The great irony is just as painful to acknowledge as the outcome of the Brexit vote. Britain, a country infamous for colonizing half of the world, have decided, in a 52% percept majority vote, to leave the 28-member European Union bloc– largely due its overwhelming despise of immigrants, who are mostly Eastern Europeans and Muslims. The EU united the continent after WWII only to have modern fate be decided by a Remain vs Leave referendum, which could fundamentally alter the entire socioeconomic condition of Europe all over again. The controversial decision has global ramifications with absolutely no safe guards, which obviously affects the neighboring European countries and the United States.
The average American, who certainly sees a harsh parallel with our political climate, must thoroughly read both sides of Brexit’s Remain vs Leave argument before formulating a sound conclusion. It’s complex. And there are several things to consider in this world-shocking fiasco, especially the overarching sentiments.
Outside of the heated, xenophobic immigration debate, there were legitimate concerns about the EU’s bureaucratic problems in Brussels, especially since EU overrides national laws. Not good. So on one hand, The U.K (with the exceptions of London, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) are celebrating their national sovereignty and a perceived ability to stem the flow of immigrants competing for jobs. But, on the other hand, they’re ignoring the economic cons, along with the demagoguery that certainly omits other issues within their national dialogue.
Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), and his conservative supporters in Britain, ran on an Donald Trump-like anti-immigrant campaign, a scapegoating-style propaganda which overly simplifies the complex economic and political relationship with neighboring countries and the global market. As expected, the global market is melting. Millennials are pissed. Baby boomers aren’t.
As John Cassidy noted for the New Yorker:
“The Guardian has published some telling charts detailing the demographic breakdown of the vote. For one thing, they show gaping class divisions. One of the best predictors of how people voted was their education level. Those with college degrees tended to opt for Remain, while people without them tended to opt for Leave. Age and income gradients were also clearly visible in the vote tabulations. The older and poorer you are, the more likely you were to vote Leave. The younger and richer you are, the more likely you were to vote Remain.”
The EU’s economic and political union–which unified the countries through policies ranging from trade, immigration, security, judicial agreements, health, environment and climate– will face consequences that is already extending far beyond conservative speculations. But the wave of anti-establishment and anti-elite has great merit because “what has certainly happened is that decades of globalization, deregulation, and policy changes that favored the wealthy have left Britain a more unequal place, with vast regional disparities.”
What the world can’t afford, however, is anti-intellectualism and ignore facts for emotional appeal. It will take a while to see where the current events will take us. Everyone. In the meantime, my fellow Americans, take the time to make a sound conclusion by taking a look at guide notes below:
Watch: Town hall debate between David Cameron (who resigned as Prime Minister) and Nigel Farage (leader of UK Independence Party)