There won’t be mass expulsions of non-British architects and we should be glad to be rid of the OJEU
As with any momentous political decision, there will be a period of anxiety and uncertainty whichever way you voted. The frothier players in the property and financial markets will go into panic mode and there will be knock-on effects for architects which will be a matter for regret, at least in the short term.
Taking a longer view, there is no reason why the world’s fifth-biggest economy, which has a trading surplus with the world outside the EU (but a deficit within it) should not prosper, especially given that for three centuries our history has been one of internationalism, treating the entire globe as a single market.
Culturally, it is hard to believe (especially in the world of the mobile phone and the internet) that European borders mean very much. I suppose it is possible that there will be fewer opportunities for architects to work in EU countries quite as easily as currently, but in general it is possible for architects to employ almost anyone they like, from anywhere in the world. Hence the United Nations-feel of many London offices: in theory it may look difficult, but in practice there is usually a way. We are not going to see mass expulsions.
One practical advantage for clients and professionals in the world of construction will be the ending of OJEU requirements, a ghastly waste of time and money liked only by procurement nerds who contribute nothing constructive to the creation of new environments.
Although I personally voted to leave, I had no triumphalist feelings on ‘independence day’. But I do believe that serious threats to English common law as opposed to Napoleonic codes, and an inevitable process of federalism and concomitant loss of sovereignty, will be influenced for the better by the vote.
The campaign has been a dreadful one in terms of serious debate, for which I chiefly blame the prime minister and the chancellor of the exchequer. Their ’Project Fear’ campaign backfired because it was absurdly hysterical, and required Whitehall departments (particularly the Treasury) to debase themselves by operating as a propaganda machine in a way I found distasteful and improper.
The received opinions of the complacent metropolitan elite, including cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood, won’t change as a result of the referendum. However, the more thoughtful members of it might recognise a fault in themselves, which is to assume not only that what they believe must by definition be right, but also that because it is right, everyone else must be thinking the same way.