The Brexit result was a surprise to everyone, even those who wanted it.
Now the fallout begins and the most surprising thing isn’t the fear and ignorance leading up the the vote, its the extent to which it persists past the vote. For the UK leaders behind the exit vote, there’s a surreal concept that they can exit from the EU in some special way. Exit through negotiation without invoking Article 50. Perhaps this attitude explains how they managed to win the vote – the view that the UK is somehow special and can order world affairs to their liking. This issue is that they aren’t alone at the negotiating table, the Europeans will have their own views.
And, on those views, some of them are just as disturbing and ignorant as those of the British. The out means out with no special treatment to ‘deter others’. The words ‘deserters’ being used showing how emotional it has gotten on the European side of the fence.
Both sides need to take stock and realize the Europeans have the upper hand in this. There’s a lot in their favour. Would the average voter in the UK have voted leave if they’d known Scotland would hold a second referendum or that Northern Ireland would have started using the same language? Personally the UK they were voting for ceased to exist decades ago. They were voting for some ideal that they will never see.
The advantage that the Europeans hold is the younger Brits. Those who don’t care about ‘The War’, those for whom ‘Empire’ is a foreign concept, and those who overwhelmingly voted to stay. When Europe negotiates, its those they should keep in mind because this could simply be a temporary set-back. Perhaps some navel gazing at how the EU operates is in order as it sounds like it may be pushing too far and too fast but in the end, I predict that as the younger generation matures and more of the youth today turns into voters, the UK will want back in. The European dream isn’t dead, it’s just having some growing pains.
The UK may have made the decision to leave but it is the Europeans who will decide how this all ends. Getting punitive will just slam the door and entrench this decision. I believe in a few short years there will likely be a majority in the UK who would want back in and will play more nicely with the EU too.
For those interested, here’s my prediction if the Europeans play for the long game…
The EU in 2016
The EU in 2018
The EU in 2020
The EU in 2022
All in all, a strange path to independence for Scotland and Northern Ireland.