Monday, June 27, 2016

Apparently Everyone is Supposed to Have Strong Opinions on the "Brexit"


But I don't.

In large part, I defer to my friend Sean Gabb of the UK's Libertarian Alliance since he's there and knows quite a bit about the British situation and since I'm not and don't. He did vote for it, but he also expresses more skepticism than I would have expected toward the notion that it's all that and a bag of chi ... er, crisps. Here's his latest on the subject.

The thoughts I do have are tentative and as follows:

  • A lot of people seem to think that the United Kingdom has exited the European Union. It hasn't. The EU is a treaty organization from which the UK can withdraw on the basis of a prescribed negotiation process. The referendum last Thursday was the UK's voters instructing the UK's government to begin that process. If the government accepts those instructions, it will still probably be years before the actual exit occurs. And I expect that there will be herculean, and quite likely successful, efforts on both sides of the English Channel to get a new referendum and to frighten the electorate into reversing itself.
  • That said, the result certainly does seem to have given the political class big scare, and not just in the UK or the EU. That's always a good thing.
  • Some people attribute the outcome of the "Brexit" referendum to discontent with matters of borders and immigration. That discontent is certainly real and certainly affected votes ... but blaming those things on EU membership seems misplaced. The UK opted out of the Schengen agreement, and thus maintained substantial control over its own border and immigration policy. Those decisions were made in London, not Brussels, so leaving the EU does nothing to unmake them. Think of it as sort of like those Americans who voted against Obama because they believed he was a Muslim and/or born in Kenya. Neither of those things appear to be true, but that doesn't mean the belief didn't influence some votes.
  • Just guessing here, but I'm guessing that if the UK does exit the EU, other countries will follow; and
  • Just guessing again, but I'm guessing that in the event the UK and other countries do exit the EU, we can look forward to a general European war a la World Wars 1 and 2 within 20 years or so.
And that's about it. Sorry I don't have more for you.

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