Getting On With It
"It is said that those who voted Leave were mainly driven by anxieties about immigration. I do not believe that is so. After meeting thousands of people in the course of the campaign, I can tell you that the number one issue was control -- a sense that British democracy was being undermined by the EU system, and that we should restore to the people that vital power: to kick out their rulers at elections, and to choose new ones."
"I believe that millions of people who voted Leave were also inspired by the belief that Britain is a great country, and that outside the job-destroying coils of EU bureaucracy we can survive and thrive as never before. I think that they are right in their analysis, and right in their choice. And yet we who agreed with this majority verdict must accept that it was not entirely overwhelming."
Boris Johnson, Conservative MP, former London mayor
"They are benefiting each day that goes by without it being clear what will happen next."
"They profit as long as it doesn't become clear that leaving the EU might have consequences."
Andreas Mauer, political science professor, University of Innsbruck, Austria
|Britain's opposition Labour party plunged into turmoil Sunday and the prospect of Scottish independence drew closer, ahead of a showdown with EU leaders over the U.K.'s seismic vote to leave the bloc. (Odd Anderson/AFP/Getty Images)|
The Treaty of Lisbon, Article 50 allows Britain or any other country that chooses to take the once-unfathomable step of leaving to take their time. And so, David Cameron sees Britain doing just that and in the interim negotiating special terms for Britain. To enable it to protect its economy by allowing Britain special access to the EU market, emulating Norway. The sticking point, of course, is that the major points propelling the Leave vote was open borders and immigration, and Britain would still have to adhere to the Schengen rule to enable access to the wider EU market.
Another is that the reaction from the elite in the European Union is that quick work should be made of the separation. That since Britain has voted to leave the marriage, the injured party feels no compulsion to make Britain feel comfortable about its decision, and to exercise an avuncular attitude to assure it that it will not suffer any consequences for its ill-considered move. You want out, they're saying, so get out!
British youth are livid with rage over the vote they attribute largely to an elderly countryside vote. The Brexit decision will impact British youth far more than it will those who voted to leave. Their easy access to studying, working, travelling and even living in the rest of Europe will come to a clanking close. Three-quarters of Brits ages 18 to 24 voted to remain in the EU, as did close to two-thirds of the 24 to 34 cohort. Even so, while senior Brits made the effort to actually get out and vote, youth voted in far fewer numbers. In the annals of you get what you deserve, this is a gem.
Britain, at the moment, lacks someone at the helm of its steering mechanism for the ship of state. The Prime Minister will make no decisions, insisting that this is the work of his successor who may or may not take that helm by September. And if he does, it will likely be Boris Johnson who effectively steered the country toward voting to leave the EU. "Never has a revolution in Britain's position in the world been advocated with such carelessness", claimed The Guardian's Nick Cohen, accusing Mr. Johnson of contempt for the practical issues of the economy.
But there are other consequences that loom in the near future that will be far more troubling should they come to pass for Great Britain than merely exiting the EU as a member-state. Britain itself could be exited by Scotland and Northern Ireland, while Wales could remain with Britain even as Scotland and Northern Ireland choose to separate themselves from Britain to stay in the EU. Another referendum on Scotland leaving Britain, and on Northern Ireland reuniting with the Republic is being bruited about.
So is Britain on track to make history as the first and the only country in Europe to desert the EU? Doesn't look that way. France, it seems, is hugely more disparaging of the interfering nature of the EU than even the Brits. And there are many in Germany who are restive and prepared to see their country exit as well, despite the importance of Germany as a stabilizing factor in the politics and economy of the European alliance.
The world is still reeling from Brexit, but there are other iterations of potential national exits such as Departugal, Italeave, Czechout and others, named by economist Justin Wolfers in an attempt at injecting humour into an otherwise sober situation to quell the growing panic. A Pew Research Center poll indicated that sixty-one percent of French citizens view the EU in an unfavourable light, which represents a greater figure than those in Britain who voted to leave.
That same poll showed that a majority of Greeks and a plurality of Spaniards had similar misgivings about remaining within the European Union, preferring to return powers from Brussels to their own countries; and they're certainly not alone. "The majority of the people want the Nexit or at least a referendum about a possible Nexit", according to Geert Wilders, a Dutch leader. "Today is the beginning of the end of the European Union."