Brexit

Written By: - Date published: 1:51 pm, June 15th, 2016 - 54 comments
Categories: Europe, International, uk politics - Tags: , ,

The Brexit (British Exit from the EU) process is fascinating. Background information from the BBC is here, and The Economist here. The vote is a week away (23 June). Several recent polls are giving the Leave campaign a big lead – see today’s Guardian: EU referendum live: TNS poll gives leave campaign seven-point lead.

Britain is significantly divided on the Brexit (see graph below). Immigration is a major issue. The economic consequences of are unpredictable, but likely to be significant. Socially it would likely tear Britain apart.

As Brexit looks more and more likely, the ripples are spreading round the world:

Markets panic as Brexit vote looms

Golbal stock markets have plunged amid fears the UK could vote to leave the European Union in a crucial referendum after polls showed the “Brexit” camp surging ahead.

On Tuesday a poll by YouGov and UK Newspaper The Times showed the leave camp held 46 per cent of the vote compared to 39 per cent of the UK who wanted to remain in the EU.

It’s a three point swing from the previous week and is the strongest indicator yet the country will vote to split ways with the 27 other members of the bloc on June 23. Eleven per cent of voters remain undecided.

The market uncertainty follows European Council president Donald Tusk’s warning that a vote to leave could trigger the end of “Western political civilisation” by undermining the basis of European integration.

“As a historian I fear Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also Western political civilisation in its entirety,” he told the German newspaper Bild. “Every family knows that a divorce is traumatic for everyone … Everyone in the EU, but especially the Brits themselves, would lose out economically.”

Mr Tusk’s comments are one of the latest warnings in an increasingly hysterical campaign that has seen voters bombarded from both sides. …

OK, the destruction Western political civilisation in its entirety might be over-egging it a bit, but I can’t see Brexit working out well for England or Britain (anyone for border controls between England and Scotland or Wales?). The Leave campaign seems to be driven by archaic nationalism and xenophobia – though as a Guardian reader I guess I would say that. (On a further personal note, I’m due to spend a few months in England later this year – I wonder what shape it will be in!)

brexit-graph

brexit-sun

54 comments on “Brexit”

  1. Ad 1

    No good will come of this for New Zealand.

    – Euro and Pound will be perpetually less stable, because both will be weaker
    – Stock markets will rock the world over as analysts determine how much weaker Britain will be.
    – NZDollar will be incredibly unstable for many months, as analysts figure out whether common dairy markets between EU and Britain will split and hence affect all global dairy trading
    – No more NZ residential access into Britain, as the xenophobia really hits
    – Either Cameron resigns in his own time, or Boris gets the numbers and rolls him; we lose a major ally.
    – Most importantly, the idea of an expansionist EU that pushes human rights, democratization, the Euro, regional subsidies from Crete to the Outer Hebrides, and the right to work wherever you want, is dead.
    With the decline of the EU – which has been on life support since 2008 – the last post-war multilateral civil institution that still had some expansionist energy goes out with it.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      NZDollar will be incredibly unstable for many months

      The NZ$ hasn’t exactly been stable at any time since it was floated.

      No more NZ residential access into Britain, as the xenophobia really hits

      Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

      Really, why would you even think that we have a default right to that?

      Most importantly, the idea of an expansionist EU…

      Yeah, can’t really say that I’ve ever been fond of empire. Even beneficent ones always end up as a pit of corruption.

      and the right to work wherever you want

      Whatever gave you the idea that you have that right?

      • Ad 1.1.1

        The New Zealand dollar will become more unstable, which makes it pretty hard for a narrow-base exporting country to actually generate a stable wealth base, let alone a tax base. So it’s a major problem that will get worse.

        Clearly you have no desire to work in Britain, nor any dependants who would ever wish to. Whereas thousands and thousands of New Zealanders have been doing precisely that for most of New Zealand’s existence, and have planned to. Many of us and our relatives have relied on patrilineage to either get into Britain or Ireland, because it’s where the decent jobs area. So it’s a problem that will get worse.

