Monday, June 27, 2016

With Brexit, Seniors just screwed up the youth

The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered”. These were the words of David Cameron after nationalist Eurosceptic voters chose to leave the EU and brought Cameron’s premiership to an abrupt end.

The consequences of Brexit vote are rolling fast and furiously. The value of the pound tumbled and markets crashed. Half of the Labour party’s top team is set to resign in what is seen as a bid to force Jeremy Corbyn to resign as leader of the Labour party. Mr. Corbyn’s commitment to the Remain campaign as been described as a study in reluctance.

A second Scotland referendum is imminent. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish government would prepare legislation to enable another independence vote because with Brexit Scotland, where 62 percent voted to Remain would be taken out of the EU against their will. Similarly, in Northern Ireland where 56 percent voted to Remain has motivated speculation about the possibility a unity referendum to unite with the Republic of Ireland.

Two weeks ago, IMF published an analysis of the consequences of Brexit. In one scenario Britain plunges into recession in 2017, unemployment rises to seven percent by 2018 and real wages stagnate because of high inflation. But last Thursday, June 23, UK voters chose to leave the EU. Cameron had drafted in Obama to help the Stronger In campaign. In April Obama warned that the United States would be more interested in doing trade deals with a "big bloc" like the EU than a single nation like the United Kingdom. But even Obama’s exhortation to remain failed to persuade voters.

Brexit is a catastrophic blow to the process of European integration. Voters in France, Italy and Netherlands are demanding their own votes on EU membership. Mindful of mass exodus from the EU, German Chancellor Angela Merkel cautioned that the other 27 members of the EU should “not draw hasty and simplified conclusions from the British vote that would only divide Europe further”.

Two people think Brexit is an inevitable fortune. Vladimir Putin is gloating. He thinks Brexit was a comprehensible consequence of “arrogance and a superficial approach from the British leadership to issues that are vital to the UK”. Speaking in Scotland a day after the referendum, Republican presidential flag bearer Donald Trump said Brexit made total sense because the vote mirrored the anger and despondency smoldering among Americans about the economy, jobs, immigration and border control.

Brexit is a vote against UK’s future. Youth strongly favored Remain, with 75 percent of citizens aged below 24 voting to stay in the EU. Young people will face the consequences of Brexit for longer. They must feel screwed over by their parents’ votes.

Britain is stronger in the EU and Leave voters must regret June 23. Brexit underlines a cataclysmic failure of leadership by UK’s political class. Why was such an incredibly complex decision left with the citizens, most of whom have no clue what the EU is about?

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