Britain Analysis: United Kingdom No More

6
1188

PHOTO: Michael Gove and Boris Johnson of the Leave campaign, speaking on Friday


The University of Birmingham’s David Dunn writes for the Spanish newspaper La Razón:


The final figures on the European Union referendum — 51.8% for Leave and 48.2% for Remain — are a perfect symbol for the divided country that follows the Brexit vote. This is no longer a United Kingdom.

The divisions are not just over where the votes went. The UK is split between generations, level of education, class, and outlook. It is split between its four nations, with England and Wales voting Leave while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain. The debate has divided people over attitudes to immigrants, in a campaign marked by ugly nativist rhetoric which willfully ignored rational argument in favor of emotional and atavistic sentiments.

See EA’s full Britain and Europe coverage

None of these divisions will be easily healed. Some may widen. Scotland is likely to hold another independence referendum soon. There are renewed calls, led by the republican party Sinn Fein but including others, for Northern Ireland to look to union with the Irish Republic to the south.

David Cameron’s decision to resign as Prime Minister further adds to the instability that Brexit brings. His pledge to go within three months opens the door for a leadership contest within his Conservative Party. A new leader will also want a mandate to govern and so a general election is likely before the end of the year. That new Prime Minister, undoubtedly pro-Brexit, will want to purge his Parliamentary party of Europhile MPs.

Meanwhile, the opposition Labor party is widely seen as unelectable under its current leader Jeremy Corbyn. He may not survive until a general election, bringing the further uncertainty of Labor’s own leadership election.

That could improve the party’s fortunes, but the probable result for now is a more conservative, more Euro-sceptic Government, most likely lead by the former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. This in turn will further propel Scotland to vote for independence.

It is only after a new Prime Minister is confirmed that the UK will begin to re-negotiate the terms of its relationship with the EU. The outcome of that discussion and the pursuit of new trade deals in the global arena will be crucial for the UK and wider relations within Europe.

Securing these deals is unlikely to be as easy, quick, or painless as the Brexiteers imagine. Dealing with the EU will require the agreement of all 27 other states, each of whom has their own agenda in competition with the independent path that Britain has set. The ability to “take back control” in these circumstances may be more illusory than real.

The UK’s decline and division is not yet inevitable. Early in the campaign, Boris Johnson argued that a vote for Brexit would be an opportunity to re-negotiate a better deal for Britain within the EU. While this was widely dismissed at the time, such an outcome might now well be in the interests of all parties.

Both Ireland and Denmark have had referenda on EU Treaty changes and, following “no” votes, have been given more favorable terms which were then approved in a further vote. If Britain’s concerns on immigration and welfare payments are accommodated, then the erosion — of the UK and possibly the EU — might be stopped.

Following Brexit, the forces of disintegration and xenophobia have been strengthened in Europe. The progress made over the last 70 years towards a tolerant, integrated, and liberal political community has been put at risk. Perhaps these forces are now unstoppable, but the effort to try to halt them is worth it, given the consequences of the alternative.

