Current Events Features

#Brexit For Dummies [read “Americans”]


BREXIT

For the past week you’ve either heard, read, and/or watched coverage on the mess in the U.K. called #Brexit where the citizens voted to leave the EU by a vote of 52% to 48%, and if you’re anything like me, you were probably left dazed and confused. So like every other curious knowledge seeking person on earth, I thought I’d go and investigate what the hell it’s about and let me tell ya my friends its quite interesting  boring. To help you, I’ve decided to bestow my new found understanding of the situation to you in a way it makes sense to a reality tv watching, video game playing idiot like myself.

EU

First and foremost, Brexit isn’t some fancy British word, it’s just the words British and Exit combined and it refers to the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU). Now that that’s out the way and you’re .01% smarter, lets get to the heavy stuff. For some of us, especially if you’re from the DMV area, when you see EU your mind automatically goes straight to Go-Go and “Doin The Butt” but unfortunately this is no time for ass shaking. The European Union is essentially a Eco-Political co-op made up of 28 european countries.  I’d list all the countries but do you really care to be THAT specific? Created after World War II, its purpose was to create economic cooperation through trade hoping that countries that traded together would be less likely to conflict due to their interdependence on one another. The EU is voluntary and ran democratically. So pretty much join if you want, everything is put to a vote and nothing is done without majority rule. It is the largest suppliers of humanitarian and developmental services in the world. It also created the Euro. Operates on approx. 150 billion Euro budget (166B dollars) of which the U.K. contributes about 12% (9B Euro 10B Dollars). 

There are 2 main figures in the center of this issue.

 

cameron

On one side you have the Prime Minister David Cameron, who resigned due to the decision to leave, we’ll label him head of the Stay Campaign.

On the other side you have Conservative Member of Parliament and Frontrunner to replace Cameron as Prime Minister Boris Johnson (upon first glance you’d think he was Gary Busey).

PM Cameron had proposed changes to their membership status in the EU that would’ve made the UK more independent but still remain as part of the single market. Johnson wanted sole independence. He wants the UK to make its own trade agreements and regain complete sovereignty. Basically the fear of the leave campaign is that the EU was headed towards more of a U.S. structure and inevitably becoming the United States of Europe. You have 28 countries that you’re free to travel through without a passport, that trade amongst each other, and are also self governed when it comes to issues of that country BUT just like the U.S. they’re subject to laws of a higher court. Here, we call that federal law they call it EU directives. So yeah that’s eerily close to the way things are run here. 

 

Although there are many issues involved in the decision to stay or leave, I’ve decided to pick out the 5 I believe are most essential.

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1. Money… because aint nothing more important than the mulah

Leave Campaign believes that the UK contributes too much money to the EU operating budget (12% of 150B Euros of which they actually get about a 1/4 of back due to rebates at year’s end) and thinks that that money could better utilized elsewhere like health care and schools. UK currently pays the EU 350M pounds a week.

Stay Campaign believes the benefit outweighs the cost. Although they don’t have a full 350M/wk to put into schools and healthcare there’s still a considerable amount being funneled that way. Also the UK would still have to contribute money to the EU for access to the goods and services in the single market.

2. Immigration… ‘Merica aint the only place fed up with migrants “taking” their jobs.

Leave Campaign says it’s impossible to control immigration through the EU due to the ability to roam freely. Also immigration drives wages down for british workers (because why pay you a decent living wage when I have these migrants working for next to nothing?).

Stay Campaign: Immigrants pay more in taxes. PM Cameron wanted lower pay for migrant workers and also wanted to ban them from sending money back to their homeland because it was taking money that could be spent and taxed in the UK away. For Stay, Immigration is a good thing because taxes and unemployment numbers were down.

3. Homeland Security

Leave Campaign : Back to the free roam stuff. 26 of the 28 EU countries are part of whats called the Schengen Area, which is basically run like one country. Within the Schengen Area you are free to come and go as you please without use of a passport. It’s like traveling between states. The Leave campaign says that this makes it easier for terrorists to enter the UK. The EU courts power over UK courts make deportation and prosecution harder.

Stay Campaign: Remember those 2 countries that are not part of the Schengen Area? Yeah one of them is the UK. Still need a valid passport fam.

4. Sovereignty… With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Leave Campaign: The laws enacted for the UK are largely made in a different country (Belgium). America turnt up last time someone tried to tell us what to do from 1000s of miles away. The one time the revolution actually came. Seriously, making laws for a country you’re not in is kind of out of touch. Technically yes every country has a representative present and the bill has to have 65% of the vote to be ratified but still there’s no backlash from the people when unfair laws are made because, again, the lawmakers are 1000s of miles away. Leaving gives the UK complete power back.

Stay Campaign: Well actually, Only a few laws are made in Belgium and even with that the UK still has veto power over important issues. PM Cameron proposed a deal that would allow UK parliament to block EU legislation and give them exclusivity. Also, shared sovereignty allows for fair trade. The word interdependence is very important.

5. Trade and Economy

Leave Campaign: FREEDOM!!! Well at least from regulation from the EU. The UK exports some of the world’s top motors, engines, and pharmaceutical products while importing large amounts of electronics and automotive. Without the EU telling them how much and what they can and can’t do, the UK would be able to negotiate their own trade deals.

Stay Campaign: Leaving would cause a shock to the economy and stunt growth. Companies like Morgan Stanley have already packed up and left for greener pastures. Leaving means taking jobs away and thusly an increase in unemployment which would then lead to an inevitable recession. Oh yeah and they’d still have to apply rules set forth by the EU to have access to the Single Market. 

How Brexit Affects The US

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You’re probably asking “What the hell does this have to do with me?” like the typical arrogant american. Well here’s why it affects you…

The UK is one of our largest trade partners. If companies start taking business out of the UK for other EU countries, like I said above, unemployment could rise causing a recession which would cause the US to take a big hit as well. Just look at how your 401K took a hit the day they voted to exit and the market took a slump.

An unstable Europe could lead to a collapse of the EU. If the UK is at all successful in leaving, other countries could then opt-out and try to follow and we all know you can’t base you success on the level of someone else’s. 

The UK leaving means that the US’s influence on the EU is now lessened. We used the UK as our mouthpiece to get our agenda out. That meant cheaper goods for you. That BMW you were looking at just got a little bit more expensive.

Trumps gonna say more dumb shit. He was gonna say more dumb shit regardless of the outcome but he’s gonna use this in his war on immigrants and spin it towards some lets take our country back rally cry. It’s gonna be quite disgusting.

Let’s end on a positive note. Your dollar is worth a hell of a lot more in the UK right now. Travel is cheaper so if you wanna go stand outside Buckingham Palace and mess with the guards or hopefully run up on Marouane Fellaini and tell him how much his hair and game sucks, right now is the time to do it. 

Hopefully this cleared up any questions you have about #Brexit. I hope you see this decision as a reminder that your right to vote is crucial to every decision made by your government. The decision to leave was largely voted on by out of touch elderly people. We can’t allow the old guard to ruin a world they won’t be in much longer. Exercise your right to vote because God knows if we don’t, Donald Trump will paint the white house gold and have you cutting your own grass because your mexican plug is back at home in Guadalajara.

 

references:

 http://europa.eu/about-eu/basic-information/about/index_en.htm

http://www.bbc.com

 

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