        If you can’t tell the difference between the European Union and an Empire, then you have no idea of what the EU stood for in the first place. Do a bit of homework and look up the definition and origin of the EU on Wikipedia before more you generate more dumb comments.

        The right to work wherever you want describes the existing situation that EU members have, which was quite clear from the sentence.

        If you can’t see the risks in BREXIT, you are ignorant. Pop over to The Guardian UK site and do yourself the good of an education on the subject.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          The New Zealand dollar will become more unstable, which makes it pretty hard for a narrow-base exporting country to actually generate a stable wealth base, let alone a tax base.

          I can’t see Brexit doing anything to the stability of our dollar. If we want to do anything about the stability of our dollar and prevent it from being over-valued on the forex then we need to base its value upon our actual trade rather than what people are willing to pay for it to get the high interest rates.

          Whereas thousands and thousands of New Zealanders have been doing precisely that for most of New Zealand’s existence…

          But it’s not a right that we have or should have. If we want decent jobs and a better economy then perhaps we should develop our own.

          If you can’t tell the difference between the European Union and an Empire…

          There is none. The EU is an expansionist unaccountable dictatorship just like any empire throughout history. They have some good policies but the EU financial attack on Greece shows that it’s not what one would call benevolent or beneficial.

          The right to work wherever you want describes the existing situation that EU members have, which was quite clear from the sentence.

          Actually, it wasn’t. It sounded like you thought that you should have the right to work wherever you wanted and that this dream of yours was now dead because the EU would no longer be able to force it upon other countries.

          And, again, it’s not a right you should have. NZ is reeling under the weight of excessive immigration ATM and we have immigration controls. If we had open borders, as you want, then we’d be fucked within a year, two at most.

          • Ad 1.1.1.1.1

            The market instability is already happening. We don’t have to wait and see.

            ‘…perhaps we should develop our own’. We haven’t. So the risk is real and matters right now.

            Third point is crap. It’s an elected democracy. Start withe Macx Weber and work upwards.

            The meaning of the sentence is now even clearer for you.

            ‘NZ reeling under the weight of excessive immigration.’ Sheer xenophobia. And unsupported fear. Luckily your view is dying every year more of the old white grey cohort dies.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1.1

              The market instability is already happening.

              To our dollar? Doubt if you could tell the difference in amongst the normal noise of our unstable currency.

              We haven’t.

              And doing so would alleviate all your rather pathetic fears.

              Sheer xenophobia. And unsupported fear.

              No, it really isn’t – this is what’s actually happening right now. We’ve got Treasury saying it, we’ve got a housing bubble that’s at least partially due to it, our infrastructure is stretched, and declining wages because of it as local employers import cheap fucking labour.

              Don’t you watch the bloody news? Or is it that your blind faith in your ideology that’s blinding you to what’s really happening? Need to deny the facts because reality isn’t what you want it to be.

              The meaning of the sentence is now even clearer for you.

              And you’re still wrong. Nations cannot allow uncontrolled immigration. They don’t have the infrastructure to support it or the ability to build that infrastructure fast enough.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1.2

              Third point is crap. It’s an elected democracy.

              The bureaucrats running the place on massively high salaries are unelected and unaccountable. The elected governments have essentially no say.

              • Kevin

                Totally agree.

                Other than being on a lovely little gravy train, what do MEP’s do other than talk to lobbyists or vote on legislation that they have no hand in proposing, no hand in drafting and no hand in amending. Just a yes or no vote.

                Doesn’t sound like any democracy I have ever heard of.

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      the last post-war multilateral civil institution that still had some expansionist energy goes out with it.

      Love the way they have been expanding into central and eastern Europe as a way to screw their own workers as well as act as a carrot to pull countries away from being friendly with Russia

    • Anno1701 1.3

      “No more NZ residential access into Britain, as the xenophobia really hits”

      i anticipate quite the opposite !

      • Ad 1.3.1

        That’s not been the pattern so far over the last decade, despite our PM begging everyone from the Queen down on the subject every time he goes there. Our access has been declining fast.

