Why Britain Brexited

from The Atlantic

The United Kingdom will soon begin the most radical national experiment of the 21st century so far: Brexit. Having won a landslide election victory on a promise to “get Brexit done,” Boris Johnson will finally make good on 2016’s referendum result. Britain will leave the European Union, with no easy way back or guarantees about what will come next. Having voted twice for Brexit, the country is finally ready to make the leap—even if it has little idea where it is leaping.

This, at least, is the conventional view. In this story, Brexit is essentially an aberration, a decision of epic stupidity, which, at its heart, seeks to reverse the tide of history pushing midsize countries into multinational blocs in order to compete in a world of superpowers. Britain, in voting to leave the biggest and most advanced of these blocs, has allowed an instant of nostalgic madness to rip it from its moorings, casting it off into the exposed waters of economic isolation at the very moment the rest of the world, led by Donald Trump, is putting up trade barriers. It is a story of a country that has lost control of who it is and where it is going.

But that is only one way of looking at this moment in British history, marking the end of one era and the beginning of the next. There is another perspective, viewing Brexit as a largely conservative act, returning to what remains, after all, the norm for most countries: independent national sovereignty. In this view, shared by some conservative historians, economists, and politicians, Brexit is primarily about protection from the EU’s radicalism, viewing the bloc’s push for ever-closer union—manifested most obviously in its single currency—as the aberration of history, turning what was once a confederation of nation-states into a federal union.

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4 Responses to Why Britain Brexited

  1. Dylan Quinn February 18, 2020 at 6:42 pm #

    While the vote for Britain to leave Brexit was extremely close, 51.8% leave to 48.1% stay, I believe that this will prove to be a very good endeavor. One of the EU policies that Britain wishes to escape is their open border policies. These policies allow large amounts of asylum seekers to seek refuge in countries within the EU. These laws, however, have caused large amounts of people entering the EU to slide by the system without being documented. If these individuals are not documented it becomes increasingly difficult to determine who the people coming into the country are. This becomes a problem due to the large amounts of terror organizations in the surrounding regions. These bordering countries are unable to identify these individuals, and these individuals are able to move throughout the EU virtually undetected. With Britain exiting the EU, it will allow them to adopt their own immigration laws. Therefore they will be able to establish their own borders and identify people who travel in and out of them.
    The exit of Brexit raises many questions about Britain’s ability to trade with the rest of the world and specifically the EEC, or the European Economic Community. Due to many of these questions remaining unanswered by the British government, people are concerned about the effects that Brexit will have on the British economy. It is believed that if Britain does not find a deal for leaving the EU then they will have to cut all current trade agreements held because of the EU and start from scratch. While this may cause short term problems for the British economy, many also believe that it will be very beneficial for their economy in the long run. The ability of the British government to completely rework their trade agreements will allow them to focus on themselves first. The problem in both my own and many other opinions with the EU is it sets laws and regulations for multiple countries. This means that these regulations focus on what will be beneficial to the collective rather than an individual country. Not being apart of the EU will give Britain the opportunity to create new trade laws, deals, regulations, and tariffs which will benefit themselves and not their neighboring countries. This will allow the country to greatly increase their own economy in the future, than if they were still part of the EU.
    This article made me take a step back and realize that even though the EU allows greater amounts of resources for countries within it, those resources may not always be used for the benefit of a single country but instead will be used to help the whole or all the countries. These are the main reasons that people had wished to leave the EU in Britain. They wanted the ability to have complete control over the future of their country. While leaving the EU completely with no plan would possibly hurt Britain for the near future, the country will still have the ability to create their own future.

