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Teresa May could emerge the true winner of Brexit

The ‘leave’ campaign fear-mongered the British public into gambling the future of its own citizens

Yara al-Wazir

Published: Updated:

The turmoil of Brexit has been ongoing for a week. Living in the UK, it is difficult for a few hours to pass without anyone mentioning the referendum. The Leave campaigners worked tirelessly to promote Britain’s exit from the EU, but it is a real shame they did not work half as hard to come up with a solid plan of action once they got what they wanted.

Britain voting to leave the European Union has left the political and economic situation in a shambles. The arguments of the leave campaign went around in circles but almost consistently lead back to one core topic: immigration.

The “leave” campaign fear-mongered the British public into gambling the future of its own citizens. It dragged along millions of immigrants, European and others like me, who call Britain home.

The vote cannot be taken back: democracy has spoken, and regardless of whether a second referendum is called, and when Lisbon article is instated, the British public is now looking for a new prime minister.

Boris Johnson, one of the “leave” campaign leaders, has announced that he will not be running for the position this year. He is probably aware that whatever deal is negotiated with the European Union will be criticized.

Johnson is clearly keeping his eye on the big picture: winning a general election. There is no need for him to put himself in a situation where he is liable for public scrutiny and further criticism when his eye is on the real prize: the general election of 2020.

If May were to win the election, the impact on immigration would be substantial regardless of whether Britain is in or out of the European Union

Yara al-Wazir

Come what May

Teresa May, current Home Secretary, has decided that she is fit to lead the Conservative Party, and has chosen to run for prime minister. If May were to win the election, the impact on immigration would be substantial regardless of whether Britain is in or out of the European Union.

Although the media is projecting May as a progressive, her policies prove that what she would bring to Britain could not be farther from the truth. May sees foreigners as pure investors in the British economy. She would prefer that they do their investments from abroad and not benefit from even the paved roads and streets of Britain.

I have myself been a victim of May’s policies, specifically those implemented in 2011. This was related to the transfer of student visas to work visas for international students who on an average spend over £50,000 on a degree in the country, including international tuition fees and living expenses.

May’s policies made it increasingly difficult for students like me to remain in the UK after completing their degrees. Exceptions were made for those who studied subjects that were deemed on the “skills shortage list”.

However, the bigger picture was clear: May wanted as many international students to spend as much money in the UK while they are students, and for them to leave as soon as their visa expires, completely disregarding the benefit foreigners can bring to the economy, including diversity and taxes.

May has previously stated that she believes that the UK can reduce net migration without impacting the economy. Perhaps this proves that May is in fact one of the better suited candidates to negotiate the British deal with the European Union – after all the British public was made to believe that leaving the European Union would mean jobs taken by Europeans would be given to British nationals.

The real winners

The real winners of Brexit are few and far between. Although 17 million people voted to leave the European Union, I don’t believe all of them would have voted to see the UK in the political, economic, and social turmoil that it is in now. The volatility of the Sterling is a limiting factor to foreign investment at least until the currency stabilizes.

UOB has suspended London mortgage agreements and Obama has stated that he stands by his initial comments that Britain will be at the “back of the queue” when it comes to trade deals.

The political future of the country is being questioned in both the main political parties and the social relations between classes, ages. Even the leader of the Scottish National Party has stated that a second referendum for Scottish Independence is on the table.

The truth remains that so far there have been few clear winners as a result of Brexit – few of whom are the people who have actually voted. Those who have gambled and placed bets on the value of the Sterling may have won; currency traders may have won, assuming they predicted the result to leave.

Perhaps the true beneficiaries are the Arab tourists who plan to visit Britain for Eid, considering the poor value of Sterling will make their goods and shopping cheaper. If May comes to power who knows what will happen to the British visa system. Whether she will make it difficult for holidaymakers to visit the UK remains to be seen.
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Yara al Wazir is a humanitarian activist. She is the founder of The Green Initiative ME and a developing partner of Sharek Stories. She can be followed and contacted on twitter @YaraWazir

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.