        • Anno1701 1.3.1.1

          “Our access has been declining fast.”

          mostly to compensate for the influx of euro-zone migrants, they cant be stopped currently but we can

          if that is closed off the UK will need to open up other migrant flows , they are going to need them !

    • Rodel 1.4

      Ad
      ” Either Cameron resigns in his own time, or Boris gets the numbers and rolls him; we lose a major ally.”
      Cameron an ally?.. Cameron’s only ally is his Etonian self & mates. He probably doesn’t even know we exist except as some colonial outpost of his privileged aristocracy.
      I think Winston’s advice for Brits to vote Brexit may be to our advantage.

      • Ad 1.4.1

        Ally to the current National government. Which few enough international allies as it is.
        Winston should mind his own business.

    • Clare 1.5

      bring it on

    • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 1.6

      Just wondering – could this be the trigger that initiates a world-wide collapse? The whole neoliberal economic system is so f. . . . up that all it will need is one event for the house of cards to collapse.
      If this is so, then the shit will hit the fan big time!!

    • “No more NZ residential access into Britain, as the xenophobia really hits”

      I’ve listened to a lot of Brexit campaigners (and Remainers) speak, and it’s quite clear that Brexiteers are all about renewing Britain’s ties with the Commonwealth. However, there may be a source which has led you to believe this?

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    The EU was always designed to undermine the sovereignty of nation states.

    The UK got it right to stay the hell out of the Euro and I daresay if they vote to leave the undemocratic bureaucracy that is the EU, they will get it right again.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    “As a historian I fear Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also Western political civilisation in its entirety,”

    Yeah, capitalism does that.

    Everyone in the EU, but especially the Brits themselves, would lose out economically

    This is either a basic misunderstanding of economics or scaremongering. I figure it’s the latter. Just because the UK leaves the EU doesn’t mean that trade will stop but it does mean that the people already within the UK would be better able to use the resources that they have available to them.

  4. Anno1701 4

    Personally ill be gutted

    I loved living in Europe and was planning to move back

  5. save nz 5

    This is what happens when governments stop valuing their own people. It started with Neoliberalism, Thatcher, Blair – the Iraq war that Tony Blair promised a year prior to Bush, and making a fake case of WMD which caused a weapons inspector expert citizen to commit suicide, when he disagreed.

    Whether is is the EU, or just stupidity by the UK government – many governments have got too greedy, stopped responding to the people and the people are responding to, their lives not improving.

    Complexity and size is not more efficient, it is just more dominating. While I think the EU is a fantastic concept and should be working really well – clearly it is not working for the people of Britain if they vote EXIT.

    • Ad 5.1

      The majority want to leave, but that’s because those xenophobic morons from the midlands have been duped. The Guradian UK has some good breakdowns on support in the UK by sector.

      • save nz 5.1.1

        Thats democracy AD. The government and EU should have kept the people in the midlands happier.

        And that is what the opposition in this country need to look at, what keeps most people happy and what is fair, not some sort of ideology of austerity for the masses or from National bribes and lies.

        While I personally support the EU, look what they did to Greece! Look at the Syrian refugee crisis caused by ISIS and Western warfare!

        Decades ago, governments seemed to have some sort of care of their citizens, now politics is some sort of global CV and networking opportunity for politicians.

        In 5 eyes countries, people have noticed that politicians don’t care and the people no longer trust politicians. And judging by the mass spying, the government don’t trust the people either.

        They have created a culture of distrust and it is back firing on them.

        • Ad 5.1.1.1

          A general protest vote about their distrust of government as a concept is a really dumb motivation. Even Scotland got right the idea of Head over Heart.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1

            That’s just the first half of the game in Scotland.

            • Bill 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Assuming the Scottish population votes to remain (and it looks that way), Brexit would be a “material change in circumstances” that could well lead to demands for a second independence referendum.

      • Bill 5.1.2

        …but that’s because those xenophobic morons from the midlands have been duped.

