This is still ongoing. Some may think this a bad thing. I do not. As a nation we had become much too complacent (Particularly true of our Parliament.). As soon as I have any point of view that is not subject to change with new circumstances I will try to properly update you.
I thought some of my American, Canadian or any other non British friends might appreciate a little explanation as to why the UK seems to have gone mad recently.
Last Thursday was an historic day in the UK. We have been, for over 40 years. a member of the European Union. When we joined in 1972 it was a trading bloc called the E.E.C. and fairly harmless. Later it became the E.U. and the push began to take on their currency, the Euro, Political Union and so on. I would invite you to look up the history for yourselves. I am very biased against the EU and this is just background. Britain has not had a comfortable relationship with the E.U. We refused the Euro and took various steps to resist deep political integration. However our finances, courts and laws all began to be inextricably linked to EU diktats. The European court could override any U.K. court. They could make laws in which we had no say and we were obliged to accept, even though many were detrimental to us. There was an E.U. parliament and we had a right to vote in elections for it but most decisions originally came from an unelected body , The E.U. commission,and the parliament voted on them. Many, myself included, felt that we were effectively selling our sovereignty while the benefits were negligible.
Imagine if you will a situation where the U.S.A had to ratify any law passed the American union based in, say, Quebec or Mexico city.
Then there was immigration, in the E.U. constitution was the concept of free movement within member countries. Thus anyone from any country could enter the U.K., work there and claim benefits there. Many sent the money to their families who remained abroad. There was inevitable pressure on public services, not least because they could use free healthcare they had never paid into. Admittedly many did come to work and pay their way but many also ended up on benefits, another bone of contention.
David Cameron, our prime minister was facing a rebellion of M.P.’s about these issues so, to appease them, he announced a referendum on membership in February to be held in June.
It was a free vote which divided all the major parties. The campaigning was full of exaggerations on both sides, acrimonious and even had politicians claiming dire results if the vote went the wrong way. Scaremongering was rife. It was predicted that we would go into a financial meltdown if we left.
So the vote was last Thursday and resulted in a close contest, but the mandate was given to Leave the E.U. by 51% to 48% out of a 72% turnout. We now have to initiate article 50 of the E.U. constitution in order to begin ‘divorce’ proceedings.
All very simple, right. Well no. Despite a British electorate voting clearly to leave there are many issues and the country is still divided.
Firstly David Cameron promptly resigned, his party (Conservative) is divided along the lines Pro/Anti E.U. and now needs a new leader. Whoever gets the poison chalice must begin divorce from the E.U. as his/her first task. an unenviable position.
Next, the Labour party (The opposition) blamed it’s leader for his lack lustre campaign. He had been deeply against the E.U. all his life but changed his mind. He failed to convince his supporters to remain in the Union. He was only recently elected to the post and is a Bernie Sanders type politician, liberal socialist but not really able to garner power in an essentially centre/right country. He is trying to hold on but calls for his resignation are growing stronger.
So we have a leaderless (Effectively) government and an opposition in disarray. More importantly no one wants to initiate article 50 which leads to the next issue.
All the time that we are in a state of Limbo the remain campaigners are becoming enamoured of the idea that this referendum should be treated as a rehearsal and should be run again, presumably so the other team can win. Be great if you could do that for your favourite team. right. There is even a petition with 3 million signatures (The result of the referendum was 17.4 Million to leave against 16.1 million to stay to put this in perspective.) calling for the rules of the referendum to be retroactively changed allowing another to be called. It was subject to fraudulent electronic signatures but is still being taken seriously by some.
One MP called for Parliament to override the electorate and ignore the result. In a democracy that seems like political suicide to me.
But we are a democracy, the rules were known and those who are trying to overturn it are probably those who didn’t vote assuming remain would win. Basically the people spoke and their voice should be obeyed, and quickly.
Scotland are also an issue. They are a partially devolved country within the U.K. and voted overwhelmingly for remaining in the EU. It made no difference to the overall vote but Scotland has had a referendum to leave the United Kingdom before. It was defeated. The Scottish first minister is now using this vote as a mandate for a new referendum to leave the U.K. It would be hypocritical to want to keep Scotland in the UK if they truly want to choose the EU over us but it is not clear how such a choice would go. More uncertainty.
We could begin to sort out this mess if someone actually did what the electorate have clearly told them to do and set things in motion. Then the remain camp could give up on their unrealistic and undemocratic ides of ignoring the wishes of a majority in favour of the minority and Scotland could begin to take the road they wished follow. Clearly this is not good for business here and need to be sorted out.
Meanwhile if the voice of over 17 million British people IS ignored, the consequences could be much worse than a bit of uncertainty.
So now you know. it’s been a roller coaster ride here, it may seem that we have gone mad but wouldn’t you fight for your rights with equal vigour if it seemed that your decision was being ignored or democratic decisions by the electorate could be changed because some don’t like the result.
I have tried to keep this simple as it is difficult enough for us to get our heads around it. The Scottish situation with it’s multiple referenda is particularly complicated so I hope I have explained the situation adequately.