Thursday, June 23, 2016

Britain votes for Brexit

They did it. The British voters voted "Leave" on the EU referendum.

Oliver Wright reports in Farage's dream. Britain's nightmare? UK votes to leave EU as pound plunges to 31-year low Independent 06/24/2016:

The result will now trigger a process of British withdrawal from the European Union and quite possibly another referendum for an independent Scotland.

Labour said David Cameron should “seriously consider his position”. He is not expected to make a formal statement until after the official result is declared.

The Ukip leader Nigel Farage claimed victory, saying that “dawn was breaking on an independent United Kingdom”. Provocatively he said he hoped the vote would be a catalyst for the complete collapse of the European Union.

The polling expert Professor John Curtice said Labour supporters appeared to have defied pleas from their party to support Britain’s membership of the EU – tipping the scales in favour of Brexit.
John Judis had some interesting thoughts on Thursday about how Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn might be affected by his enthusiastic support for Remain (Will Corbyn's Unreserved Opposition to Brexit Doom the Labour Party? TPM 06/23/2016):

Now here's how the politics parses. Under Tony Blair, Labour had adopted a strategy similar to Bill Clinton in the United States of wooing the white-collar middle and upper-middle class. That kind of strategy can work if you still have the confidence of working class voters and if the opposition is the cranky rightwing. But it will fail absymally if you lose the confidence of working class voters and if the opposition moves to the center. That’s what happened in the last British election where Labour got drubbed.

I had thought Jeremy Corbyn’s mandate was to bring working class voters back into Labour after they deserted in the last election, but I was mistaken. Corbyn has repudiated Tony Blair’s foreign policy, but he has adopted something like his political strategy. The difference is that while Blair’s economic politics reflected high-tech professionals, Corbyn’s seems to reflect the Bohemian, far left segments of the professional classes who spurn any hint of nationalism in their outlook. That’s a recipe for political isolation and desolation. Labour can, of course, make a comeback. One can imagine that if “Leave” wins, there will be a split in the Conservative Party that might open the way for Labour. But if “Remain” wins, the Tories will emerge victorious and Labour will have further alienated the people it needs to win elections.
There will be endless postmortems for weeks, years, decades. Simon Wren-Lewis presents an important context for how the immigration issue played in the Brexis vote in this pre-vote piece, Why do people want less EU immigration? Mainly Macro 06/23/2016:

What people miss is that EU migrants pay tax, which could fund public services. Indeed EU migrants tend to be young, so they are likely to pay more tax in than they are likely to take out from using public services. It is why the OBR believes that restrictions on immigration would hurt the public finances.

Which means that in reality EU migration creates more resources that allows the government to spend more on the NHS and other public services. Not only do EU migrants pay for themselves in this respect, they also make access easier for natives. Add in the negative impact of making trade with the EU more difficult, and it is clear that Brexit would have a negative impact on public services. No wonder Dr Sarah Wollaston switched sides.

Yet this is an argument David Cameron was reluctant to make, because it raises an obvious question. If EU migration is not the reason why the NHS is in crisis, what is? The answer is that his government has chosen to shrink the share of national income going to the NHS, when there are good reasons why this share should be rising. In other words the government has taken the taxes EU migrants pay, and used them to cut taxes or cut the deficit. Because Cameron will not make the case for why EU migration helps the NHS, that case is not heard by voters. Instead they are told all the time that the NHS has been 'protected'. Hence the poll result.
The EU has real problems. Here is one of my fairly recent posts on it: Long-festering problems in the EU 12/27/2016.

A few other reports on Brexit:

Sinead Cruise and Lawrence White, Clouds over Britain's financial sector after Brexit vote Reuters 06/24/2016

Anushka Asthana et al, Britain votes for Brexit after dramatic night leaves nation divided Guardian 06/24/2016

Patrick Wintour, Britain has voted to leave the EU – what happens next? Guardian 06/24/2016: "On the assumption there is no turning back, or collective buyer’s remorse, Britain will live with the political, constitutional, diplomatic and economic consequences for a decade or more."

George Parker and Michael Mackenzie, UK votes for Brexit in EU referendum, triggering market shockwaves Financial Times 06/24/2016

Ian Wishart, Brexit’s First 100 Days Promise Chaos, Fear, Damage Limitation Bloomberg News 06/13/2016

Anoosh Chakelian, Britain votes to leave the European Union New Statesman 06/24/2016

Eric Reguly, Cameron gamble fails as Britain votes to leave EU Globe and Mail 06/23/2016

No comments: