As an EU citizen and an American citizen, here are my thoughts.
The UK should leave on 29 March 2019 with or without a deal.
The entire process has been flawed from the beginning, but the UK Parliament allowed the people to vote in a referendum, and then agreed with their decision to leave the EU. It is only reasonable to see the UK leave the EU on the date set by Prime Minister Theresa May when she had a letter delivered to the EU Council triggering Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon.
I do not want to see the UK leave the EU. I believe both the UK and EU are better together. The UK Parliament should have never allowed something so important to go to the people. If they were going to have a referendum like this, then it is up to the government to put out facts that were easily attainable before the vote. There were no government statistics put out either way, and it was left up to the two camps who put out fear and bogus statistics. The people were not informed enough to make a proper decision.
Even with the statistics at hand many would have still voted to leave. Those who voted to leave fall mostly into three categories, those who believe that the UK is still a mighty empire, those who believe that the UK would be better economically, and those who do not like the immigrants from the EU coming to their country. Even some of my UK friends living in Italy voted to leave thinking the economy would be better without the EU, and they harken back to days of yore when their empire was strong. The world has changed, the UK and EU depend on each other for trade. The reason so many financial companies are in the UK, specifically London, is not because the UK is the best place for business. Hint, it had to do with being in the EU and having English skills.
It was easy for the Leave campaign to blame the EU for the economy, but that was a scapegoat. The same as they claimed “unelected bureaucrats” run the EU. This is false and plays on the naïveté of the population on how the EU works. There are plenty of unelected ministers and public servants at work in the UK. Yes, some posts in the EU are not elected directly by the people of member States, but they are elected within the EU structure by those who were voted in by the member States.
The UK has taken lots of EU citizens in, but has taken in more non EU citizens statistics show. Italy has the highest amount of non EU citizens, mostly due the crisis in Africa and the Middle East. EU citizens moving to the UK have a higher percentage of university graduates than the UK itself. The leave vote based on immigrants I blame most on xenophobia.
As soon as the BREXIT vote was taken the UK government should have set up a BREXIT commission to evaluate what needed to be done. This is the opposite of what they did, as they went mostly blind into negotiations with the EU, and agreed on everything before the UK Parliament even had a look. If small parts could have been agreed on or rejected on a regular basis, the negotiation would have been better for the UK.
The UK proposed the Irish Backstop, not the EU. The UK citizens have to blame their own government for this one.
At the end, the Leave campaign promised that they would have all this extra money to spend on the NHS, which the government says it will not do, and that the UK would be in a free trade agreement with the EU without having to abide the EU’s four pillars. The UK’s own assessment show harm to their own economy by leaving without a deal.
If the UK leaves without a deal, their economy will suffer for the next decade or so. Northern Ireland would vote to join the Republic in a handful of years, and Scotland may also vote for independence from the UK.
If the UK leaves with the deal that has been proposed, then the UK will not be hit that hard and would thrive in a short time. The UK will never get a full free trade agreement, but may wind up with something like the treaty with Canada.
Having said all this, the UK should leave on 29 March 2019 at 2300 GMT. Whether they want or deal or not, is up to them. The Parliament should respect the vote of the people and of itself, no matter how flawed the process has been. I just don’t want to hear from the UK travelers complain about their loss of rights to use the E-Gates at airports and free movement.