A twist of fate called Brexit

The reasons why the majority had voted to leave are numerous, but three major factors played a key role in determining the result

Maria Dubovikova

Published: Updated:

Thomas Mair has won. Jo Cox has failed. No, this is not ascertaining the recent murder of the brilliant British MP, but an allegorical description of the results of the Brexit vote. The British people have rejected the several advantages of life in the European family. They said no to refugees and yes to nationalism; probably yes to disintegration.

The reasons why the majority had voted to leave are numerous, but three major factors played a key role in determining the result. First is the traditional, geographically predetermined, British nationalism, which received a strong boost since the strengthening of Brussels influence and power, since the beginning of the refugee crisis and the rise of xenophobia and Islamophobia. Secondly, it was also about irresponsible attitude toward the referendum itself.

According to recent data, “leave” voters now avow that they would re-vote to “stay” if the second referendum were offered. This is because, while voting to “leave” they could not actually imagine that such a scenario is really possible in their country. Thirdly, it is elementary ignorance of basic understanding of matters related to vote.

Many people voted not by using their mind, but intuition, or just by chance, plunging their country into a crisis in the process. Churchill’s famous quote is relevant here: “The best argument against a democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter!” This average voter has apparently thrown a huge stone in the system that generations have been constructing brick by brick.

In the current situation, the resignation of David Cameron looks like an act of cowardice. He played with the European Union, tried to arm-twist Brussels and pushed it to give Britain more preferences. He basically overplayed the entire thing. It was he who started the Brexit story. He had to be the one to accept the results no matter what they were. To start a fight and then to retreat from the battlefield is something lacking nobility.

Cameron has now left it to someone else to solve the problem he caused. His resignation is not a punishment, but a rescue, because to lead the country after such vote and such decision would have been the true punishment for him. Matthew Norman wrote in The Independent, that Cameron “will go down in history as the Prime Minister who killed his country”.

It should also be admitted that David Cameron would have hardly launched a debate over Brexit if he had known that the vote would be “to leave”. He was sure of the opposite result.

There is also something wrong with the election survey these days. They depict a false picture to the public and provide inaccurate trends. Badly conducted surveys are dangerous for referendums.

EU structure

Brexit is wrong even though one should admit that the European Union is not an ideal structure and that its political system does not work properly. Instead of harmonizing the policies of the member states, it follows the diktat of Brussels, dominated by Berlin over entire Europe. And if one adds to this cocktail the influence Washington exerts on Brussels, then in my opinion, it pushes the EU in a direction most favorable to the US. Either way, the political imperfection of the union is obvious.

But its economic component, the freedom of movement without limitations, opportunity to work wherever you want within the borders of the Union – all of this is something that should not be wasted. The system needs to be safeguarded by all parties involved. And to refuse the advantages of the economic unity and social mobility appears wrong, if not silly.

The Brexit vote is a blot in the history of integration and globalization. This is now beginning of a new chapter for the European Union. It appears that the countries are not only willing to join this union but to leave as well. The possibility of domino effect remains. To cope up with these, countries would prefer to close their borders and try to tackle challenges at a national level.

Russia would be happy with the disruption of NATO. But as far as the European Union is concerned, Moscow wants it to be strong

Maria Dubovikova

Some political figures and the media congratulated Vladimir Putin over the referendum results and insinuated that the “leave” vote is his personal victory. Such statements are uncalled for. Russia would be happy with the disruption of NATO. But as far as the European Union is concerned, Moscow wants it to be strong. And the stronger, the better.

To United Kingdom, where Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay, this referendum promises the loss of these parts in the long term. It literally means the beginning of the collapse of what was once one of the most influential states in the world. And the separatist movement in Scotland and Northern Ireland may finally find the strength to call for independence, something they had been fighting for centuries. There is still a probability that the second referendum will be held, which could save the situation. However such a decision would look awkward, at the least.

It’s a twist of fate that the foundations of a European Union were laid down by a British Prime Minister and another British Prime Minister has undermined these foundations precisely 70 year later. What started with Winston Churchill has ended with David Cameron.
Maria Dubovikova is a President of IMESClub and CEO of MEPFoundation. Alumni of MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations [University] of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia), now she is a PhD Candidate there. Her research fields are in Russian foreign policy in the Middle East, Euro-Arab dialogue, policy in France and the U.S. towards the Mediterranean, France-Russia bilateral relations, humanitarian cooperation and open diplomacy. She can be followed on Twitter: @politblogme

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