Brexit was never sustainable. Why? Because it was an act of political expediency by former United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron to appease the right wing of Britain’s Conservative Party, who are anti-European-integration. The Brexit referendum of 2016 backfired, leaving the UK mired in crisis.
There is a reason most referendums are decided by a two-thirds majority. Referendums are held when there is a matter of huge constitutional and national import that cannot be settled by normal state processes. Consequently, in a representative democracy most political matters are settled by parliamentarians, the representatives of the people in government.
When a matter deeply impacts the national interest, sometimes politicians will take it directly to the people in a referendum.
For example, if the Virgin Islands began to agitate for independence — which is unlikely at the moment — a simple majority vote in the House of Assembly would be untenable to obtain independence. More likely, a referendum on whether or not to go independent would be held. And the referendum would have to show two-thirds support for independence to allow for full independence.
Some sage decided a long time ago that the two-thirds majority was the way to go. And that has how it has been ever since. Why Brexit was decided on a simple majority of 50 percent one will never know.
And the justification for keeping referendum majorities at two thirds can be clearly understood looking at the massive confusion that Brexit has become since 52 percent voted to leave Europe.
In April Brexit was delayed until Oct. 31 in order that the UK does not crash out of Europe without a deal. The UK was supposed to leave Europe on March 29. There is no math in the UK Parliament that makes a no-deal Brexit possible.
Most experts believe that crashing out is not an option. Why? Because it will be a huge disaster for Britain. It would send the country over the proverbial abyss, literally. At the very least there will be a major recession.
The price of a no-deal Brexit will see $3 trillion wiped off of UK economic growth in the next three years, according to economists. This will most likely lead to an economic depression. At the very least, more than a million people will lose their jobs. The social impact of Brexit may be equally ominous.
There is a simple reason Brexit will not work: math. Two thirds of UK parliamentarians are against leaving the customs union and would love to cancel Brexit altogether through the revocation of Article 50.
The UK parliament is made up of members who predominantly want to remain in Europe. Then there are polling results that point to a shift in public opinion towards remaining in Europe since 2016.
Brexit is a demographic matter. Older Britons, especially English people, are Brexiters. However, the under 50s are overwhelmingly European. As the old die out, the demographic shift will clearly favour remaining in Europe.
Brexit is much less popular in Scotland and Northern Ireland, two countries in the UK. In fact there is an ominous threat that Brexit may break up the UK.
On April 12, UK Chancellor Phillip Hammond stated that a second referendum was likely. Even UK Prime Minister Theresa May has hinted that she may not be against a second referendum.
The UK OTs
Returning to the British overseas territories, there is much to learn from Brexit. First, these overseas geographies of the UK are much more stable than the mainland as a result of the Brexit melodrama. One wonders what OTs’ decisions would have been had they been given the privilege to vote on Brexit as they should have been given.
Brexit affects these OTs in ways not understood as yet. How shall the OTs relate to Europe when and if the UK leaves Europe? If the UK breaks up, how would that impact the UK’s relations with the OTs? Will Brexit impact tourism from Europe? How will Brexit impact travel to Europe from UK OTs? How does Brexit impact the financial and offshore services industry?
The preceding questions cannot be answered until a solution is achieved. The way the Brexit matter is being managed, the UK and Europe are not there yet, and may never get there.
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