The strong financial markets and trading exchanges the UK had established,gave them the will to retain the pound and reject the euro. The EU shackles them not only in trade but in political elbow room, be it labour policies or independent trade arrangements.
The pound is overvalued and China’s manipulations of the renminbi has mauled their trade balances. The exit of Tata shows the helplessness of the country in protecting its own steel industry. Many EU members are in dire fiscal straits. The UK too is desperate today, to reclaim its trading mojo and many there feel EU is a major hurdle.
The Brexit referendum will thus be very close. Either way ,the Parliament has sole powers to enact laws and hence the poll is more emotion than substance. The one predictable outcome—EU will go back to drawing board and emerge more a federation than a union.And that would do the EU and world trade, much good.