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Brexit: All your questions answered (It was fun making them up)

London: The entire world is talking about Brexit except perhaps you, and that is because you have no earthly clue what it is (‘sounds like the name of a new brand of biscuit,’ was your first thought). But luckily for you, here is a quick and crisp low down on the entire matter in a handy ‘Q and A’ format so that you will have a large chunk of words to conveniently ignore.

Give us an overall perspective of what the issue is all about

Britain, for long has been blighted by atrocious weather. Unable to take it anymore, Britain is set for a referendum on whether to remain within the folds of the European Union or move to some other place where at least the climate is fit for regular human living. As of now, much of the speculation is that Britain is set to move towards somewhere near the Mauritius, where it is pleasant and sunny and — this is equally important — the tax laws agreeable.

What exactly is this referendum, and how does it work?

The referendum, set for June 23, will basically have the simple question ‘ should Britain remain within EU or not’, and the voters’ work is simple: They will have to provide clear-cut answers, in a long-form article with explanatory diagrams, graphs and pie-charts, to substantiate their choice.

Ha. Ha.  Ha. That will happen only if journalists were in charge of the system. Luckily, that is not the case. People will just have to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question. This they have to do on a piece of paper by marking ‘X’ in one of the two boxes given, Whether this ‘X’ will be taken as ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for the choice will be decided after the referendum to make things interesting and to prolong the suspense.

What is the Royal Family’s stand on this?

The British Royal Family is playing its cards close to its chest, giving room to a lot of speculation including the one that gambling habit runs deeply in it.

On a serious note, the Royal Family’s position on this, though unclear, continues to be irrelevant to all except to those sections of the British press, which is equally irrelevant.

 As of now, what is the popular mood in England? Does it look set for an exit or not?

Well, the popular perception is that it an agonising exit looks inevitable, especially since Wayne Rooney can’t buy a goal to save his life.

Oops, sorry that was about England’s predicament in the Euro 2016, where its fans have behaved so atrociously that it is the EU that may want to kick out Britain without the need for any referendum.

Getting back to tomorrow’s referendum, well, the pollsters initially said that those in favour of exiting were winning. Now pollsters feel that those wanting Britain to stay within EU are holding sway. In the event, the mood in Britain is overwhelmingly clear that the pollsters, like everywhere else, are talking out of their posteriors. But to be fair to the pollsters, they are expected to get their predictions right soon after the actual results are out.

If Britain indeed exits, what will be its implication on EU?

The harsh and honest answer is the EU, which currently has 28 member countries, will have to seriously come to terms with the fact that it will, from now on, have only 27 member countries. Otherwise, EU can continue to with its regular work, which is to hold meetings and summit functions, where guys in blue or grey suits will put people to coma-level sleep.

And even if Britain exits, the common language for the rest of the 27 countries in EU —- we are not making this up — will still be English, which leads us to believe that France, sooner or later, will order nuclear strikes on EU headquarters.

Now we come to the money question: What effect will ‘Brexit‘ have on India?

EU is India’s largest single export market. With a population of around half a billion, the European economy is worth $16 trillion, which is equivalent to one-fourth of global GDP.  Data with the Commerce and Industry Ministry shows India’s bilateral trade with Britain stood at $14.02 billion in 2015-16, out of which $8.83 billion was in exports and $5.19 was in imports. The trade balance thus was a positive $3.64 billion. These are important statistics that we have to keep in mind because this is what we managed to Google and find.

In practical terms, experts concur that ‘Brexit‘ will have serious implications for Indians businesses and stock markets. But, sure enough, they don’t say which way the markets will react and how it will affect Indian businesses.  And they still have managed to remain experts. I think India will have to exit, without any referendum, these experts first.