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Hullabaloo


Friday, June 24, 2016

 

Brexit: "Leave" wins. Now what?

by Tom Sullivan

Donald Trump, who weeks ago didn't know what #Brexit was, suddenly does. He won't understand it any better. (Not that I do. This will take time to digest.)

If you are just waking up, Britain voted 52-48 to leave the European Union. Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister Tony Cameron is the first casualty:

Britain has voted to leave the European Union, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow to the European project of greater unity since World War Two.

Global financial markets plunged on Friday as results from a referendum showed a near 52-48 percent split for leaving a bloc that Britain joined more than 40 years ago.

The pound fell as much as 10 percent against the dollar to touch levels last seen in 1985, on fears the decision could hit investment in the world's fifth-largest economy, threaten London's role as a global financial capital and usher in months of political uncertainty.

World stocks headed for one of the biggest slumps on record, and billions of dollars were wiped off the value of European companies. Britain's big banks took a $130 billion battering, with Lloyds (LLOY.L) and Barclays (BARC.L) falling as much as 30 percent at the opening of trade. [MKTS/GLOB]
Trump was more interested in how it might affect his golf course, because there's nothing that's not about Donald Trump:

As Nigel Farage of the "once-fringe United Kingdom Independence Party" celebrated, other far-right leaders sent congratulations:

Farage and his colleagues were quickly congratulated by the leaders of nationalist, far-right parties in the Netherlands and France, Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen, who both called for similar referendums in their countries.

Closer to home, however, another part of Farage’s statement seemed at odds with the mood in some parts of the country. Namely, his confidant assertion that citizens of the United Kingdom comprise a single nation. As the results were tallied, it became obvious that there was a clear disparity of outcomes across the kingdom’s four nations: while England and Wales voted to leave the EU, Scotland and Northern Ireland both voted to stay in it, which raised the possibility that the decision to withdraw from one union could trigger the imminent collapse of another.

Scotland is already considering another independence vote:

Nicola Sturgeon said it was "democratically unacceptable" that Scotland faced the prospect of being taken out of the EU against its will.

She said the Scottish government would begin preparing legislation to enable another independence vote.

Scotland voted in favour of the UK staying in the EU by 62% to 38%.

Writing for the Guardian, Diane Abbott summed up the Brexit results as a false promise:

For many Brexit voters the prime minister just confirmed to them how little the winners of globalisation like him cared about them, the losers.

If only the false promise that Britain’s malaise of disenfranchisement, voicelessness and an economic system that rewards the rich at the expense of the poor could be fixed by leaving the EU. The idea that migrants or politicians in Brussels are the problem with modern, unequal Britain was the canard at the core the referendum debate.

Britain’s problems come from a place much closer to home. They come from successive government policies that have promoted the financialisation of our economies and public services, thereby valuing profit over people. They come from a Tory government slashing public services and widening inequality under the dubious banner of austerity. And they come from a prime minister who was passionate about nothing but his own political survival.

These problems are so systemic today that fixing them will take a radical change to the structure of both our economy and political class. More of the past will not do to resolve the very real and interconnected global issues of our time: vast and rising wealth inequality, climate change and a foreign policy trapped in a cycle of destruction.
That feels about right. Because similar sentiments are boiling up here among those who feel like globalization's losers and the political class' victims. (A lot of us, frankly.) Sadly, for those easily swayed by mountebanks, TRUMP is the remedy for anything that ails ya. Just ask him. Got Mexicans? No problemo. TRUMP stops unwanted immigrants in their tracks. Pesky establishment? TRUMP politically incorrects for that. Lost your job? TRUMP again. Whites not white enough? TRUMP will make them bolder if not brighter.

For the left, Bernie Sanders more than his rival has focused on the harm the financialization of the economy has done to working Americans (and to those who once worked). Nonetheless, Hillary Clinton is poised to be the presidential candidate for Democrats this fall. Sanders told MSNBC this morning he will vote for her and "do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump." With Sanders having come so far attacking economic inequality and a calcified establishment, with Trump peddling economic snake oil to the disenfranchised, and with Britain having given EU austerity the middle finger, the question for the left here is: Are Democrats listening? This week's sit-in on the House floor suggests they might be, finally. Those who know her say Hillary Clinton is a good listener. She has a chance now to prove that to the rest of the country.

My recommendation? Get out there and register people to vote.