Will there be a Brexit Contagion? France, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and even Sweden are all considering holding referendums to leave the European Union. Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers met in Berlin this morning and expressed a desire for Britain to begin their Article 50 procedures immediately. If David Cameron won′t start the process till after the Tory Party leadership committee meeting in October, then the EU ministers insist that the British change governments quickly, within the next week. The fear of a long, drawn-out process lasting 2 years or longer will have disastrous effects on the economy.
David Cameron opened this Pandora′s Box two years ago during the last election. His coalition government with the Liberal Party had come unglued. People figured if they were going to support Cameron by voting Liberal, they may as well vote for the Labour Party. Plus, UKIP, the United Kingdom Independent Party, was gaining ground. They′ve been anti-EU all along. So Cameron promised the referendum vote. The plan worked, or it seemed to at the time. The Tory Party won enough seats in Parliament at the expense of the Liberals and UKIP to form a government on its own.
The question of whether Cameron failed to sell the ′Vote Remain′ pitch or not may be mute. Two years ago, sentiment for a divorce from the European Union was already quite wide. Easily between 30-40%. After 40 years of being part of the Common Market, things were not going well. The ′Cod Wars′ over fishing rights was a major issue for decades. Nearly every industry was becoming frustrated with being forced to comply with rules and regulations being dictated from elitist bureaucrats in Belgium. Even with so-called ′free trade′, the UK was losing some 50 Million pounds or more per day to the rest of Europe. A lot of capital which could have been spent domestically on everything from job creation to infrastructure improvements.
Then we have immigration and border security. Now, if you watch CNN or the BBC, or read ″The Economist″, you would think that the British people are deathly afraid of ′Polish plumbers′. Yes, those Polish immigrants are big trouble makers! Or so ′THEY′, The Establishment, said! Of course, the truth is that the real immigration fear was the current wave of refugees piling into the European Union from Syria, Northern Africa and other places suffering from the rise of Islamic terrorism. I don′t think there were many Polish plumbers in the refugee camps near Calais which French police raided recently as refugees flocked to find ships to carry them across The Channel. No, Polish immigrants were easy targets for The Establishment to pick on as they were White Europeans. Nobody is ever called a racist for poking fun at Poles. A bigot, perhaps.
The idea of a United Europe has been around for a very long time. Winston Churchill proposed it in 1942 and was a major advocate. After two world wars, leaving Europe in ruins, nobody wanted a third. In the 1950s, the Club of Rome began serious discussions. By the 1970s, the Common Market became a reality. There was even talk just a few years ago about expanding the EU to include North African nations. But in the 1980s, things began to go awry. The seeds of a super-state having authority over each, individual country, grew. By the time the European Union had a flag to fly, it had already gone too far in scope.
Oddly enough, the break-up of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union itself aided the expansion of the EU′s territory and power. You would think that the lesson that super-states are doomed to fail should have been learned. It was not American paratroopers storming the Kremlin that brought an end to 70 years of totalitarian rule. It was a mayor named Boris standing on top of a tank that brought down that tyranny! Now, we have a former mayor, also named Boris, standing on a soapbox who might be bringing down another super-state.
Coincidence? Irony? History will tell the tale. As events unfold in the great Brexit divorce from the EU, we may see more division and conflict. But one thing is certain, the future is uncertain. Scotland, for example, is now considering divorcing itself from the UK so it can stay in the EU. Problem is, there may not be an EU left! The Brexit contagion is on the loose. Marine Le Pen is demanding a vote in France, and recent polls show 52% support France leaving the European Union. David Cameron opened a can of worms, but that can was stuffed with worms before he became Prime Minister. This has been brewing for many years. The question is now, how quickly might it unravel completely?
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