On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom voted in a historic referendum on whether or not the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. The people voted to leave. After the referendum, a chain of events followed with David Cameron resigning as Prime Minister, and Theresa May as the new head of Parliament. However, the “Brexit” could become more complex. This may just be an exit only for England and Wales, or possibly the end of the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom is made of up of five kingdoms: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. Of those kingdoms, only England and Wales were the only kingdoms that voted to leave the EU.
In 2014, Scotland held their own referendum in deciding to leave the UK, but Scottish had always intended to stay in the EU. After the results of the Brexit, Scotland is considering to have another referendum to leave the UK, so they could continue to stay in the EU.
Over to the west, the bitter history between Northern Ireland and mainland Ireland may find itself a compromise due to the Brexit. Both Irelands are considering a referendum to unite, leave the UK, and stay in the EU.
Even though England voted to leave, the capitol of London voted to remain. Many of the people of London are feeling frustrated over the fact the UK’s largest city is being pressured into something they didn’t decide. Also, Parliament is located in London.
Though a long shot, there is a possibility that the UK could technically stay in the EU. Scotland and Ireland, if successful in there referendums unite and leave the current UK, they could actually make a new UK minus England and Wales, and with London continuing as the capitol. The two kingdoms are already united under the UK, but England would have to give up London. Under that option, England and Wales are going to have to decide to leave the UK. If not, then maybe, Scotland and Ireland could create their own union.
If that doesn’t work, what could likely happen is the ultimate end of the United Kingdom. Scotland and the Irelands could vote to leave the UK, and then apply for membership to the EU as independent states. The UK would then be England and Wales, but there is an X-factor to consider.
The referendum was generally a debate between unity and independence. The kingdoms voted to stay. They wanted to stay unified with the larger EU, and understood the aspect of unity. England and Wales were very concerned on independence and nationalism. That being said, England and Wales may just fully insist on leaving the UK. There could be a more fundamental concern between England and Wales where they simply no longer want to be unified with anything, and long for independence. Scotland, the Irelands, and London, by the aspect of unity, may be able to continue the UK.
Then again, the entire UK may just leave, and the nation would have to deal with their divided kingdoms on their own. Truth is, the UK has never been the most cooperative nation with the EU, and the EU Parliament is ready to move on without Great Britain.
Unions in Europe began after World War II. It was focused on free trade between the neighboring states. Also, the unions were made to make sure France and Germany would not go war with each other because each time they did, those wars were cataclysmic. The EU takes its philosophy from Immanuel Kant. The use of free trade has been used to promote peace. With the exception of some conflicts in the Eastern Bloc after the end of the Cold War, Democratic Europe has generally been peaceful, and that’s an achievement for a region where both of the World Wars took place.
At the root of the debate, the Brexit was heavily concerned with immigration. Trade and finances were part of the argument, but the overall debate was on open border policies between EU nations. Citizens in the EU have a European Union passport. With that, citizens in the member nations could travel between countries similar to how Americans do with their states. This bothered many people in UK, and it bothers around Europe. Many of the Far-Right political parties, aside other things, have a platform against that open immigration. After the Cold War, and with many of the Eastern Bloc nation joining the EU, many of them, particularly Polish people, emigrated to the UK and other “better” EU nation because they had the right to, and with English as the most known second language, moving to the UK seemed like the best idea. People in the UK did not like this, and nationalism and xenophobia were obvious motivations when voting to leave.
The referendum’s campaign was generally brutal. The referendum is dividing the Conservative and Labour Parties would had both and connecting and dividing views with the parties. The Conservatives did win the 2015 election with majority government, but with David Cameron’s resignation, the new cabinet is being formed around the Brexit’s result. The new Prime Minster, Theresa May, voted to remain, but she was vocal on following out by the people’s decision, and will work to leave the EU.
The referendum was still only just a study on the people’s opinion. It does not guarantee the Brexit. It has to be performed by Parliament. Strangely, the day after the referendum has been seen like a bad hangover. The pound-sterling, UK’s currency, has been plummeting, and travelling to the UK has become significantly more affordable for Americans in just a few weeks. Ironically, the Euro is much stronger than the pound-sterling.
The international community has generally shown disdain over the referendum’s results, and many business aren’t pleased either because investing and trade in the UK gave them access to the rest of Europe. This eventually will hurt the British economy more than anyone.
Though the United States has mainly been mum on the results, President Obama was hoping for them to remain, while the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump congratulated the results. At the same time, British Parliament considered the proposed ban to prevent Trump from entering the UK. Above all, the United States does plan to continue their “special relationship” with the UK.
All in all, the Brexit is going to be a detailed lesson for all of Europe. Many of the Far-Right wing political groups in Europe have celebrated the Brexit, and are hoping for similar referendum in their European nations. It’s very strange because Europe should be very aware of what Right Wing nationalists did to their countries. The Brexit, at the end of the day, has not been celebrated in unison as compared to America’s declaration of independence or the Eastern Bloc nations’ declaration of independence from the Soviet Union. The solid divide between kingdoms could result in an ultimate divide. Worst case scenario is a civil war. The final resolution will be revealed in the coming months.