Monday, June 27, 2016

You Brexit, You Fix It

The British vote to leave the EU reflected a lack of confidence in the bureaucratic-corporate approach of both the EU and the British prime minister. What is needed now is a chance to prove that some other approach can be more successful. Cameron wasted no time in announcing his resignation, but aside from that there hasn’t been much movement yet. Discussion of the British separation from the EU is still dominated by unfounded predictions of gloom and doom as if the vote had not already taken place. One of the bizarre results of the election was that pro-EU voices were republishing their most preposterous Brexit predictions the day after the vote as if there were something to be gained from boasting about their broken crystal balls. The propaganda will have to step aside eventually so that new approaches can be considered. It is an unprecedented situation so no one is quite sure what should happen next, but patience is certainly called for. There have been only four days since the vote, and in British and European politics, nothing happens in four days.

One obstacle ahead is the view by some EU officials that the British people must be made to suffer for their anti-EU vote, similar to the suffering imposed on the Greek people, in order to deter other countries from following the same path. This is politically a mistake. If the EU is all about suffering no one will want to participate. Some observers are already predicting that the EU could be dissolved within five years. Besides that, though, it is hard to imagine how the EU can force any form of suffering on the people in Britain. In the view of the voters, they are already suffering from their country’s EU membership. Artificially prolonging that suffering won’t change that point of view. There is also the problem of the EU budget. It has been disproportionately paid for by Britain, and the largest bureaucratic-corporate reshuffling in EU history must follow to make up for the budget shortfall. The EU won’t have the spare funds to spend punishing Britain.

The more responsible approach would be to observe and assist the new British experiment and to learn from its successes and failures. In my view, Britain is sure to be partly successful in breaking loose from from the bureaucratic-corporate approach and forging a new path, and that will provide an example for others including the EU to imitate.