A german rant on brexit
An Estonia like feat has been accomplished by the leadership of the Brexit campaigns on both sides. The UK voted against solidarity and for nationalism and seclusion further undermining the trust in governmental institutions worldwide. If you read your history well you will know that the more secluded, splintered and extreme viewpoints become, the less likely there will be peace and prosperity and the more likely there will be war and suffering under an extremist leader who gathers armed support to “Get things done”.
The build up
I personally do not read the news a lot and my fiancée is a great filter as she constantly is on top of Facebook, the news and the Sunday times and shares her insight at the dinner table when I am home from work. If she brings it up, it is usually important and that saves me buying newspapers and sifting through them. What I do read books and biographies of politicians like the Iron Lady, Helmut Kohl, Ronald Reagan and the odd economics book on how financial crises develop and impact people. As Brexit was mentioned quite a few times over “lean in 15” dinners I looked into it a bit more.
When Boris Johnson (who wrote a book titled the Churchill factor, quite telling for things to come if you ask me) and his cronies from UKIP started out the campaign to demolish David Cameron as the head of the conservatives in the UK it seemed quite clear that our charismatic David did not have the united base anymore to be prime minister. As a good leader, Mr. Cameron seemed to care more about staying in power than the actual well-being of his country and those who elected him and found a good sacrificial lamb to prove that the people are still with him, the EU membership of the United Kingdom. If he had stepped down right there and then admitting that he failed to build the trust he needed to lead, we would not have to drink this poisoned chalice now. Instead sparing us Cameron moved on in the tradition of George Bush, Stalin, Mao and many other noble statesmen it was time again to start a war or point the finger to external factors for subpar performance on his own home turf.
So the decision was made to pull off a classic distraction ploy “Look EU referendum” to cover up that the path of privatization started by Thatcherism and Reaganomics might not have been to the UK's benefit. Smart move it seemed at first. The current administration has not to talk too much about the work that had been / had not been done for the interior and still can point out that without the EU framework there would be even less that can be done. What was not been accounted for was that racism, fear of losing jobs, terrorism and we “take matters into our own hands” are very good poster slogans in an economic downturn.
So Nigel and Boris went into their bus promising to bump up the national health care service. Who would not vote for that? More money for my local hospital that the evil EU is currently stealing from us to pay Nigel. That is like promising candy in a kindergarten without saying who will actually buy the treats. Works great until the kids realize there will be no candy. While we are at it let us get rid of these evil migrants who steal our money, jobs and women as well. Now if that is not a good old propaganda approach back from good old Germany out of the bad days I do not know what is… and the Nazis did not even invent it (the merchant of Venice and the bible are good reads to proof that misfortune has been blamed on minorities long before the Nazis came along) . Nigel even got an armada of boats coming up the Thames to be met by Bob Geldof on a yacht. The only thing missing was guns to have a nice modern battle of the Thames for independence on our hands. Let’s rebuild Nelson’s pillar in Dublin while we are at it and get the British armada to fight the Spanish navy, just to make sure that the former empire will get kicked out of NATO as well. George Washington would have been proud shouting “No Taxation without representation” to be then kindly reminded that the UK is actually represented in the EU parliament and did everything they possibly could to alienate the franco-german axis, like starting a war in Iraq without their consent. As a result, the continentals could and would easily outvote the British on any matter in Brussels. If you do not like that you are not anti-EU, you are anti-democracy. Ironically enough the bromance between the US and the UK during efforts and war did not last for Brexit with Obama warning “If you step out of the club you have to get back in line and wait while we hang out in the VIP area with the other EU buddies.”
On the back of that campaign, racial tensions flared in the UK culminating in the assassination of a woman who stood up for the rights of women and Muslims (now that is how you make yourself LESS of a target for terrorist attacks, well done). In addition, the assumption was made that the EU “still want to sell us stuff, even if we do not play game” and everybody looked forward to the vote, not really believing that Boris could actually pull it off.
The voting day came and the people spoke! The young did not bother to show up and rather stayed on their IPhone and complained on Facebook about the outcome. The older generation went to the ballot and the people who depend the most on solidarity voted against EU-wide solidarity and prefer a Midsummer murder version of it. Solidarity seems to end there where someone is of a different nationality or religion, at least in nowadays Britain. You will reap what you sow.
All in all, I personally would say this outcome is surprising to me. The strongest part of the British economy, the financial sector, highly depends on being connected to the international markets and is based on low barriers for trade. Struggling sectors in Britain like British Leyland benefit from foreign investment out of other EU member states to pay their staff. The subsidies for the agrarian sector which mainly benefit France and Germany in a way that crops grown locally can compete with low-cost country imports creates a bubble which hurts industries in the UK which import raw materials from outside the EU as they are being heavily taxed. On the whole, though, is that really bad legislation to avoid that a product cannot be sold or bought within the EU that easily which low price point is achieved by exploiting workers in low-cost countries?
If decisions were motivated mainly by nationalism, “me for myself” and less trading steered from a central democratic body, we will ultimately go back to the time of a highly split Europe of the middle ages where each fiefdom fights tooth and nails for their own benefit. I personally just do not see how this would create more peace and prosperity than we had in Europe since the end of the Second World War forming the alliances who gave relative stability to the region.
The disintegration of the EU zone shows and first conflicts are creeping back in again as Russia seizes the opportunity to widen its sphere of influence in the Balkan states and Eastern Europe. A divided Europe will just fasten up that process of destabilization and disintegration. These are both nouns you do not really want to see in any financial, medical or political report as they are breeding grounds for sickness, poverty, and armed conflict.
Most embarrassing now is that the ones who were campaigning the most for Brexit and at the forefront of these debates now step aside to make way for others to figure out the mess. Promises are not being kept and the goals of the main players to stay as Prime Minister (Cameron) or become Prime Minister (Johnson) did not materialize. Where was the point of all of this shouting and pushing in the first place? It is like dad feeding the kids sugar before bed time and afterward refusing to bring them to bed and sing a lullaby because the little ones are too hyper. Of course, mom (in this case the EU) gets mad and says that she won’t lift a finger for anything before the kids are being brought to bed. Dad’s reaction to that is to go for a pint and bow out and tell mom to find a new daddy. So much for having the best in mind for the ones who put their trust in you.
The point that is missed
The EU was established with one big idea in mind. There shall be no more big continental war in Europe. Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl believed that making Germany a part of the bigger European framework was crucial as a united Germany that would be set free from any obligations to the other nations of the “old world” would be perceived as a threat and tensions would rise. The signs in Europe are there that a bigger war might happen within the next three decades. The rift between the rich and the poor is widening, left and right wing extremists are gaining seats in parliaments all over Europe, there is a crisis of leadership and distrust in institutions and the elite makes education less and less affordable and accessible which in return makes blunt and menacing campaigning of the sort of Brexit possible. The less informed you are the easier it will be to manipulate and frighten you with platitudes.
Domino effects usually do not materialize based on what I have read. History seems to be more of a powder keg that grows bigger in size over time with more and more fires surrounding it until one day it goes BANG triggered by a certain event. Like the Rodney King riots, Tianman Square, Boston Tea party, and others. I think the powder keg is already big enough with ISIS, the Syrian refugee crises and another financial crisis looming (the next house bubble is approaching). Brexit is one major fire that the brits have lit themselves right beside that keg. Don’t moan if it blows up in your face while the strawman Tony Blair is playing with fire by denying the lies that have been told to justify the Iraq war insulting the entire Arabian world.