Having voted to stay in the EU, I was somewhat shocked and dismayed to discover on Friday morning that my fellow brits (with wild variations for age and region) had made us leave the EU. There is no doubt this is a flawed organisation (what isn't), but I'd rather be in it than outside. I was also somewhat disheartened as the leave campaigners used the immigration issue, with some blatantly racist overtones, to press their point. However, since the vote was close and almost half those who voted will be unhappy with the result, this is far from over and for those interested in politics the next year or two will be interesting. However, it will also be a monumental waste of time and money.
So what does it mean for me? Well in the short term (and maybe well beyond that) I'm benefitting financially. I get paid mostly in dollars for my stock images and the fall in sterling (£) means I will earn more per image. Indeed, after the vote I had $1800 in my paypal account for past sales and I waited until the currency exchange rate on the paypal site slowly clicked up to what seemed the best result for me and I duly transferred the money to my bank account making around £100 more than I would have done the day before. So, if I'm selfish, for this I may get a lot out of Brexit. However, what other economic factors come into play, who knows. And I doubt I'll benefit in terms of sales from any economic, global or local, recession caused by this. Interestingly Canon have already declared that Brexit could 'halt Japanese recovery.'
It is a decision that will have far reaching implications and no-one has a clue (despite what they may say) what will happen as a result of this. It could be beneficial and lead to an overdue reform of the lumbering, voracious country gobbling that the EU has pursued for a number of years, to the annoyance of the people of who live and work there or it could be a catastrophic disaster. As usual it will most likely be somewhere in the middle and a clear picture will probably emerge several years from now. In the meantime, I guess we all carry on as normal, particularly since we won't actually have left for at least 2 years.
For me, it's sad that we have left an organisation initially set up to counteract the damage done by two world wars and to prevent that happening again. I doubt very strongly that we Europeans will start fighting each other again (well at least not with guns and tanks!!), but the EU concept initially was a worthy one. I guess the thing that most disappoints me is the huge disparity between my generation, who voted overwhelmingly to leave and the younger generation who voted overwhelmingly to stay. The willingness of those below the age of 35 to get involved in the political process has certainly not been encouraged by this decision and that is a shame. My generation of 'baby boomers' has achieved much in terms of breaking down some of the more repressive social habits of previous generations, but what we have done to the planet and the legacy we will leave our children and grandchildren is perhaps not what we would have wished it to be.
My other concern is that Brexit may trigger a move to the right politically across Europe and right wing governments and attitudes have never been know to be good for the creative arts and artists. Atmosphere is everything and it's no surprise that the Renaissance inspired a lot of great art. The right likes convention, censorship and convergence, completely at odds with the experimentation, freedom of expression and diversity that we as creative artists believe in, so I hope that we are all still able to 'let it all hang out.' Hopefully the internet could actually contribute something useful, for a change, instead of the promotion and publication of pictures of people making complete a*******s of themselves. As I said interesting times ahead, but I do have the nagging suspicion that a lot of people will be seriously regretting voting the way they did a few years down the line as well as the rest of us. And I sincerely hope that I'm wrong about that.