        Ah yes. Blaming economic woes on immigrants…reasonably and rationally, of course! God forbid anyone making an argument to curb immigration was actually in any way xenophobic. Everybody loves foreigners, right? Alas, rational economic analyses dictate that their movement must be proscribed.

        Thank god we live in New Zealand where such muck could never gain any traction.

      • One Two 5.1.3

        It is my opinion that not only do you have no idea what you’re talking about, but that you’re also the least informed handle who comments on this site

        Is it deliberate?

  6. Jones 6

    “…especially the Brits… would lose out economically”

    Many are losing out already but for those inside the City of London… I think Donald Tusk underestimates the power of the City of London.

  7. Cricklewood 7

    I think it’s probably for the best in the long term if there is a brexit.
    I’ve come to the opinion that the bigger the government organization the less democratic it becomes. In the case of the EU look to Greece and how it’s citizens lost the ability to control their destiny and here in NZ the Rodney’s super city has resulted in a loss of local democracy.
    Watching council consistently (in thrall with Fletchers) act against the wishes of my local board (potentially illegally) and community has been disheartening to say the least.

    The smaller and more local the govt the better to my mind.

  8. Sans Cle 8

    I don’t really rate the economic stability of Europe (it’s a myth), but it’s the political and social instability I am concerned about, that a Brexit may unleash.

  9. red-blooded 9

    I’m with Sans Cle on this one. The EU has brought relative stability to a set of nations that have historically been anything but. If it needs reforming, then the nation states within it should discuss and decide on reform. Splitting away seems foolhardy.

    Side note, I wonder if the term “brexit” has made it somehow cooler? A bit like the “BeLEAVE in ourselves” headline featured above. All very catchy, but what happens next?

  10. ttd 10

    The demographics bear a resemblance to a NZ politics breakdown.
    Substitute Brexit for voting for that nice MR Key
    7% difference Tory selfishness + great unwashed = majority

  11. Rolfcopter 11

    Not sure if it’s been posted before, but “Brexit: The Movie” is definitely a must-watch as to the issues Britain has come across as part of the EU…. and it’s been superbly shot and produced.

    Not one single mention of immigration in the movie at all.

    There’s also an interesting part on why Switzerland refused to join.

    It’s time to leave.

  12. Sanctuary 12

    The export of our best and brightest to the UK – and Australia – is a subtle form of economic imperialism that has gone on since forever. Anything that lessens that is actually good for our country.

    I am actually in the UK just now and the remain campaign has been as tin earred and hopeless as the leave campaign has been dishonest and racist. This referendum is actually about the same things that have propelled Trump, Sanders, Corbyn, and all the other insurgent candidates and parties. And that is the rising anger at the political, media and economic elites from the growing numbers of losers from neloiberal economics and austerity policies. Today’s Guardian has an editorial that sums up the leave campaign http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/14/the-guardian-view-on-the-leave-campaign-anatomy-of-another-elite but the problem with the remain campaign is that it has confirmed pretty much every prejudice about the EU and neoliberal elites. The remain campaign seriously believes rolling out Tony Blair and John Major to preach dire consequences was a good idea. It has run a scare campaign which looks to the average voter like just more of the same being talked down to by an elitist TINA brigade that still fails to admit it may have made any mistakes at all, rather than talk about positives for Britain. In short, the remain camp has fucked it up, and Cameron will be gone no matter what the refetendum result as a direct consequence of his mis -handling of the vote.

    PS Corbyn is nowhere near as dispised as the Oxbridge ruling elite who dominate things here would have you believe. There is a delicious irony that the liberal elites are now looking to the “unelectable” and “universally unpopular” Corbyn as the saviour of the remain camp, with headlines like “Corbyn leads Labour cavalry to the rescue”. They have known all along he had a broader appeal that their hysterical anti-Corbynism would admit.

  13. infused 13

    Good.

  14. DS 14

    Brexit has its Left and Right wings – the Right get more prominence with the “foreigners taking our jobs” line, but Left Euroscepticism is based on the idea that the EU is an enforcer of neoliberal economics.

