Great Britain’s Brexit vote refers to the decision by the populace of Great Britain this week to leave the European Union (EU). A decision with wide-reaching implications not only for Great Britain but for the rest of the 28-nation EU, the United States and perhaps the rest of the world. One of the most important issues of the Brexit referendum was immigration into Great Britain. The U.S., of course, has the same issue that is a hot button for the 2016 Presidential election.
At the risk of over-simplification, the EU stressed freedom of movement among its member states. When Tony Blair was Prime Minister, he embraced the British integration into the EU. When eastern European countries joined the EU, many other European countries put immigration limits in place. Great Britain did not. Since then, three-fourths of the immigrants into Great Britain have not been European at all but of other nationalities. The immigration wave has been massive with the new arrivals stressing Britain’s welfare system, environment, and almost every other resource available to the British people. It should not be lost, however, that not an inconsiderable amount of the hatred of new immigrants had more than a little to do with racism and bigotry.
This begs the question of why wasn’t, under Prime Minister David Cameron, some sort of immigration reform put into place? Was taking the step of withdrawing from the EU actually necessary? It seems like a case of closing the barn door after the horses got out.
Of course, many draw the parallel between the immigration problem in Great Britain and that in the United States. I see a real difference. The United States has immigration laws already on the books. Enforcing them would go a long way toward solving the problem of illegal immigrants in the U.S. just like enacting immigration reform would have done much to help Great Britain.
Along with immigration, Brexit was also a response to globalization. It can be argued that it is a step toward de-globalization or nationalism. Globalization has been a movement in countries like Great Britain and the U.S. since World War II. Globalization involves free trade of goods and services across borders. In the case of Great Britain, that means that trade is tariff-free within the EU. Will the EU still allow tariff-free trade when Great Britain withdraws? We will see. Perhaps not.
Many countries have literally stopped producing many items needed by their people due to globalization. They rely on trade agreements with other nations to provide what their population needs. The United States has such trade agreements with a number of nations. For example, the U.S. no longer has a manufacturing economy. If there is a nationalist President, like Donald Trump, elected that tears down the trade agreements in the U.S., one has to wonder where the manufacturing plants and skilled labor will suddenly come from to produce what the U.S. citizenry need. The same questions can be asked about Great Britain. Will they suddenly be importing everything they need and paying tariffs? One can sense economic disaster.
So what happens now due to Brexit? In the short-run, the world financial markets reacted drastically negative. Manufacturers and financial institutions are threatening to pull out of Great Britain. Scotland will probably have a referendum on freedom from Great Britain and succeed. Other short-term effects are bound to be felt. The world as Europe knows it will change. We have no way to know what the long-term effects will be yet. The same may happen in the United States if Donald Trump, the GOP presumptive nominee, wins the 2016 Presidential election. #Brexit #realDonaldTrump #writing #amwriting #blogging