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Rule Brexitannia

Rule Brexitannia

Britain will no longer be a member of the E.U following Thursday's #Brexit referendum - (Adobe Stock Photo)

Britain will no longer be a member of the E.U following Thursday's #Brexit referendum - (Adobe Stock Photo)

Really, am I still not mainstream if I'm on the same page as the current British Prime Minister who's also the leader of the @Conservatives? At least on this one I was...

The British economy is already feeling the impacts of the #Leave win.

The pound sterling fell to a 30-year record low and there is speculation on how long this will continue for. According to the Wall Street Journal citing Morgan Stanley, TD Securities, and HSBC the pound could fall to somewhere between $1.20 and $1.25 sometime by the end of the year.

But more importantly, the political future and "unity" of the United Kingdom seems frail when one contrasts the total vote with what happened in Scotland.

#Brexit Facts

Turnout was 72%
17, 410, 742 voted in favor of #Leave.
16, 141, 241 voted in favor of #Remain.

That's 52% to 48%.

#Brexit - Total Share of the Vote

Source: Guardian.  

Meanwhile in Scotland

All 32 council areas voted #Remain.
Of the 2.8 million votes cast:
62% voted in favor of #Remain
38% voted in favor of #Leave
Turnout was 67.2%

#Brexit Vote in Scotland

Source: BBC News. 

Which makes this Donald Trump tweet so bizarre. If we're talking about Scotland that is...

Trump tweeted after he landed in Scotland on Friday while on a business trip which included a visit to his Turnberry golf course in Ayrshire.

He is right on some of the "parallels" that can be drawn between what's going on in the U.K and the U.S.

One in particular is that the "rise of the right" isn't propelled by the young or the highly educated. These key demographics don't seem to be subscribed to hard-line views on immigration. 

An Ipsos/MORI study showed that 6 in 10 #Leave voters thought immigration had a "bad impact on Britain" while only 1 in 5 #Remain voters shared the opinion.  Most educated voters in the U.K in sharp contrast with UKIP and other right wing sympathizers voted to #Remain in the E.U. Studies in America show that Trump's base doesn't appear to be concentrated on the young or the highly educated.

How Old and How Educated?

Remain v. Leave Vote - Broken Down by Education Level

Source: YouGov Poll

When the results are broken down by age we find that that "the future generations" of Britain wanted to remain in the E.U.

Remain v. Leave Vote - Broken Down by Age Groups

Source: YouGov Poll

Sample Size: 4,772 UK Adults. Fieldwork: 23rd June 2016. Source: YouGov Poll. 

The fact that the youngest British voters (less than 50 years old) supported the #Remain camp brings into question the timing of the referendum and the impact on future generations of Britons who will not be living in an E.U member country.

For Party or Country?

Writing in the Financial Times Former Deputy Prime Minister and former Liberal Democrats Leader @nick_clegg speaks to both these issues when he says:

"I am angry that my children’s future has been put at risk by a needless referendum."

But Clegg's piece directly addresses the Conservative party's inner political rifts. Where it seems those on the "Leave" camp will now try to gain leadership as P.M. David Cameron announced he will resign by October. Was this an attempted "two birds with one stone" looking for public confidence in both country and party leadership?

Clegg seems to believe that in this case, for the conservatives it was more about party than country:

"The message for internationalist, pro-European politicians in all parties is clear: we must never again allow our national interest to be hijacked by internal party feuds," he writes.

But I also share a feeling towards Cameron's defeat that goes beyond politics.

In my view the Tories will have a hard time replacing someone with his leadership, vision, and talent.

I hope history will be kinder to the Prime Minister for his decision to move forward. 

In a similar way I hope history will be kinder to Clegg for his own big political gamble when he chose to lead the Liberal Democrats into the 2010-2015 coalition government with the Conservatives.

For there will be a before and after the "Cameron years" and it began six years ago...

David Cameron and Nick Clegg shake hands on the steps of Number 10 Downing Street before getting to the business of running the country. via @ODN

In retrospect those seemed to be more hopeful times.

UPDATE - MARCH 14 2017

Rereading my original piece from last June, I can't help but think how "soft" I was on David Cameron. Maybe it was too early, maybe I held back fearing sourcing bias up until the Brexit vote. On the surface it seemed to be a perfectly free and fair referendum. But the truth is voters were ill-informed and the press never really pressed the hard right enough or got to the "backstage" of the Conservative party's plans (or lack of) until it was too late.

Claims from the #Leave campaign were exposed as total BS and Theresa May's tenure as Prime Minister revealed an astounding degree of ambiguity towards future possible deals with Europe (access to the single market, the future of EU citizens in the UK, etc.) and yet her government has to this day jealously kept all the cards and it seems to have thoroughly strived to leave parliament out of any possible say in these negotiations.

Moments like her meaningless call for a "red, white, and blue Brexit" or the Foreign Secretary's casual dropping of, “I think that actually, as it happens, we would be perfectly OK if we weren’t able to get an agreement, but I’m sure that we will”, should have raised serious concerns in parliament, the press, and the public. Now it seems nothing can prevent Britain from crashing out of a "postwar liberal world order" which it helped to create and was arguably one of the greatest examples of its success.

Looking back on May's words, how are they in any way reassuring? More than anything they seem to be cynically crafted slogans to carefully avoid giving any specifications or details about any future deal.

I'm sorry to reach a dismal conclusion, but it really doesn't look like Cameron ever played to lose. And it looks like Scotland will be able to bail out from this mess in a year or two. It also seems Nick Clegg was right when he said this government is about to "collide with reality".

On the bright side, there is hope in younger generations, who by the way rejected this decision in large numbers. There's no reason to think they won't be able to reverse the damage and division this government will always be remembered for. But it will likely take many years. Especially if Scotland gets off this boat.

I for one will not forget Clegg's speech denouncing how this government "decided to spurn all friendship links with Europe". 

As it stands, it is beyond me how anyone thought this was ever a good idea.

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