  2. Ian Maroney February 20, 2020 at 5:29 pm #

    The Brexit movement has been a very interesting phenomenon to follow, especially put into the context of 21st century politics in Western Civilization. Coinciding with the Brexit movement was the complete political upset that is the 2016 Presidential Election, as well as the growing frustrations of right-leaning French citizens whose candidate Marine le Pen, a French Donald Trump if you will, came incredibly close to winning her own presidential election. It is safe to say there is something in the water, and that something seems to be an angry reaction to the globalist policies that have taken hold of Europe and North America for the last several decades. The United Kingdom, a former world superpower until the second World War and Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, should arguably never have been part of the EU in the first place. The country was already well off without the European Union, so much so that they refused to adopt the European currency, in favor of the established British pound. Which is why I don’t understand why it is so controversial for Britain to want the leave the EU, if anything the Union would be better off without them, in terms of economic strength and unity.
    As the author of this article puts it, “Brexit is essentially an aberration, a decision of epic stupidity, which, at its heart, seeks to reverse the tide of history pushing midsize countries into multinational blocs in order to compete in a world of superpowers. Britain, in voting to leave the biggest and most advanced of these blocs, has allowed an instant of nostalgic madness to rip it from its moorings, casting it off into the exposed waters of economic isolation at the very moment the rest of the world, led by Donald Trump, is putting up trade barriers. It is a story of a country that has lost control of who it is and where it is going.” But I would suggest quite the opposite is happening. A country that has a sense of where it is going and a sense of pride and nationalism, would not subject itself to be governed and dictated by a larger body of political powers. as I said before, Britain was once the greatest nation on Earth, and through its weakness, allowed itself to be swallowed up by the rest of Europe out of fear World War III would otherwise break out. Long story short, England doesn’t need the European Union, and the European Union doesn’t need England. The world will go on, the EU will be strong, there won’t be a third World War and if there is, its obvious England and Germany will be on the same side. Brexit is a whole lot of nothing, and the world isn’t going to change very much as a result of it.

  3. Michael Jinks February 21, 2020 at 8:14 pm #

    With Brexit finally becoming official and the transition period beginning there are many different areas that this decision will impact. First, it is important to look at why Britain decided to leave the European Union. The EU operates as a single bloc as the article describes and the EU has become more radical. Britain wanted to have control over their country and become an independent nation again. Britain never adopted the Euro as their currency and instead continued to use their own currency. There was also a sense of national pride for citizens in Britain. They did not want to become one of the countries that gets out shadowed by a bigger nation. With being separate from the EU, there is an increased sense of national pride and citizens feel as if they can control their own future instead of others controlling it. Even with these reasons, I think that the citizens of Britain made a mistake in voting for Brexit for a few different reasons.
    There are many areas of business that are going to be impacted by Brexit. Currently there is no free trade agreement between the EU and Britain. If no deal is reached during the transition period then Britain will be forced to trade with the EU under trade restrictions. I think that one consequence of no deal being reached is the EU could place tariffs on British goods which would discourage EU nations from trading with Britain. This could hurt the British economy because they would not have anybody to sell their products to. The citizens of Britain could be impacted because goods in their own country will become more expensive and it could be more difficult for people to receive goods. Also, I think many companies will decide to either move offices out of Britain or cut back on how many employees they have in Britain. When Britain was in the EU, London was the main financial center in Europe. Now financial services companies are leaving London to move to the EU to be more centrally located. In the end, I think leaving the EU will be bad for Britain in the long run due to the various areas of business that will be impacted by Brexit.

  4. Vasilios Moustakis February 22, 2020 at 5:20 pm #

    The British lost the revolutionary war. I’d think that these people would be the last to cry for independence, but the majority is the majority, and they just took as big of a risk as John Hancock did with his obnoxiously large signature on the US constitution. To be clear, they did not have a revolutionary war, their “Brexit” was done with paper and pen. As such, their war will not be fought with guns, but rather in the economy. The EU will want to punish them with the mentality of war, but in this day and age, I suppose this is how war and revolution take place.
    The real question to ask is what happens if Brexit fails? The EU is going to ostracize the UK in the form of ridiculous, unrealistic tariffs, therein making international trade with the US, maybe China in the future, as well as domestic, their only hope for profit, or even breaking even. As London’s numerous financial institutions leave for more profit within the EU, the UK will have to go back to very basic exports with low-profit margins to make ends meet, like tea. In fact, a refund for the Boston Tea Party might be in order.
    Anyway, at the end of the revolutionary war, the British had a portfolio of other territories in different continents to expand on. Now, they are the lonesome sore thumb in the continent of Europe. I don’t want to say it, but the country would fall into protest and chaos, sending the population into refuge in other countries. I cannot say for sure these predictions. The EU will never admit it, but the UK is a grand country with huge historical significance, and if they fail now, the world will undoubtedly be worse off.

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