So Britain has voted to leave the EU. While I’m not British and wouldn’t have voted to leave, the result is valid, and needs to be respected, regardless of whether it was the grey vote that tipped the balance in favour of leave. The young voters who voted in their majority to stay will have to live with the consequences. But that’s simply the nature of referenda.
I wonder what the short, medium and long-term consequences will be. David ‘Dances with Pigs’ Cameron has resigned and will be gone by October which is only proper – although I would like him to explain why he was so Euro-sceptic until a couple of years ago but started campaigning to remain. One of his most likely successors Boris Johnson was the leading light in the leave campaign – another surprising about turn. Neither of these two upstanding citizens could ever be accused of gambling recklessly on Britain’s future for their own career purposes, now could they?
Britain has two years in which to negotiate an exit. And I suspect that the exit talks will be tough. Other EU states like France and Italy and the Netherlands have their own populist, right wing, Eurosceptic parties who are demanding their own exit votes. I guess the powers that be in the EU want to avoid a domino effect so will want to make an example out of Britain to show that exiting is not economically advisable. Therefore I expect very little goodwill to be shown towards Britain in the exit negotiations. Any opt outs and special arrangements will be dropped and the message they’ll deliver is that you can’t cherry pick the nice bits of EU membership. The EU will see it more in terms of its own survival. It will benefit the EU if Britain suffers as it will ensure the long term survival of the project.
And considering how ugly, populist and borderline fascist the whole campaign seemed to be, I don’t see why any massive amount of goodwill is owed to Britain.
Strangely enough I expect there to be pretty fundamental reform of the EU as a result of the British vote. If the institution becomes more transparent and democratically accountable then we may have to thank Britain for improving our situation while throwing sympathetic side eye at the fact that they aren’t enjoying the same benefit.
And how do you solve a problem like Scotland and Northern Ireland? Both countries want to remain in the EU and voted to stay. Scotland’s First Minister has already announced that a 2nd referendum to leave the UK is now inevitable as it would be democratically unacceptable for Britain to force Scotland to leave the EU when that goes against the will of the Scottish people.
Northern Ireland also voted to remain in the EU. Sinn Fein have said that it is unacceptable to force Northern Ireland to leave the EU when the population does not want this, and that a referendum on leaving the UK is necessary.
With the North there’s obviously the border issue. Northern Ireland and the Republic share a land border – the only land border that the UK currently shares with the EU. It is an open border. Post Brexit are they really going to risk imposing a closed border on such a volatile region. The other option is to close the border between the entire island and Britain – which in effect is cutting Northern Ireland out of the UK.
And what of the millions of EU immigrants in the UK and the millions of UK immigrants in the EU? I doubt Britain will want to trade 500,000 young, active, healthy, hardworking Polish people for 500,000 British pensioners being expatriated from Spain? Will they have a choice?
Why am I worried about any of this? Nigel Farage has all the answers. His delirious declaration that this was Britain’s independence day was breath-taking in its arrogant offensiveness. The world’s biggest ever colonizer has FINALLY been granted independence from an institution created to prevent war. Among world leaders and potential world leaders the most supportive of Farage’s position are Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Let’s just stop to think about that for a moment shall we?