23 June 2016

Waiting For Brexit Results

Polls close in England's Brexit vote at 3 p.m. Denver time.  Polling favors a "remain" vote, but by a narrow majority less than the polling margin of error.  A "leave" vote could have catastrophic consequences for Europe's economy and as a result, for the world economy.

UPDATE 10:00 p.m. Mountain Time: With 85% of the votes counted, 51.5% of voters have decided to leave the E.U., so the U.K. is almost certain to leave the E.U.  Now, all that remains are the ugly details and catastrophic global economic consequences of this decision.  The British pound has already fallen 11% on the early news and financial markets around the world are falling on the news.

UPDATE June 24, 2016: Charlie Stross has an excellent rant at his blog:
What happens to England and Wales now?

Short version: economic turmoil caused by the uncertainty. An upswing in right-wing xenophobia as the utterly odious crypto-fascist Nigel Farage makes hay while the Sun shines on his project. 
Divorce negotiations ...the Brexiters have been selling a lie; that they'd get a no-fault divorce and keep the house. Reality is somewhat less convenient and Brussels has no alternative but to play hardball if it is to deter other loosely-bound members from following England's example. Most likely England will end up losing the house, the CD collection, and the cat and having to sleep in the car.
There is much more worthwhile analysis in the rest of his post.

Remote Causes

There is a credible case to be made that Brexit, and quite likely Scottish independence and a renegotiation of the status of Northern Ireland and Gibraltar in its wake, all started in Tripoli.

Tunisia is where the Arab Spring started.  Arab Spring in Tunisia triggered a revolution in Libya that brought about regime change with assistant from the military of the U.S. and select allies in the form of missiles and air support and intelligence.  This and some anti-Assad statements gave rise to the Syrian Civil War.  The Syrian Civil War turned a modest flow of refugees into Europe into a historic flood.

The flood of refugees into Europe put pressure on the E.U. in its capacity as immigration union to share an immigration burden that would otherwise have fallen primarily on Greece and Italy alone, and that combined with terrorist incidents in Paris and elsewhere in Europe triggered anti-immigrant sentiment, fear, and dissatisfaction with the E.U.

Without a doubt, there was already a strong base of euro-skepticism in the U.K. that had developed over decades for myriad reasons.  But, when the ultimate "leave" vote margin was less than 2 percentage points, it is very likely that the change of events that started in Tripoli may have tipped the balance from "Remain" to "Leave" in yesterday's vote.


Dave Barnes said...

Scotland voted 62% to remain in the EU.
Talk about leaving the UK has already started.
Look for the breakup of the UK.

Northern Ireland voted 55% remain.
Look for a unified Ireland.

London voted 60% remain.
Can London leave the UK?

andrew said...

If Scotland's independence vote had been second rather than first, I think it would have voted to leave the U.K.

I suspect religion will still keep Northern Ireland in the fold, or at most lead it to a separate independence.

Gibraltar is also thinking about a new future.

No, London cannot leave the UK.

john_burke100 said...

(I got here from Language Log.) There's a very good discussion of what Brexit will mean for British law and government in the London Review of Books. I think this link should get it--if not, you can find it online (possibly behind a firewall--I'm a subscriber so I don't know), Frances Fitzgibbon, "If We Leave."


andrew said...