The choice made by a bit more than half of the adult Britons to exit the European Union has already triggered financial and political turmoil. In a short while the direct impact on people’s lives will start to materialize. Let’s count the most important adverse effects: the financial markets turmoil, the international trade fallout, the geostrategic repercussions all over the world, the recessionary pressures in the UK economy, the defence side effects and the possibility of a break up of the UK. And all that because David Cameron thought he could win the general election of May 2015, just by promising an in or out of the EU referendum. In any case, this newspaper was not convinced that Cameron’s choice to ‘remain’ was to prevail in the referendum and, actually, the European Sting reported that the blame game for the ‘leave’ eventuality had already started some days before the 23 June.
Still, it’s a bit early to discuss the various effects of last Thursday’s vote in Britain, which decided that the country should leave the EU. However, it’s now easier to understand why, not even the life of Jo Cox was enough, to convince more people to rethink and probably change their mind, about what they were about to commit. Let’s dig a bit deeper into that.
Despite the dangers
On more than one occasion, this newspaper has analyzed the dangers associated with a Brexit. The risks of such a bold decision were presented by all the major international economic organizations including the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD, the most important global banking groups and 90% of the London City. On top of that, the Bank of England, the governments of the most important countries of the world plus all the European nations, members or not of the EU, had concluded that Britain, Europe and the world would be a safer and better place with the UK in the EU.
Actually, Barack Obama, the President of the United States, traveled to Britain and personally supported David Cameron in the fight to convince his compatriots to vote ‘remain’. In short, the global financial, political and economic establishment had either advised for the ‘remain’ or issued severe threats against Brexit. In vain, 52% of the Brits voted to leave. Why?
Why not caring about the threats?
It’s not really a difficult answer. But first, a meticulous inquiry should take into account the fact that the French and the Dutch in 2005 voted to reject the ‘EU Constitution’, risking to freeze the EU for years. On top of that, it’s imperative to also understand why the Greeks voted ‘no’ last July, in a similar referendum, despite the imminent risk of a Grexit and a financial Armageddon for their already impoverished country. Unfortunately, in all those cases the will of the people was dumped and the governing elites did exactly the opposite. The new EU Treaty of Lisbon in practice introduced the changes the French and the Dutch people had rejected.
In the case of Greece the U-turn was even more evident. The Tsipras government accepted in August exactly what 63% of the Greeks had rejected in July. It’s obvious that the European people regularly vote against what the political and financial establishment asks them to do.
The reason is very simply that the ordinary wage earners and the unemployed, who are presently asked to compete with the Chinese and other third world producers in their own home markets in Europe and the US, do not trust any more the dominant global political and economic elites and so they take exactly the opposite direction. The EU is seen as the channel through which ‘globalization’ has invaded the EU and undermined the wellbeing and the rights of the working people. There is more to it however. Ordinary EU citizens feel that their leaders have never consulted them for the truly important issues touching their wellbeing and their rights.
In 2004 the EU took on board ten more countries without the new and the old member states’ citizen to be asked about that in referendums. Some years later in 2008, the same political and financial elites subsidized the totally bankrupt western financial system, with at least ten trillion of euro and dollars. The British establishment was again a kind of vanguard in this operation. It saved the Northern Rock Bank early in 2008 and later on in that year the London governing elite and the Bank of England rescued The Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyd’s TSB, HBOS, Alliance & Leicester, Bradford & Bingley and practically all the major Building Societies (real estate savings banks).
Hundreds of billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money was injected by the London political establishment in all those cases, but the responsible CEOs of all those banks got away, even pocketing hefty compensations. There was a time in Britain when the RBS’s CEO was hated by the public, as if he was a terrorist and a denier of global warming at the same time.
No Briton has forgotten what happened then and how protective the mainstream political system was towards the bankers, at the expenses of taxpayers and workers. Again, the EU acted as the broker of all that. That’s why the Brits listen to what Nigel Farage has to say against Brussels, about a global setup plotted by mainstream politicians and bankers and served by the EU. The way the EU confronted the financial crisis of 2008-2010 was revealing.
The EU supported the bankers
At the time of the financial meltdown the European Union and, of course, the European Central Bank, pressed hard all the governments to save each and every bank in their territory with taxpayers’ money. The case of Ireland was very characteristic and the British public opinion followed this affair very closely. The Irish taxpayers and the country’s government were forced to save the privately owned Anglo Irish Bank, under threats issued by the European Central Bank. The cost of that to the Irish exchequer was an entire annual GDP.
Two years later, the EU authorities decided to save lousy Greece and its banks again with EU taxpayers’ money. Regrettably enough, the EU didn’t introduce any controls and rules in the banking industry, so the flawed bankers are today as potent as then to send again the world to its knees. The Brits didn’t swallow that.
What about the immigrants?
There is more against Brussels though. The EU establishment has baptized a number of puppet Western Balkan ‘states’ and Turkey as ‘candidate countries’. It might not be a matter of today or tomorrow, but in some years time, Turkey and those impoverished Balkaneers will possibly become full EU member states, pouring millions of job hungry people into the rest of the EU.
The reassurances that Turkey’s full membership is not a matter of a few years didn’t convince many Britons. They had already seen hundreds of thousands of Polish workers ‘invade’ their labor market, inflating the profits of real estate developers and suppressing the wages of the local British construction workers.
People are angry
The anger of the average British worker had already been monitored in the last general elections. The UKIP, the anti-EU political formation of Nigel Farage, got 12.6% in May 2015 and came third in terms of votes. All those people do not just oppose the EU, they are sworn enemies of it. Most of the rest of the Brits are by default eurosceptic. Of course this is not only a British phenomenon.
In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Front is currently leading in polls. If Francois Hollande had the idea to now hold an in or out of the EU referendum in France, the outcome wouldn’t be much different than the one of last Thursday in Britain. The same is true for Italy, with the anti-EU Five Stars Movement of Beppe Grillo being currently the largest political force of the country.
The Brits are not the exception
In conclusion, the result of last Thursday’s referendum in Britain wasn’t a surprise, but rather a predictable eventuality. The bankers rule, the economic globalization and the immigrant invasion couldn’t be stomached by the Brits. The public sentiment in Britain was echoed in the US by the populist Donald Trump who supports the Brexit. If it wasn’t for the whole world advising and threatening the Brits to vote ‘remain,’ the Brexit would have probably got more than 60%. Still, the entire world’s pressing demand to vote ‘remain’ may have worked negatively to some extent. In any case, as things turned out, the whole world’s support was not enough to tip the balance.
It’s a fact then, that the wage earners and the unemployed in the western world have lost faith in mainstream politics and support extremists and harlequins like Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen, Beppe Grillo and Donald Trump. Presently, if the same EU referendum in any Union country is held right now, it is highly probable that the results would be the same as the British one.
No, the Brits are not an exception. This kind of mistrust of people towards mainstream political and business leaders was evident last Saturday in Iceland, with the election of a professor of history as President, who says he has never joined a political party. Iceland has suffered much from the 2008-2010 financial crisis. It’s obvious that the Europeans are rejecting all the established political and business leaders and ideologies and are looking for fresh leadreship.