by Mac Olsen
There seems to be no end to the surprising – and even shocking – political force for change.
The march toward centralized political and economic authority within the European Union suffered a surprising setback on June 24.
The ‘Brexit’ vote in the United Kingdom revealed that 52 per cent voted in favour of the UK pulling out of the EU, while 48 per cent of voters want to remain within the EU.
There are varying theories as to why the result came out as it did. For instance, there are those on the far right in the UK who don’t like the pro-immigration stance of the EU, especially over Muslim refugees entering Western Europe.
Many on the far right in the UK fear that the force of the Muslim presence may change their way of life, culture and ability to government themselves.
I’ve seen some reports of the rising tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in the UK over the last year and I am concerned that it’s a powder keg waiting to explode. The conservative/far right vote may have been rallied on the basis of fear-mongering and stereotyping of Muslims.
Another theory is that the older generation in the UK does not like the European Union dictating the political and economic agenda. They would prefer that the UK control its own destiny. Whereas the younger generation voted to remain within the EU because they accept change and the political and economic direction that the UK and the European Union are heading in.
A third theory is that voters in England were the ones who want the UK to pull out of the EU, while those in Scotland want to remain within it. Scotland and London voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU, while Wales and other regions voted mostly to leave.
Ironically, a referendum was held in Scotland in 2014 to determine whether that country should separate from the UK and become a sovereign nation. The voting result went against that push.
However, don’t expect with the vote on June 24, that Scotland will not have aspirations to hold another referendum which, this time, could see them leave.
Regardless of the theories and divisiveness of the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron staked his leadership on the ‘remain within’ vote and he lost. Right after the vote, he resigned and is preparing the transition for his successor this fall.
What happens in the UK over the next few years has immediate ramifications for Canada, the U.S. and world financial markets.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asserted that Canada will remain a stable nation and harkened back to the long-standing relationship the country has with the UK.
But it’s a message of the status quo as far as I’m concerned; he doesn’t want to contemplate that such political change could happen in Canada.
Whatever the case, the UK vote on June 24 shows that political change is not always welcome. The clock can be turned back against the “progressive” forces if the will and desire are there.