From Empire to Europe to…?

June 23, 2016 — a date which probably every citizen of the United Kingdom has in mind; a special date, a historical one.

After prime minister David Cameron has won the election in 2015, he made a promise that the British could decide on the future of the country in a referendum. To be more precise: the people will decide whether Great Britain should remain a member of the European Union or not. This surely happened because of the great pressure from Cameron’s own conservative party.

Cameron spoke to the British and stated:

“It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics.”

The supporters of the so-called “Brexit” argue that since Great Britain has become a member of the EU, the country has suffered more and more from a lack of sovereignty. Furthermore, the EU allegedly has taken control over the daily lives of the people through its various enactments for example.

Probably, many British are still undecided, whether they should vote for or against the Brexit. This could be a chance for Boris Johnson, mayor of London, also conservative party member and amazingly a former schoolmate of Cameron. He has stated that he will fight for the Brexit, since he sees a great future for the UK. The proponents of the Brexit have a new, quite powerful face now.

From Empire to Europe to…? This question will be discussed very intensively in the upcoming weeks. It will be interesting to see if the British want to get rid of all the regulations by the EU and hazard the consequences, which a possible Brexit would have on the economy of Great Britain and its degree of economic and political interwovenness with the states of the EU. But a decision against the EU would also bear a strong symbolic power for the proponents of the Brexit. I think that Johnson considers the fact that saying “yes” to the Brexit and being a prominent face of the resistance against the EU could make him prime minister one day. He must be aware of the fact that he might sacrifice a lot by his pursuit of power — an ailing economy would cause a lack of wealth, security and contentment.

In particular, the time until June 23 will show us how the British practice self-reflection.