Apparently a conservative form of populism is not just a U.S. phenomenon. Voters in the United Kingdom decided yesterday to leave the European Union (it won’t happen overnight; there is a transition period).
But at least one report I saw likened it to the backlash against elites in the U.S.
What effect this will have on the rest of the EU and the U.S. and the world I have no clue. But I thought it was curious when last night I was listening to radio and one commentator prior to the report of the results downplayed the significance of a possible “Brexit” (Britain exit), as it was called, here in the U.S. especially.
But once the vote was announced there were reports of slides in the various stock exchanges around the world and a dive of the value of the British pound sterling. As I understand it the financial markets don’t know quite what to make of it all.
The British Prime Minister announced he would resign because the nation needs new leadership as the result of the vote of the populace. Of course Great Britain has a parliamentary system, much different than our system in the U.S. But it is kind of refreshing to hear a politician say that the people are not buying his program and to see him step down voluntarily.
Anyway, I posted the following late yesterday afternoon before the votes were tallied:
By the time anyone reads this we will probably know the result of the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and I would imagine the only people here in America who care are some business people along with news junkies like me. And I have to admit I am not as up on Brexit as I should be but I know the general story.
What I do know is that so-called free trade deals are tricky in that they provide advantages for some and not for others but are overall usually good for the economies of the participating countries.
I think the main bugaboo is sovereignty of individual nations.
To me it seems that no matter what a deal is if it does not protect the independence of nations then it is no good. I am not for so-called one-world government.
And I think that is the problem with the European Union. As I understand it, and my understanding on this is hazy, part of the goal of the EU is to go beyond lifting trade restrictions between the various nations and actually having one government, one federal government for the whole EU so it could be like the “United States of Europe”.
But unlike the United States of America, Europe is divided into many nation states representing distinct nationalities and customs.
And from my own selfish point of view, do we really want to lose the culture and color of those nations? I don’t think so and I would not think many of the people in those nations would want to either.
I do understand (from reading an article on the BBC site) that younger people tend to be more for the EU because they think it is the only way to provide employment these days in this global economy.
In the U.S. we face our own problems with the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals. Sometimes businesses find themselves answerable not to the authorities or bureaucracy of the their own nation but of some international entity. There is a price to be paid for membership in this global market.
I work as a truck driver and as I am writing this I am waiting to pick up produce, probably from Mexico. So I know the value of trade (and I sometimes haul stuff going the other way too).
Free trade or less restricted trade is good. We don’t need international trade wars with barriers thrown up. That happened int he 1920s and we got the Great Depression.
On the other hand, let’s keep these international agreements on the subject of trade. We should not trade our sovereignty. It’s too valuable to lose.
I realize the EU has been in existence for a long time now and Britons are voting today on whether to stay in. I recall as a kid hearing about what was usually called the “common market”. When I was stationed in Germany in the army in the late 60s and early 70s they still had the mark as their currency but now use the euro like most of the EU. Britain has held on to its pound sterling.