Everyday the news feeds are flooded with countless articles about one very messy divorce. The UK is currently doing its best to separate itself from the European Union, while the children (Scotland and Northern Ireland) are threatening to leave the UK and go live with dad (the EU). Both children voted to stay in the EU in the original referendum and are now considering leaving the UK, something that Scotland has been considering for years.
The original referendum was completed in 2016 and ended with an incredibly close vote of 51.9% voting to leave and 48.1% voting to stay. However, it has later been revealed that a large number of the campaign officials lied during the course of the campaign and their misinformation may have greatly contributed to the result of the referendum. Partially as a result of this (but mainly for other reasons) there has been a recent push for another referendum to reverse the original decision.
Now, because a vast majority of the British population has now decided that they no longer wish to break up with the EU, this push for a new referendum has gained some support. However, should the previous referendum be undermined, this sets a dangerous precedent for years to come. By letting the people so easily reverse this weighty decision, it shows that the government is flimsy and may lead to more instances like this one in the future. The people voted for Brexit and that is the decision that should be stuck with for the future.
However, there is another side to this argument. Because of the deception perpetrated by the election officials, something that was revealed only a few days after the original referendum, the results were skewed by their misinformation in favour of leaving the EU. In this context, a new referendum would be for the benefit of the British people as the last one was biased in favour of leaving. Another upside to hosting another referendum is that it could in fact be construed as a show of strength on the part of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government. Because such a large portion of her platform was dedicated to Brexit, allowing a second referendum which may overturn the original decision shows her strength as a leader who listens to her people rather than simply doing what supports her campaign. Which we all know she won’t.
But where did this massive push for Brexit come from and why has it only surfaced now? The answer is simple, but incredibly disappointing: xenophobia. The main reason driving Britain’s departure from the European Union is their overwhelming fear of immigrants. By leaving the European Union, travel between Europe and Britain will be restricted, not with any extreme measures but it will not be as easy as it is today. Britons somehow believe that this will stop the influx of immigrants into their country, but, spoiler alert, it probably won’t.
There is no simple answer to the Brexit problem. In fact, there isn’t even a right answer to the Brexit problem. In the end, however, even though it isn’t our problem the world watches with concern as the situation unfolds as it will alter Europe in a fragile time.
Feature photo courtesy of: http://theconversation.com/brexit-here-are-the-barriers-to-a-referendum-on-the-final-deal-100109