Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) is a historical moment, to say the least. I remember when the EU was beginning and many of us thought it would never take – what nations would give up their currency, foreign policy, agriculture, etc. But they did and it became a feeling that this would last forever. Obviously, times have changed. Although the markets and the currency traders will not be happy, and according to the polls, anyone under 30 is not happy. It will be interesting if Denmark, Netherlands, Spain or France move in the same direction. (Dexit, Nexit, Spexit, and Frexit????)
No one knows whether it was the feeling against immigration and the fear of losing jobs or having terrorists slip into the UK, or whether it was fear of the globalization that is taking place, or whether it was just frustration with the status quo and this was a way to express it. The long-term consequences are unknown. Short term the stock markets and the British pound are in a downward spin. And, of course, Trump probably thinks this is a sign of his future victory since he is promoting anti-immigrant passion and an isolationist fervor.
And will this vote have an impact on the UK itself? Will Scotland for instance vote again on independence since they voted to stay in the EU? For them financially it might be a better choice. Many in Northern Ireland are pushing to join Ireland now because Ireland is a member of the EU. This vote could unravel many things.
What we also don’t know is how far this will affect the EU as a whole. As I mentioned at the beginning, when the EU was first being discussed I couldn’t understand how individual countries would abrogate control of their currencies, their agricultural rules, their immigration policies. (Although I loved the fact that dogs could now be imported without a six-month quarantine.) It was a massive experiment that seemed for quite some time to be succeeding. And, now that it seems to be unraveling at the edges, how is the transition going to be managed? Will the EU take retaliation and suddenly tax products from the UK? Will British citizens now have to have visas to work in the EU? Heavens, they won’t be allowed to go through the EU lines at airports; they’ll now have to be in our “Others” immigration lines.
And, for Americans, does this vote have any impact on our elections in November? Trump was for Brexit and Clinton was against. And do the pent up emotions of the voters mean a Trump victory or will this have little importance in five months?
Interesting times we live in.