Brexit: What it means for Tech (but don't panic)

One is not amused. Or perhaps her royal highness is happy. I’m unsure.

brexit eu
Credit: UK Home Office (cc:by)

Britain votes to leave the EU, but what does this mean for the technology industry? Let’s take a look at the situation in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

But let’s keep this a politics-free zone, eh? In IT Blogwatch, British bloggers panic (or not).

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: don’t panic


What’s the craic? In case you’ve been living under a rock, here are Aunty’s Brian Wheeler and Alex Hunt, with All you need to know:

A referendum…was held on Thursday…to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. … Leave won by 52%. … Turnout was 71.8%…the highest turnout…since the 1992 general election.

The EU…is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries. … It has since grown to become a "single market"…as if the member states were one country.

EU law still stands in the UK until it ceases being a member [which] could take some time. … No nation state has ever left the EU.

[Campaigners] in favour of leaving…said Britain was being held back by the EU, which they said imposed too many rules on business and charged billions of pounds a year in membership fees for little in return. They also wanted Britain to take back full control of its borders and reduce the number of people coming here to live and/or work. [They] also objected to…moves towards the creation of a "United States of Europe."


Keep calm and carry on. That’s the flavor of this Anonymous ’Weakly blurb—UK IT community rocked:

The UK IT community, users and suppliers, have reacted with alarm, fortified by some sangfroid. … The two-year transition period means that there is an opportunity to adapt.

In the startup area of UK IT, voices remain bullish. … UK firms will need to consider EU data laws when deciding where to host UK and EU citizen data.


Oh yeah? David Meyer says Brexit will have a big impact:

[It] means years of uncertainty, with tech firms and investors unable to know for sure how regulations will evolve (or devolve). … The UK is one of the voices in Europe that has called for relatively light-touch tech regulation. … Without it, Germany and France will have even stronger positions in the bloc. [They] have taken the lead on cracking down on American tech firms, such as Google.

It is by no means a certainty that the UK will be able to continue to participate in the European single market—something that Brexit campaigners promised, but that may be tricky to negotiate. … The majority of British tech startups came out against Brexit ahead of the vote. … And the UK’s rivals won’t hold back in taking advantage of the situation.


Hmmm… Who do we know who’s well-connected with the UK startup scene? Let’s hear from James Governor:

We’ve had a lot of really gross politics. A lot of negativity. … It has not been very pleasant being in the UK, from a political perspective.

"And the public gets what the public wants." … What a ****ing goat rodeo. Berlin is looking pretty sweet right now.

There's only thing for it. Let's go down the pub.

In other news, I am paid in dollars. So that's alright then.


Plus ça change? Andrew Orlowski is his usual shy, retiring self—Britain votes to leave EU:

[It’s] confounding the polls, the "experts" and the British establishment. … Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation.

Demographically the result pitted the working class and the provincial middle class against…bien pensant elites. Voters defied warnings that a Leave vote would "destroy Western political civilisation", and threats from…Barack Obama.

For now, nothing changes. [But] with stagnation and mass youth unemployment across mainland Europe, the story is unlikely to end [here]. France, Spain and Greece are all more Eurosceptical than the UK, and only 51 per cent of Europeans in 10 states had a favourable view of the EU.


Want an unusual news angle? Ben Lovejoy seeks The Brexit story in Google searches:

Google Trends tells the story. … Searches include a 500% spike in ‘buy gold’…this one is no surprise. … UK citizens who want to retain…the right to visit, live and work in any EU country, have been searching for…how to obtain Irish citizenship. … While some appear unaware that there’s a bit of paperwork to do before the UK actually leaves.


The last word for now? It goes to RogueyWon:

We won't know the real implications for some time. But…this was not just about the EU.

I wish the result had been different, but I accept that it wasn't. I live and work in London and my whole circle voted to remain. My parents live in the suburbs of a northern city and they and their circle voted to leave.

Things feel scary in the UK this morning. But…we need to at least accept and tolerate our divisions rather than widening them. [Those] would be good first steps.


And Finally…

Don’t panic!


You have been reading the last IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings (at least for now). Richi curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or itbw@richi.uk.

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