2016-comment

2016 – the year of the .. . . ?  (Chinese:  Monkey — but what else?)  Well, unfortunately the year of the Brexit referendum resulting in Britain’s exit from the European Union. A divided society – split by age (open to the world versus isolationism and protectionism) split by wealth, split by challenge versus fear. And now the consequences: firstly a shock and surprise to many who voted “out” that it really happened, then the Scottish who backed strongly the “in” will wish to have “out” of the UK, as will most likely N. Ireland. It can easily be the end of the UK and it can have a negative impact on the EU by encouraging others to push for out – wherever the mood of fear and wanting control back is similar. It took 60 years ** to build the Union, and one night to begin its undoing. Is it really possible that the decision cold be reversed or inhibited from execution? Either a re-vote, for which there seems to be a sudden and large movement to push for – or could it be Scotland which vetoes the UK’s application to leave the EU ? (the rule is that the UK has to make the request). Switzerland is in a similar situation with the vote on limiting immigration and the EU requirement for free movement of people – a re-vote is cited as a possible solution.

Lessons:
1. EU: the technocratic, removed from reality, central control of the EU needs a huge re-think – with the hope that it doesn’t come too late to calm other member states.
2. UK: the young generation of voters where the majority voted “in” but where their age group was among the lowest turn-out, they must take responsibility for not voting on something as major as this which impacts the environment they now give themselves – in a way they let it happen – it must be the biggest lesson for the young voter population.

 

** Actually more than 60 years if we start with the call for unity from Winston Churchill in 1946.