Saturday, June 25, 2016
What comes next?
Britain voted to leave the EU. The Brexit campaign, against initial expectations, was a success. Now what? It's going to be a tangled mess. The politicians have their work cut out for them: everything from replacing EU laws to negotiating trade deals. Britain will really have to get its trade deals in order quickly. It's an island that lacks the resources to feed itself and produce the raw materials it needs.
It was an interesting vote. London was all for staying in. Scotland was heavily in the stay camp, as was Northern Ireland. I bet Scotland feels angry about not leaving Britain when they had the chance. Who knows, this might be what finally unites Ireland.
Stock markets took a tumble around the world. Let's see what happens on Monday. If after a weekend to contemplate the situation the markets continue to fall, then we have a problem. Right now the reaction is mostly emotional.
There is some speculation that other countries will consider leaving. For that reason the EU may try to make the British exit as painful as possible. At least there's been some talk in that direction. On the other hand, punishing a major trading partner might not be a great idea.
The EU was partly formed to prevent the squabbling between nations that had just produced two world wars. For all its many faults, the EU was successful at reducing barriers between peoples. That's no small accomplishment considering the history of Europe and the diversity of its citizens.
Almost nobody is talking about NATO. Will that alliance also be weakened? Time will tell.
I am surprised that Britain would be the first to leave. I was expecting Greece, but the politicians there do exactly the opposite of what the voters want. Italy, Spain, Portugal -those countries also are having issues so leaving might make sense. The Scandinavian countries may now start to wonder if membership is worth it. Their economies are relatively solid so they will be watching Britain closely to see how it goes.
Of course, I might be getting too “thinky” about the whole thing. From the rhetoric of the final campaign days it appears the vote came down to keeping brown colored refugees out. Finer points about membership were lost in all the noise.