Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Brexit Vote End of the Beginning ; Leaving the EU Gives Britain Some Options, Others May Follow

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Brexit Vote End of the Beginning ; Leaving the EU Gives Britain Some Options, Others May Follow

Article excerpt

In the end, it wasnt close. People had been expecting a clear win for the Remain side in the popular vote on whether Britain should continue its membership of the European Union. Yet, over a million more Britons voted to Leave than to Remain. That clear victory, however, is just the beginning of a realignment of Britains and the worlds political landscape.

The initial shock waves are now being felt in British politics. Prime Minister David Cameron announced he will step down. The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, is facing a motion of no confidence as it appears the partys core voters have rejected its multicultural policies.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose country voted strongly for the Remain side, has already reopened the question of another referendum on the countrys membership in the United Kingdom. Democracy has consequences.

Britains political disruptions will not affect the timetable for British withdrawal, the terms of which will take at least two years to be hashed out. Yet, it is what happens in Europe that is the more interesting question.

Euroskepticism is on the rise all over Europe. There have already been calls in the Netherlands, Italy and even France for similar referendums. The unelected technocrats in Brussels will be worried, if not shaking in their boots, over the possibility of a wave of popular rejection of their rule by regulation.

So it is entirely possible that Brussels will try to be as punitive as possible in the British exit negotiations, in an effort to dissuade other nations from following suit.

If that is the case, global trade will suffer. German captains of industry have already warned they do not want to lose access to Britains market of 60 million people. Britain is highly unlikely to erect trade barriers with Europe from its side, so the ball is in Europes court, as its leaders decide whether they really want to risk economic catastrophe to maintain a political project.

As for Britain, its got options. The countries of the Commonwealth of Nations stand ready to benefit. Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders all can look forward to easier travel and work in the U. …

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