Wednesday, June 29, 2016

BRexit. Or How to ruin your country in one easy vote.

This is a political post. 

Let me put this in, more or less silly, but still accurate, terms. Britain has decide to break up with it's girlfriend, the European Union. It's tired of having to check in on late nights out or sit through her reality shows and just knows the fun times are around the corner if it just didn't have to put up with her relatives dropping by all the time. Now, after this break up, Britain for some reason thinks it can still get the EU to keep doing the laundry, buying the groceries, and getting frisky on the regular, you know, all the parts that Britain likes. Oh, and if it could not have to move out for while, that would be great too. Britain apparently doesn't listen to many Beyonce songs.  

I hope the stalwart conservatives in this country are watching, because this is the destination of that whole "take back our country movement" that has put reality show TV star and carnival barker billionaire Donald Trump in the driver's seat of one of America's major political parties. Visceral feel good action for a particular segment of the population, damn the actual consequences to everyone else. The BRexit vote was a repudiation of globalization, the process we've been undergoing in various stages for the past three decades now. The problem is that much like social gaming or a vodka with a new horrible flavor, globalization is where we're headed right now. This attempt to slam the brakes on the future in their own little corner of the world is going to hurt a whole lot more than it helps.   

To start with, the political fallout is catastrophic. The Prime Minister resigned so that there would be no one with the power to act on the vote until the next election, with the hopes that by then everyone will have come to their senses. In turn, the conservative government is pretty much taking a powder and this move by the Brits is causing the other members of the Union, a large part of why World War III hasn't started yet, to wonder if they'd be better off on their own (note: They won't). Even Scotland is now trying to get out from England and get back on the EU's good side. Some are wondering if the government that gets elected and sees the writing on the wall will even go so far as to reject the vote, which could put a whole nation right back here six months from now.   

And if the political looks grim, the financial fallout will be worse. Because if the EU survives, the other 27 countries probably won't want to use London as their financial hub like it has been doing for the past two decades. Hello Brussels. In Belgium. I'm not even sure if Belgium is a real country. And the restart of trade restrictions and probably tariffs as well aren't going to do British industry any favors. By closing itself off to easy trade and potentially decimating its financial sector, and doing it in a particularly ugly manner, the idea that the incoming rulers will somehow be able to negotiate a new sweet heart deal to let Britain get all the benefits of the EU membership and none of the issues is highly unlikely. Like winning the lottery unlikely. 

Sadly, the polls show that it was the older people who are trying to turn back the clock edging out those who'll actually have to live in the future. And much like FOX news viewers in America, those old folks drank the Kool-aid and believed the politicians who were spoon feeding what they wanted to hear. They were told that the membership fee for being part of the European Union, a sweet $350 million per week, would go to the National Health Service instead. This sounds great on paper. Yet a week after the vote the promoters of the idea to leave have already scrubbed that idea from the record, glossing over the fact that the original numbers weren't exactly real to begin with.

Immigration fears, seemingly now a world wide constant, were also stoked. The isle had seen a steady rise in immigration as the rest of Europe's economy floundered. Of course THOSE people, as they historically always have been according to every "fill-in-the-blank" supremacist, are responsible for any "fill-in-desired bad situation" here. And the good people bought it. Well, maybe not good people, as I understand a number of people even thought a vote to "Leave" meant foreigners would have to leave Britain. Like now. If that doesn't set off red flags for xenophobia, I don't know what will. I wonder if the British can see the irony in not wanting foreigners in your country? Ironically, the move has Britain's best export - expatriates - scrambling for answers.

And if all this sounds oddly familiar, it's because is. This is the same Leave NAFTA, we'll use your tax dollars better - until we actually get into office song and dance currently masquerading as party movement in America. And while it's practically a used car salesman pitch on a national level, it apparently worked on the sophisticated Brits. They're supposed to be the smart ones!

Britain broke with their girlfriend, and it turns out that it's looking pretty lonely out here. May I suggest some roses, some tears and a little Marvin Gaye?

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