For David Coburn, this is a dream come true: “I have been working on this since 1975, since I was 16 years old, so yes, it’s a fulfilment of a long battle.” Dr Monaghan expressed that he was tremendously disappointed with the result of the referendum; “I think it is tragic that the people of England have voted to leave the EU, there is a very positive result in Scotland where the people of Scotland have voted to stay in the EU, and want to see their EU citizenship protected.”
To a question on whether the UK stay together as a single country, Dr Richard Wellings pointed out that calling a Scottish referendum now would not perhaps be the best thing to do because Scotland is in a weak position economically, with the fall in the oil prices, poor demographics, it is doubtful that Germany would want to support another weak part of Europe. Dr Monaghan said that: “…Nicola Sturgeon has said that in the case of a remain vote in Scotland and a leave vote in England, that it is demographically unacceptable for the people of Scotland to be dragged out of the EU. This does give the Scottish people a mandate, how they use it is up to them.”
On the subject of what will happen to the rest of Europe, Dr Wellings expressed that he does not see any immediate race for the rest of the EU break up, he even sees the EU bureaucracy possibly using this as a way to further EU integration. But he also points out that: “…the problem is that the UK was one of the major contributors into the EU, and without the UK, Germany and other countries will have to pay more into the system, and that could be the breaking point with German taxpayers.” David Coburn believes that it is all going to break up, as “when we leave, it is only Germany and Britain that keeps the whole thing afloat financially. …The Dutch will soon follow, then the Czech Republic and so on.” David sees the EU as: “an unelected authoritarian dictatorship. …I want to be ruled by my own parliament, and so does everybody else.”
Dr Wellings suggests that there is a case for more decentralisation within the EU. Dr Monaghan said that it is still too early to say what the EU will look like after the UK has gone: “…the parties who wish for independence are often small, often on the far right, and not necessarily representative of the democracies around the EU. I think the EU will continue to exist and will continue to offer a lot to its member states and their populations.”
After talking about the effect of Brexit on the UK economy, guests gave their opinions about the very important issue of whether Brexit will affect Britain’s position as part of the the pan-European anti-Russian sanctions. Dr Wellings thinks that probably not, “because the pressure from the sanctions is mostly coming from the US, and the rest of Europe is going to remain very much still a part of the US-Europe alliance. But the sanctions are quite telling because they are showing us how weak the EU economy is…” David said simply that we should be friends, not enemies with the Russians, “…we have a lot more in common with them than anybody else. The EU has caused nothing but trouble over Ukraine and almost caused a war. Dr Monaghan agrees with David on one point, that we should be friends with the Russian Federation, but also says that the outcome of this referendum will not have any impact on sanctions.