Related Posts

6 COMMENTS

  1. From today’s Torygraph:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/25/eu-referendum-brexit-prime-minister-tory-mps-boris-johnson-leade/
    .
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that, as well as working with the UK on its departure, the EU must respond to citizens of the remaining 27 states who question what benefits they get from membership.
    .
    Speaking in Potsdam after a meeting with her CDU/CSU party grouping, Mrs Merkel said the remaining members would have to “work on the processes in the EU in the sense that we were recently partners but also that we must separate. We must, along with the 27 member states, decide how to react to British proposals for this separation.”
    .
    Mrs Merkel said that the Union needed to show “countries that wonder if they benefit from being in the EU” that it was “working on their behalf and heading in the right direction”.
    .
    Translation:
    Achtung! Ve musst ein horrible example uf zees Britischer SchwineHunde makken, lest ze uzzer slaves also sink uf successful escape. HansLanger, convene mein SanktionsRat, sofort!
    .
    .
    And, in the same vein:
    .
    EC President Juncker moves quickly to replace Lord Hill, the British EU Commissioner for financial services, with Valdis Dombrovskis, the Commissioner for the Euro.
    [This] is highly symbolic. It shows how Juncker wants the bloc to consolidate around the Eurozone. This is a very bad signal for any City firms that hoped they could retain passporting rights while operating from London.
    .
    .
    Also, Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German finance minister, has said that Britain will have no access to the single market, saying: “Out is out”.
    .
    .
    The EU must change direction or collapse, Italian finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan has said.
    .
    “The unthinkable is happening,” he said. “A double reaction to Brexit is under way, one financial, one political. The financial one, at least until now, is limited. I am more worried about the political one.
    .
    “There is a cocktail of factors that can lead to various outcomes, including a further push towards disintegration.”
    .
    Speaking to Corriere della Sera, Padoan also said EU leaders had to understand there could be no more “business as usual” on the key issues of jobs, growth and immigration.
    .
    Padoan added: “In the management of Europe, Ecofin included, the prevailing attitude is almost ‘business as usual’.
    .
    “But the situation we are in now is exceptional. We have to change our major priorities and we will see if (next week’s) European Council sends a far-reaching signal in that sense, as it should do.
    .
    “We have had proposals on the table for months that say employment, growth, well-being and equality have to be the priorities.
    .
    “Europe cannot only take care of the banks. We are stabilising them and will continue to do so, but we also have to look after our citizens.”
    .
    Gentiloni was meeting Saturday with his counterparts from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands – fellow EU founding members – for talks on the implications of the Brexit vote.
    .
    .
    Scottish government is busy drafting legislation for the Independence referendum re-run. In an indication of the foregone conclusion, Sturgeon says Scotland is starting negotiations with EU immediately, sidestepping London. Previously pro-Union newspapers are supporting the new push to leave UK and remain in EU.
    .
    The Daily Record’s editorial reads: “The First Minister is right to raise the prospect of a second IndyRef, no matter how weary we all are of the constant constitutional war of attrition.
    .
    “Now the prospect of Scots returning a Yes vote in a second referendum is very much alive.”
    .
    It concluded: “Many of those who voted to stay in the UK two years ago did so because they wanted to reject a narrow nationalism and its insular view of the world.
    .
    “But yesterday’s result recast independence as the positive, outward-looking option for Scotland.
    .
    “This morning, Scotland and England have never felt politically further apart.”
    .
    .
    LOL, now also Turkey is threatening to leave the EU, before even joining:
    Erdogan this week suggested Turkey could hold its own referendum on whether to continue its EU accession efforts.

    • TO SCOTT:
      .
      Is it really necessary to hog up a whole page by posting the entire article as in this case. It probably violates copyright as well to go that far. I suspect Barbar’s real goal to wear out readers and bury any other posts. My own tendency with posts follows one of these four patterns which determine length.
      .
      1) Title and link only, sometimes with a once sentence commentary (most frequent).
      2) Same but with a few brief excerpts to to give people a “taste” of what the article is about or draw attention to key points.
      3) Same as #2 but with a Red T. analysis afterward.
      4) An all analysis post.
      5) Multi-posts containing links to several articles or news items, modeled on #1 or #2 above.
      .
      In five minutes, any fool can copy and paste a full, long article but why do that when one has posted a link? My longest posts all fall into category 3 and 4 above. I’m not interested in imposing the kind or Russian-style censorship trolls like Barbar support at home. I’d have no quarrel if he stuck to the five patterns above. However, posting long articles in their entirety makes no sense especially when you include links, as he does. Posting small excerpts so the reader can decide whether to pursue the link is fine.
      .
      Analysis is original, personal and time consuming (often in my case at least one hour and sometimes several hours. By nature, analysis requires depth which can’t be always be done in a few sentences, even if some folks used to one minute TV analysis would prefer the latter. That’s the difference between written form vs. TV news and alalysis.
      .
      I suspect the intent of Barbar’s needless space hogger was to wear down readers and “block” subsequent posts. Is he planning to offer more posts like the one above?

      • Readers are reminded to please post the opening paragraphs of an article and then a link to the full text.

        Thank you,

        S.

  2. Great Britain reckons with possible future as Little England
    .
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/great-britain-reckons-with-possible-future-as-little-england/ar-AAhCHOw?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=ASUDHP
    .
    UK Labour leader under pressure after MPs quit
    .
    Having chosen a stubborn, ideological nutcase, so extreme he destroys any chance of Labor victory, the Labor Party is stuck with him. Everyone is resigning from his shadow cabinet but Corbyn says he won’t quit. The guy reminds me of Egypt’s Morsi and Turkey’s Erdogan.
    .
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/uk-labour-leader-under-pressure-after-mps-quit/ar-AAhDrNA?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=ASUDHP
    ;

    • UK Labour leader under pressure after MPs quit

      Blairite scum bags using this crisis as an excuse to remove Corbyn because he challenges the neocon elite status quo and won’t start wars.

Leave a Comment