This morning five years ago, we heard that almost half a century later, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union and opting for freedom and sovereignty. How do voters who cast their ballots think of that now-controversial Brexit referendum? Reporter Lea Van Beethoven looks back and sees how the British are doing.
“This is a wonderful moment for this country. We have our freedom in our hands. It is up to us to make the most of this,” Boris Johnson said five years ago after the Brexit announcement.
Five years later, the scales were set. It has never been easier for vegetable growers. Brexit makes it difficult for Europeans to move to the UK. The vegetable farmer says the balance between supply and demand is skewed when it comes to business. Last week, an order for strawberries was canceled because he had no one to pick strawberries. The British are looking for 30,000 collectors, 100,000 catering staff and 13,000 truck drivers.
“If I had known the government had embarked on Brexit without a solid plan, I would never have supported it,” says a British distributor. However it is an exception. Most Britons have not changed their minds. An economy that has run on decades of cheap foreign labor must now invest, among other things, through higher wages. Many say that Brexit could make the UK more productive.
International relations have also changed. Brexit in recent years strengthened the independence drive among Scots, and undermined the pro-British Northern Irish. The row over compliance and implementation of Johnson’s Brexit deal will take years. London will blame Brussels for being extremist while Brussels will remind London of the choice it made five years ago.
Brexit isn’t over yet, but Brits don’t want to hear about it anymore. As far as voters are concerned, Brexit is neither a landslide success nor an insurmountable disaster. Britain’s exit from the European Union is real.