Friday, June 24, 2016

Well, This Should Be Interesting

So we're "Brexiting." Does anyone know what that will really mean? I sure don't, although I don't think it will affect Dave and me in any immediate sense. The school where we work pre-exists the European Union and the Common Market, so there has long been a need for international education in London, and I don't suppose that will go away. Fingers crossed!

I woke this morning with the sense that Britain was probably going to Remain. The news reports last night indicated the country was leaning in that direction. But then I looked at the news, and while I wasn't shocked, exactly, I was sorry to see that right-wing xenophobia won the day.

Or, as The New York Times eloquently put it, "the power of anti-elite, populist and nationalist sentiment at a time of economic and cultural dislocation."

As I told Dave, I hope this doesn't foreshadow how Americans will vote in November. Brexit is the British version of Donald Trump. The forces and impulses behind the two movements are the same.

So, now is the time for questions. Foremost in my mind is how Scotland is going to handle this news. While England was virtually all pink or red (Leave) on the map of voting returns -- with the exception of some urban centers and counties near London -- Scotland was entirely blue (Remain). This sets up an issue that could drive a renewed movement for Scottish independence. Northern Ireland may also seek to leave the UK rather than build a fortified border with Ireland, and that will be interesting.

Meanwhile, France probably won't be all that interested in continuing to accommodate UK-bound migrants in Calais, and I wonder if more people will desperately try to boat themselves across the English channel -- with potentially disastrous consequences.

What a freaking mess.

In other news, I've just been talking to the upstairs neighbor about our trash cans. We're having our own private political rebellion -- today we're going to move Mrs. Kravitz's cans into her alleyway and liberate our alleyway for our own trash. If you think Northern Ireland is a sticky wicket, watch how this plays out!

(Photo: West Hampstead, this week.)


Karen said...

I was shocked this morning. It's not such a clear result, it's a divided nation, or? What will happen to Scotland, Northern Ireland, the EU? The politicians of all European nations need to think about their politics. So many questions, I feel uneasy.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

The way "The New York Times" put it was spot on in my humble opinion. As for The American School and its staff, it's curtains I'm afraid. When you and Dave are deported, I will be happy to take Olga off your hands...but I shall rename her Brexit. Any vet bills will of course be forwarded to Florida for your attention.

37paddington said...

I was shocked too! Was this really mostly about the influx of refugees? I'm so disheartened if it was. I didn't pay close enough attention to understand all the intricacies of this. I'm just now getting up to speed. Your post raises some interesting questions. Meanwhile world markets are in free fall.

Rafe's Hotel said...

Xenophobia is never the answer to anything. This morning read someone who wrote that anytime Le Pen, Farage and Trump are FOR an idea, it cannot be a good one. I agree.

Crossing my fingers for the UK. Would not be surprised to see Scotland leave the UK and remain in the EU, although I understand that it could remain in the EU even without independence. Speaking of the finer points one does not understand, think a little study is due soon ... Mary

Lynne said...

I was shocked to hear the news just now.

Here's hoping that Mr. Trump is not our next president.

No other words, except that I thought Yorkshire Pudding's comment was quite funny.

Sharon said...

I just woke up to the news and I have to say I was a bit surprised. I did not expect the vote would go this way. I share your worry that this vote might be repeated here. That really is a very scary thought.

Cheryl West said...

When I turned off BBC world news last night REMAIN was leading so I had hopes that would be the ultimate outcome. Therefore I was very unhappy to hear the final vote was to leave. I do not understand all the ramifications of this decision but the resulting turmoil and economic instability is very worrying to say the least. At least we have a few months before our U.S. election and truly hope Trump is NOT the winner.
Good luck on trash can wars. Hope you do win that one.

jenny_o said...

I need more study on this, too. It's a difficult situation where the vote was split so nearly evenly. Hard to move forward when half the population feels unheard.

Good luck with the neighbour :)

Red said...

I think that many who voted to leave will have second thoughts once reality checks in. some of the things they thought could be done won't happen as in the immigration situation. the brown guys are not going to go away.

e said...

I think people express dissatisfaction with government or quality of life or policies of all sorts in whatever way they can, and this is just one large scale example of that. I think there are multiple issues here, not solely immigration. As for what is happening here, people want change and because they are trapped in a two-party system and an electoral process badly in need of reform and in which neither major party has any interest in altering because the current system suits them, voters are angry, so many of them relate to Trump. Others like myself like neither major candidate but have no real hope of a third party candidate getting elected.

Elizabeth said...

You'd think the world was going to up and explode any moment with all the brouhaha over this today. I did appreciate Paul Krugman's very reasoned op-ed about it -- doom and gloom but no hysteria. And my favorite part of the day was reading the Scottish tweets about Donald Trump's stupid tweet. Have you seen them?

Steve Reed said...

Karen: It definitely sends a signal to European politicians about the structure and effectiveness of the EU. Unfortunately, it seems the right-wingers are the ones who are going to draw strength from this.

YP: The Times isn't "America's Newspaper" for nothing! I kind of like the name Brexit for Olga. Maybe we'll make it her middle name.

37P: People will say it's because the EU was undemocratic (an argument I still don't understand) or represented the interests of big corporations over small businesses (which is partly true). But at the end of the day, much of the "Leave" advertising focused on immigration and controlling borders, and many voters cited that as their reason for leaving.

Rafe: I'm sure the Scotland thing will come up again. And frankly, I've changed my position 180 degrees. I was happy they stayed in the union before, but this time, I'd applaud them for going independent and following their own course. England did not represent their interests at all.

Lynne: I'm just reading a Times article about what this means for Trump, but I haven't finished it yet!

Sharon: I do think this vote is part of a generally rising tide of nationalism in many countries, and that is not a good recipe for future peace and well-being.

Cheryl: None of us understand all the ramifications. Only time will tell!

Jenny-O: Exactly. This exposed some deep divisions in British society, particularly between generations.

Red: The "brown guys"?! I don't think that's very PC, Red. :) Seriously, you're right about second thoughts. I've seen comments from people already saying they wished they'd voted the other way. I think some people saw it as a protest vote against Cameron, and chose "Leave" never thinking it could actually prevail. And when it did, they were just as shocked as the rest of us.

E: There ARE multiple issues, no question. But immigration was the one that ignited electoral passions, and it has that same power in the USA.

Elizabeth: Haven't seen Krugman's piece, but yes, I did see The Donald's tweet and its fallout. He's an idiot.