Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit's Meaning

Brexit: Farewell to all that

Britain has voted for Brexit -- to leave the European Union.  They did so in spite of the united opposition of the political class across the spectrum of British politics.  Blair supported remain as did Labour's current leader Jeremy Corbyn.  The Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, supported remain and now, having lost, he will be exiting.  Even the tragic assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox, a remain supporter, did not tip the scales towards the remain side.

Americans might appreciate the enormous historic implications of Brexit better if they thought of it in these terms:  Imagine a US referendum on some topic where President Obama and Donald Trump held exactly the same position...and a majority of American voters rejected it anyway.  That is what just happened with Brexit.

Business elites, fearful of change, overwhelmingly supported the remain position.  Londoners voted to remain but were swamped by opposition outside of the metropolis.

President Obama weighed in on the Brexit debate in a particularly ham-fisted manner telling Brits that our allies in two World Wars would need to get to the "back of the queue" if they opted for Brexit.  Most Americans would not use the term "queue" so it was clear that Obama was simply parroting talking points supplied to him by Cameron.  Will foreign leaders be less keen on an Obama endorsement / meddling going forward?

Fundamentally, British voters recognized that the EU has turned into a pretty rotten deal.  The membership dues to this club no longer justify the expense.

We know the short term results of Brexit.  Global markets tanked.  The Pound weakened.  Hand wringing ensued.  401ks were diminished this past week.  The media had a field day with dire predictions.
British Pride still sparkles
We do not, of course, know what the longer term consequences of Brexit will be.  We do know, however, that nothing will really change for two years.  Most likely the current market swoon will be followed by an eventual recovery.  Britain will remain an important trading partner with Europe and the world.  EU member states will still want to trade with the world's fifth largest economy.  Tourists will still visit the Tower of London to see the Queen's jewels.  Britain's exit from the EU is unlikely to destabilize the European peace which has endured now for over 71 years since the end of World War II.

There could be a Corbyn government which would likely be disastrous for Britain.  Corbyn is Bernie Sanders without the chutzpah.  Brexit will also likely force another Scottish referendum which would pose a challenge for the UK government.

But Brexit is far from the end of the world.  We ought to remember Monty Python's advice to "always look on the bright side of life".
Boris Johnson: Brexit Winner
More likely, however, this is a huge victory for the leadership of Boris Johnson.  Johnson was a successful charismatic Mayor of London.  He is bright, cosmopolitan and in touch with British sentiment.  He has more than a touch of Churchill about him.  His book, The Churchill Factor, was outstanding (See my review...  Boris now heads up the Foreign Office for Britain.

The Brexit vote dealt an enormous blow to the reigning political establishment worldwide.  It is a clear vote against open borders and unlimited immigration.  It is a vote for local over transnational.  It is a vote against bloated bureaucratic meddling which is despised around the world.  It is a vote in favor of national identity but it is not really a vote for a more bellicose foreign policy.  For better of for worse, this vote should cause major shockwaves in the Hillary campaign which is the embodiment of establishment politics.

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GloriousArsenal said...

I can't recall an instance since the Suez Crisis where the British people were fed such a load of bull! Like the Tripartite Aggression, Brexit was based on deception, bluster and an appeal to the disregarded, bigoted and least common denominators. Less than 24 hours after winning at the ballot box, Boris (BJ) and Michael Gove (The Bear) were hedging on the purported NHS windfall from the Brexit, and fuming that nothing much will change in regards to immigration. Boris, with no plan other than to toss a spanner in the works and call it progress, looks like a frightened child on the naughty step beneath that Andy Warhol mop.

When the folks in Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester (anywhere north of London where they already know Boris is a clown) figure out the whole thing was a sham, they will turn in their populist furor on the Pied Piper that only knows one tune. The youth of Britain (the 18-24 year olds), which voted overwhelmingly to remain, will have some time to exact their pound of flesh. As the aging demographic that took them from Europe totter round to their Councillor surgeries, I think they will find out soon enough that the game is up. Two years to quit? Quite a large scab to heal and being open so long its bound to be prone to infection. England is divided along generational and xenophobic lines, Scotland is beating their own drum of independence, Wales is confused, and somebody will have to pick up the tab for the poorest bits of Northern Ireland which benefited greatly from union with Europe. What would have Ike offered Mr. Johnson by way of advice?

Tim Shannon

Anonymous said...

We are already seeing a revival in markets and further commitment from large multi-national to invest in the UK. Sure there will be bumps but removing ourselves from the totally undemocratic yolk of the EU is the right thing to do.

Ross Herbert
Herefordshire UK

essay service said...

Nice way to define Brexit. I really enjoyed your writing style and the way you described the whole scenario of Brexit in the United States. But things will gonna change soon:)