The turnout for our January meeting was excellent with many guests in attendances. "How Brexit Baffled Britain" was the provocative subject that our speaker, Patrick Allitt, spoke about at our first meeting of the year. He definitely kept our attention as he gave the historical background that had led to the creation of the Common Market/European Union. With two horrific World Wars devastating most of Europe financially and otherwise, something needed to change in the way European countries interacted with each other to prevent future conflicts. Trade was thought to be a way to ease tensions, and a mutually beneficial trade effort was initiated in 1951 with 6 countries called European Coal & Steel Commission. As with so many ideas that start out with good intentions, over the years the EU became a huge bureaucracy that decided it would be a good idea to have their own military, its own currency and overwhelming rules and regulations so that everyone would be on the same page. One important aspect of the EU is the free flow of people between the countries. The individual nations who elected to join the EU had the option of using the Euro for buying and selling to the majority of the countries have. However, the overreaching rules and regulations that standardized everything from cheese to dog leaches ended up destroying much of the uniqueness and sovereignty of each country.
There were those in Britain who were very concerned about losing their historical and cultural heritage to the melting pot of the EU, particularly the free flow of people into Britain. It was not anticipated that the people of the UK would actually vote themselves out of the EU but they did. Many were in shock at the outcome, and it remains to be seen exactly how this result will affect Britain's relationship with other nations. It may cost them more for goods but some feel that it may be worth it in the long run. Time will tell.
Additionally, our Page Scholar recipient, Ana Botting, from Buenos Aires, Argentina (shown right with our President, Don Pattillo), attended this event and expressed her thanks to the ESU for the opportunity to experience our educational system.
Thanks to the Georgian Club for a sumptuous Brunch.