Friday, June 24, 2016

Did Britain just decide to become England?

Britain just voted to leave the European Union – Brexit passed 52-48.  This is not an issue that I have studied so I don’t really have an informed opinion, but I do want to mark what I think is probably a pretty important event with at least some random thoughts and wonderings.

It appears that Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales now are all talking about breaking from Britain because they don’t want to leave the European Union.  Did Britain just vote to become England?

Leaving the European Union might also unravel the European Union.  It is fine to have a common market, but a common currency, and bureaucratic control from Brussels without a common, united government seems to have stopped working around September 15, 2008 when Lehman Brothers in the United States declared bankruptcy and the entire world economy nearly collapsed, hitting the European Union particularly hard.

This is a big step in the general unravelling of the world, or at least the unravelling of many of the existing structures of the world.  I never really understood the European Union – how did such completely different peoples decide that they had a common identity?  After centuries of disastrous wars?  In order to prevent future disastrous wars, of course, was the objective, but the old WWII folks are mostly dead now, and newer generations might have to learn those old terrible lessons all over again?  I certainly hope not.

On the surface it looks like the biggest cause of the Brexit is saying NO to forced immigration policies onto England by Brussels.  I think there are a number of right wing movements in the rest of Europe pushing back very hard on the acceptance of immigrants from the exploding Middle East.  (thank you Osama bin Laden for leading these attacks, and thank you George W Bush for taking bin Laden’s bait and invading Iraq (that’s a bit of sarcasm just in case I was confusing)).

It’s all reactionary.  I think it starts with WWI, goes to the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, goes to Colonialism and Imperialism of the Middle East, goes to supporting despotic Middle Eastern regimes by the West (just send us the oil and stop Communism), goes to terrorism to drive out the “infidels”, goes to chaotic realignments in the Middle East, goes to massive immigration into the West out of the Middle Eastern slaughters, goes to xenophobic and nationalistic reaction against the immigrants out of fear of terrorism and out of fear of dilution of existing nationalistic boundaries and identities, goes to Brexit…

Where to next? Britain First!  America First? (Trump?  dear Lord please no ) France first? Sweden first? etc etc etc?

I think it is a natural response for people to pull into themselves when things are in chaos and they feel threatened.  But I don’t think it is necessarily wise.