I’ve been watching the Brexit debate in the UK with interest for months, but I never really believed the British public would vote Leave when it came down to it. I thought it would turn out like the Scottish independence referendum, and that in the end people would not vote for total chaos. Obviously, I was wrong. Here are some links to articles that make the most sense to me.
The Telegraph correspondent in Brussels provides the EU perspective, and it’s not encouraging. Britain may be having second thoughts, but it seems like the EU is eager to see this through, if only to warn other countries with right-wing populist movements who might think of separating.
Kenneth Rogoff argues that a simple majority vote was too low a bar for such a huge decision, which clearly seems to be the case at this point.
Glenn Greenwald takes this opportunity to look at the conditions that lead to people voting in favor of Brexit (or supporting Donald Trump) in the first place. It’s important for everyone to understand that voter frustration is real and in large part, legitimate. It’s being channeled into nationalism and racism in an incredibly toxic way, but those impulses are being fed by a global system that has proven disastrous for large chunks of what we used to think of as the middle class. If global institutions can’t offer voters a better deal, these kinds of votes are only going to become more common.
In the meantime, the pro-Leave politicians are already backpedaling on the promised benefits of exiting the EU.