Brexit Vote Affirms U.K. Sovereignty
By Vincent Maresca
On June 23, the citizens of the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the European Union (EU). Days after the vote, Nigel Farage, then the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), passionately defended the results at the European Parliament amid jeers and cheers. He called for the swift invocation of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which outlines the procedures for a country to withdraw from EU membership. He also added that the U.K. would continue relations with the EU and, at the same time, pursue its “global ambitions and future.” The U.K. maintains the right to its sovereignty within and without the EU, and they may benefit more from the separation at this point in time.
Outside of the confines of the EU, Britain will have a more flexible global commerce. BBC News reports that the U.K. and the EU want to continue trade relations after Brexit, but “with the U.K. seeking a positive outcome for those who wish to trade goods and services.”
Although the British economy stagnated in the days following the referendum, according to the Associated Press, the British economy returned to a stable status in August. Consumers continued their spending, “manufacturing and services rebounded”, and housing prices remain the same. According to Deutsche Weld, Softbank, a Japanese telecommunications company, made a bid of $32 billion for ARM holdings, a British superconductor company, on July 18. Although Masayoshi Son, the chairman of Softbank, does not connect the investment with the referendum vote, Phillip Hammond, the new British finance minister, calls it “a resounding endorsement of the British economy.” Thus, the Brexit may yet diversify the British economy.
Second, the United Kingdom is a country built around free enterprise. Nearly a month after the historic vote, Deutsche Weld interviewed residents of the coastal resort city of Blackpool, two-thirds of which voted to leave the EU. Although EU intervention has prevented further decay of the city, Blackpool has struggled with low revenues, hotel vacancies, and struggling businesses. Many blame Europe’s banking sector and its financial crisis. Additionally, Deutsche Weld reported on the U.K. fishing industry, which is hurting small fisheries via EU regulations. European and British law is highly incompatible in this regard.
Third, the top issue that influenced the Brexit is immigration. BBC News reports that the new government under Prime Minister Theresa May wants to cut net migration to 100,000 refugees per year. Therefore, immigration will still occur in the U.K., but it will be very selective.
Finally, many European immigrants are weary of living under the EU. Malcolm Brabant of PBS News Hour reports that although the majority of Scotland voted to remain in the EU and support a second referendum, there are those who voted to leave. For example, Frances and Ioannes Lalos, who are Scottish and Greek, respectively, do not believe that the EU is a problem solver after experiencing the Greek financial crisis and relocating to Scotland to gain financial security. There are many like the couple who are worried about the future of an independent Scotland if it adopts the euro.
Thus, the United Kingdom stands to benefit from Brexit. Economically, there will be more investment involving non-European countries, no red tape, and community uplifting. The U.K.’s referendum vote was a good and democratic reaction against the EU’s failed and restrictive policies.