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BREXIT: A VERY BRITISH REVOLUTION
Similarities abound between the shocking election of Donald Trump to the president of the United States and the United Kingdom’s equally shocking approval of Brexit. Brexit is an abbreviation of “British exit,” and refers to the UK’s plan to depart the European Union. The official referendum was held throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on June 23, 2016, and the decision by popular vote was to leave. Those that support the measure to leave are called ‘Brexiters’ and they came out on top in all four UK countries.
- England voted Leave: 53.4% to 46.6%
- Wales voted Leave: 52.5% to 47.5%
- Scotland voted Remain: 62% to 38%
- Northern Ireland voted Remain: 55.8% to 44.2%
Reasons for Brexit
The greatest risk of Brexit is that no another country has ever departed from the union before. The pros and cons of any country leaving — or four countries at once — are merely projections. Only time can tell whether the countries will actually do what Brexit campaigners told them it would.
Brexit campaigners told their constituents that the UK will no longer be responsible for paying into the budget of the European Union. That’s true, but they probably won’t be saving as much as they were told. In 2015, the UK would have been liable for £18 billion in contributions but thanks to a rebate program set up by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher they also received an instant £5 billion rebate. Add to that the £4.5 billion that the EU spent in the UK in 2015 and that brings the net contribution down to about £8.5 billion.
Despite cries from their fellow countrymen and several world leaders, Brexiters make up a worrying percentage of the population who subscribe to the growing trend of nationalism around the globe. The vote to leave the EU signifies a growing distrust in worldwide trade and commerce organizations.
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With more sovereignty comes more dominion over trade agreements for the UK but it also means a loss of leverage when it comes to negotiating their own deals in the future. Optimists see it as an opportunity for the UK to reinvent itself as a Singapore-style super economy, while detractors feel that Britain has now lost the ability to leverage its place in the EU to create better deals. 443 UK will remain a member of both NATO and the UN, but even there Remain voters worry that their influence will now be weak.
Yet another trigger that put Brexit on the ballot was the immigration crises that swept across Europe in the last couple years. While those that support the EU say that it’s a moral obligation of the wealthier countries to aid immigrants with placements and jobs, all Brexiters saw was an influx of immigrants that seemed to never end. After an annual increase of about 285,000 people per year (raising the population by about 0.4% every year), in 2015 that number reached 333,000 immigrants (184,000 of whom were from the EU). Despite the nationalistic, and possibly racist-seeming undertones of a vote against immigration, Brexiters say that they worry about the impact of job-seekers moving around Europe, changing the economic landscape. It’s the kind of nationalistic attitude does not reflect that of the globally-minded EU and probably a good reason why no another country is willing to be labeled racist and elitist in exchange for sovereignty.
Leaders of Brexit
One of Theresa May’s initial moves after David Cameron’s departure was to appointment foreign secretary and leader of the official Leave campaign, Boris Johnson, to her official department responsible for carrying out the will of the people. Joining him there are veteran Conservative MP and Leave campaigner David Davis, and international trade secretary, Liam Fox. The three men were colloquially dubbed the Three Brexiters by the media and made to look like the Three Stooges by left-aligned media.
Main Facts on the Brexit Process
Britain could break from the UK by 2019, but being the first time in history that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty—the necessary catalyst to Brexit—will be invoked, and given the complexity the deals being unraveled, an extension wouldn’t be surprising. At a glance, this is what an un-interrupted Brexit process could look like.
Source – www.bbc.co.uk
The Results of Brexit
Some see this referendum as a wake-up call that rising inequality and low growth can and will promote frustration among citizens who yearn not only for a voice but also “something different”. The Brexit ballot, offering only a “Leave” or “Remain” options was won by 52% to 48%. Although one side won over the other, the referendum was not won by a significant majority, and certainly not unanimous.
Immediately following the referendum, the pound fell to its lowest value in decades. But most of the UK was ready for some backlash from a market that hates sudden change. But the greatest surprise was how quickly former Prime Minister, David Cameron, stepped down from his post follow the loss of the Brexit referendum. That left, Theresa May, former home secretary, as the new Prime Minister. May has stated officially that she intends to carry out the will of the people and continue with the pre-Brexit procedures.
Meaning of Brexit for the World and the UK
While leaving the EU will allow Britain to re-establish itself as a truly independent nation, Britons will eventually have to limit the amount of work, travel or leisure that they currently enjoy within EU borders. Some Remain voters liken it to turning back the clock to pre-WWII when European countries did all of their waring and tradings independently. What Brexit means immediately is a lot of waiting and watching for countries that trade with the UK and investors who have money there.
One thing to note is that Britain’s economy is strong enough that no one needs to expect a sudden collapse or burst bubble. As the EU amputates one of it’s strongest limbs — so strong they never did take on the Euro as their local currency — care and time will be taken not make the ordeal more painful than it has to be.
Why Is Brexit Such a Big Deal?
Besides setting a precedent for being the first member to officially leave the European Union, the reason why Brexit is such a big deal is that we just don’t know how it will turn out yet. It’s a big, dramatic move that will take years to complete; years of shifts that will impact the pound and European markets along the way. It will certainly make the UK countries seem less hospitable to new immigrants but whether Brexit will deter terrorism, buoy the economy and make the UK stronger through independence has yet to be seen. So maybe the big deal is just not knowing the extent of the impact on jobs, homes, trade relationships with other countries and whether countries outside of the union will see a fragmented Europe as a weakened one. One that, say, might give up some power over the Balkan states to Russia.
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