Great Britain has voted in the referendum on Europe and the win, as reported first even here in New York by the BBC, was the “Leave” (or also “Out”) side over the “Remain” (or “In”): 52% vs 48% at the ballots. The Brits chose to leave, or exit from the EU. Should we really be surprised? Why? It’s democracy’s beauty, and with this, it’s no laughing matter: you either win or you lose.
The UK wasn’t a real member of the Europe Union, at least not like other countries (and not only because of the Euro). The European Union in these last years has done very little or nothing at all to change the mind of the majority of Brits, who have not only now but have always felt the European Community first, the European Union next, as a bureaucratic pachyderm beyond the democratic control of its citizens. Certainly not only for the English, this “united” Europe still remains a center of political (and financial) power that is not granted by the vote of its citizens. The European people as a whole do not elect any of the fundamental core of governmental power, other than that already too weak Parliament.
What will happen now, besides the free fall of the British pound that in a matter of a few hours has already fallen against the US dollar to its lowest level since 1985? We’ll see, but the victorious “leave” majority was possible, even predictable.
I was just a boy when I was leaving for my first trip without my parents. I would be going to England to learn English, a study holiday, destination Brighton. My father, on the way to airport that was at that time called Punta Raisi – in Palermo the slaughter of judges massacred by the mafia had just begun – told me a well-known tale: “Remember that the English, when there are rough seas on the Channel, say: Europe has remained isolated.”
It shouldn’t be difficult to understand that Great Britain never fully entered Europe. So then why should it so tragic that they are leaving something in which they truly never entered?
Yes, during my first trip to England, it wasn’t the language that was the most difficult to learn, rather how to avoid getting run over while crossing the street. The English still require the automobile industry to manufacture right hand drive cars. Or to have power outlets that are different than the rest of the European continent. Then why should we have expected an “in” victory when in fact, not only idealistically but also practically, the English were never “in” Europe?
Of course! They’re no fool. Trades in goods and assets, on those counts they’re all “in.” Let’s bet that on “goods” London and Brussels will reach an agreement? But in its head and heart Great Britain, with respect to the union of Europe as conceived by the Franco-German Treaty, never really felt a connection.
Beware, laying blame only on the stubborn isolationist English pride does not explain the “out” victory nor does it serve anyone. May this British earthquake at least be able to finally shake Europe and force her to democratize her union, which to date has only been imposed from above.
Only when Europe changes will Brits be able to begin to reflect on their decision of June 23, 2016 and perhaps they too may have doubts arise on who, this time, will be isolated when rough seas rise on the Channel. But until that day, even those who yesterday voted to “remain” for fear of the consequences of this break, in this blocked and little democratic Europe, would continue to not feel all attracted to it. And they are right.
Europe will rise or dissolve, and without blaming the Brits for its failure. But, if it indeed it’s able to successfully rise, it will celebrate the day of London’s final bell toll.
P.S. NY, 8:00 a.m.
On Barack and Brexit, Trump is right
I just watched Donald Trump’s press conference in Scotland. Besides his usual trumpisms, on one matter the Republican presidential candidate is surely right: President Barack Obama should not have intervened as he did, and quite decisively I add, on the British referendum. Out of respect for that country’s democracy it’s not acceptable, especially from an ally. Probably Trump’s not wrong when he adds that Barack’s diplomatic impropriety incited more voters to caste “leave” on their ballots. I can’t understand how the White House could have been able to make such a gross error; I suspect the request may have been solicited from Downing St., but Obama erred in allowing himself to be involved this way.
P.S. 2, NY, 9:30 a.m.
La radicale on Brexit
I share the comment made by Emma Bonino on the British vote: What should Europe do now? Emma holds (in Italian)