Beyond the Rhetoric
By Harry C. Alford
Last week marked an end to a very divisive debate: Should the people of England remain in the European Union or should they leave? To the surprise of numerous pollsters and predictions from world leaders such as President Obama the people of England voted to leave the Union. England was one of the last nations to join the Union. The European Union was organized in 1992. Soon there would be 28 nations in the economic bloc. One of the last to join was the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England). Coincidentally as the European Union was forming into an economic alliance, the old Soviet Union began to crumble due to many economic downfalls – they were broke.
Times have changed. The two big issues that caused England to walk are immigration and an unstable economy. The immigration issue may lead other nations to pull away. Right now if you have a passport from any of the European Union member nations you are free to travel anywhere within the bloc without a visa. Right now millions of refugees are flooding the borders. It has gotten to the point of being a very sensitive political issue. The open doors may soon start to close. Illegal immigration will no longer be an issue exclusively for the United States.
United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, a key player in the “Leave” campaign says “We have our country back.” That is contrasted by the “Remain” campaigners, who argue a Brexit (as it is called) would be disastrous for the British and even the global economy. Every nation in the world fears uncertainty. That is especially true for the United States government. President Obama was so worried that he flew to England and admonished the supporters of Brexit. That was probably the worst thing he could have done. The pushback was immense. Supporters of Brexit more or less told him to mind his own business and get out of England.
The departure will not be immediate. There is a formal process that will take about two years. But many experts are saying this is just the “tip of the iceberg.” The European economy is not going to be stable and that will reflect on the entire world’s economy. Right now the stock markets around the world are ailing. The talk of a new recession is starting to be discussed. The United Kingdom’s credit rating is already starting to sink. The British pound is down to $1.35, the lowest since 1985. Experts are picking Scotland to be the next nation to leave the European Union. The whole British Commonwealth should brace for hard times.
Meanwhile, Russia’s President Putin is smiling. He finds comfort in having weakened neighbors. The next time Greece starts crying for another bailout there will be no one to help them. This nation will reason that there is no longer a benefit to belonging to the European Union.
European Union President Donald Tusk acknowledged he was “fully aware of how serious, or even dramatic” a political moment the bloc was facing but said it was “not a moment for hysterical reactions.” He also said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Evidently British Prime Minister David Cameron thinks differently. He has announced his resignation effective sometime in October. Conservative segments of each nation will also be stirring up the possibility of emulating England. There will definitely be more attempts to leave the European Union. One of its largest economies has just left the “building.” If France or Germany does the same thing, surely the bloc will be over.
Another major reason for the above downfall is the over regulation coming from the bureaucratic headquarters of the EU. Many households in England felt abused by the specifications of tools, electronic equipment and daily rules that were being forced upon the people by the headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. It was like they had two governments. Thus, the common cheer of “We got our country back!” French President Francois Hollande described the vote as a “tough test for Europe” while his Prime Minister Manuel Valls called it “an explosive shock.”
People enjoy freedom and when it is threatened there will be pushback. The whole world will be effected economically. Banks will be more cautious and capital access may lessen. That will hurt our businesses and the cost of trade will likely increase. The lesson here is that too much government negatively affects the peace and tranquility of the people. Hopefully, this is a lesson learned and somehow we must recover. The upcoming major election in England this fall will be another test. Not just for England but for the entire world. May our Lord bless us.
Mr. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Website: www.nationalbcc.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.