The Divided Kingdom
How the extreme right is taking Europe down the low road
June 24th, 2016. The United Kingdom is out of the European Union.
A day has passed since ‘leavers’ won the referendum. A moment of silence for the loss of common sense is probably due.
The ‘good’ news is that it will take the UK two or more years to actually get out of the EU. Enough time to reconsider, or come up with an actual plan.
Yes, because apart from the bold campaign promises, there is no plan. After over 17 million people voted for ‘leave,’ right-wing leader Nigel Farage backtracks: no more 350 million pounds a week for the National Health Service (NHS). Mr. Farage is the same person who defined the current ban on handguns “ludicrous.” Not exactly someone you can rest easy with.
The bad news is that voters for the ‘leave’ did not even know what they were voting for.
For democracy to work there must be a system in place granting to all citizens, with no exception, the means to operate informed choices. At all times. Sending citizens to a blind date with democracy is inconsiderate and extremely dangerous.
Opinions aside, the data speak clearly. The higher the education, the more favorable UK citizens are towards the EU. Ignorance is never of aid, especially in complicated matters, such as the exit from a geopolitical and economical entity.
Empires are all the same. They rise. They collapse. They come back, sometimes. They collapse, again.
Unfortunately for the open-minded and forward-thinkers, there is a bunch of nostalgics that still think the UK is an empire. Well, it is not.
Being out of the European Union does not necessarily mean being in charge. It just means being more isolated. Sure, Britain still has sovereignty over seventeen territories and can reboot the Commonwealth franchise. But this is not 1921 all over again.
Stats show that most people voting ‘leave’ are older than 50 years old. The majority of those well above 60 years old. Daydreaming of a glorious past won’t help solve the problems we are facing today.
In times of trouble we like to blame others. The neighbor. The diverse. The immigrant. For a country that colonised a quarter of the planet, this seems ridiculous, to say the least.
To be fair, this is not only a British or a European phenomenon. Neo-nationalism has no color nor country of origin. It is just the low road leading to the easy way out, and the extreme right fancies that everywhere.
Matteo Salvini, Norbert Hofer, Geert Wilders, Frauke Petry, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump… They all live on the dark side of the moon, where isolation is preferable to dialogue. Commanding with an iron fist seems to their eyes more appealing than diplomacy:
“I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall.” — Donald Trump
There is nothing mindful or constructive about ‘us against the world’ ultimatums. History speaks for itself. Walls, figurative or real, have never been a great idea. When diversity is not seen as a richness, but something to be feared, then we are in for real dark times ahead.
House of Cards
The aftermath. While David Cameron waves goodbye to his political career, Boris Johnson discovers London does not appreciate turncoats.
It is hard to convince others to stick around, when you blindly choose to mind your own business. It was also predictable Europe would force the hand. While Britain asks for some time, the EU pushes for a rapid non-amicable divorce.
I am not a blind supporter of unions. Unions come at a cost and are not infallible, quite the opposite. The European Union is no exception. But I do believe there is a higher chance of solving complex problems together, rather than living in isolation and pretending they do not exist.