britain within the EU. These are exciting, confusing, challenging times. And we need some level-headed analysis to chart our way forward. I’m therefore delighted that the Jean Monnet Chair activities, based here in the Politics/IR team of Canterbury Christ Church University, is able to provide open access to fast-moving, contemporary events of real importance, in a way that promotes the work of emerging European scholars. This four-part blog series offers an overview of the particular fears and hopes, and resultant positioning of different business sectors in the struggle to clarify the consequences for a British exit, or ‘Brexit’. In this first post, we examine those areas that are expected to be most gravely affected by a Brexit: the finance sector.