    (You think the TTPA is bad? The EU already prevents a democratically-elected government from nationalising the railways, because it violates the sacred cow of market competition).

    That said, I’m actually on the fence. I regard the current EU model as broken, undemocratic, and truly malign (ask Greece), but Brexit under a Tory majority government is a recipe for the Right going crazy with repealing workplace legislation. Ideally you’d want Brexit under a Centre or Left government, but the problem there is that such a government would be less likely to pull out in the first place.

    • Rocco Siffredi 14.1

      “but Brexit under a Tory majority government is a recipe for the Right going crazy with repealing workplace legislation. I”

      What about being a member of the EU is preventing this right now, or in the past years?

  15. DS 15

    Oh yes, and the same people issuing dire economic warnings now were issuing dire economic warnings about the UK not joining the Euro (the best decision ever, in hindsight).

  16. RedLogix 16

    I’d guess the Brexit campaign has a lot to do with a bunch of tax-thieving elites worried that Europe might be on the verge of actually doing something about them.

  17. jcuknz 17

    I am on the fence over this but I think like communisim the EU is a wonderful concept but inevitably spoilt by human nature.

    • RedLogix 17.1

      I agree with you that in general the EU is a good concept, but it’s implementation has been botched. Personally I think this will either prompt substantial EU reform, or it will end in tears.

      More than a few people will be looking at Greece and thinking … ah no thanks.

  18. swordfish 18

    Betfair still has Remain ahead – roughly 60/40.

    For many months, there was a clear divergence between the On-Line and Phone-based Polls – the former almost always calling it neck-and-neck (usually with Leave a point or two in front), the latter always placing Remain in front, with a clear lead of 5-10 points.

    Since late May, things have become a little messier, with much more variation and a general swing towards Leave, although you can still discern an on-going divide between the 2 types of polls.

    18 Polls since Late May
    6 Phone Polls
    4 have Remain ahead (by between 2 and 14 points)
    2 place Leave in the lead (4-6 points)

    12 On-Line Polls
    3 with Remain in Lead (each by 2 points)
    8 with Leave in front (by 2-8 points)
    1 Equal

    Last 6 Polls = 2 Remain leading (both phone Polls) / 4 Leave leading (3 On-Line Polls and 1 Phone-based Poll)

    Phone Polls do tend to have a slightly better record in the UK over recent years.

    Also, most accurate Pollster for 2015 General Election – Com Res – still has Remain ahead (albeit by a small margin).

    So I wouldn’t entirely rule-out a Remain win just yet.

    Could come down to turnout – the lower socio-economic C2DEs favour Brexit by 53% to 27% according to recent YouGov Poll , but are less likely to vote (55% certain to vote according to latest poll), whereas ABC1s favour Remain by 54% to 36% (with 67% of them certain to vote).

    Also quite likely that the large Don’t Know pool will divide between Remain and Non-Vote, rather than head in Brexit’s direction.

    Polls, incidentally, suggest Leave voters overwhelmingly base their decision on Immigration ………. Remain voters overwhelmingly on Impact on the Economy.

    (The TNS Poll referred to in this post was an On-Line Poll)

    • “Polls, incidentally, suggest Leave voters overwhelmingly base their decision on Immigration ………. Remain voters overwhelmingly on Impact on the Economy.”

      So we know what we’ve known since Thucydides or Hobbes; people’s fears will shape their actions and beliefs. There are two kinds at work here.

    • Kiwiri 18.2

      Thanks for this, Swordfish.

      For months, I have been asking British friends (when I should have just googled or looked up the legislation or policy) whether the referendum is – in our NZ-speak – a “binding” referedum or not.

      I had long suspected that, thanks to what would be typical of a Westminster Parliamentary system, it will not be binding.

      Just this evening, I heard from a UK friend about a piece that came out in the past day or so that what the public votes might not mean any change to the status quo, i.e. the referendum is not binding after all, thanks to the fine print.

      So, yawn, given that I suspect many Parliamentarians will not vote to leave (or even introduce a bill, or whatever mechanism that would be involved, to bring about that effect, the status quo will continue.

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