Friday 01 July 2016

Brexit: A Sign Of A Conflicted Nation

In June 2016, the historic European Union referendum held in the United Kingdom resulted in a majority vote favoring the withdrawal of the country’s membership from the European Union. This marks the first nation in history intending to invoke Article 50 in Title VI of the Treaty on European Union that entitles any member state the right to leave the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. Dubbed Brexit (a catchy portmanteau of the words “British” and “exit"), the political movement that ultimately led to the referendum had garnered divided opinions and heated debates before the vote among the nation’s populace. Proponents argued that membership with the European Union has long undermined United Kingdom’s national sovereignty and control of its own immigration policy, while opponents argued that such membership has benefited the country by removing trade barriers with other European countries and reducing needless bureaucracy now handled at large by the European Union. The result of the referendum has had an immediate impact on the nation’s political landscape, including the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron who had campaigned for the country to remain with the European Union. Importantly, the referendum has shed light on the marked geographic disparity within the United Kingdom on the support for Brexit. Whereas voters in England and Wales voted in majority to leave, voters in Northern Ireland and Scotland voted in majority to remain. Indeed, rumor is already circulating on a second Scottish independence referendum to determine whether or not Scotland will remain with the European Union in defiance of the United Kingdom. Notwithstanding the eventual fallout of Brexit, this referendum represents, at a minimum, a clear sign of a conflicted nation—a nation that is struggling with its own identity, from both within and without.

By Philip Jong • At 12:01 AM • Under Column • Under World
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