Back in the summer of 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum on what future this nation would seek. There were two choices the British people had to vote on, remain with the European Union or leave the bureaucratic organization. The time leading up to the elections on June 23 were anything but dandy, rife with intense debates covering economics to politics and even morality at times. At the end of it all, the majority of the British people voted to leave the European Union and cement Parliamentary sovereignty over the affairs of the United Kingdom. In this article, I will explore the reasons behind the leave movement’s victory and touch upon where Brexit stands today.
It is no secret that the European Union is run by technocrats who see it fit to establish huge amounts of bureaucratic red tape and regulations that all the Union members must abide by. These technocrats are appointed, not elected through democratic processes as has been the Western tradition for the past few centuries. Free from the pressures of voting blocks, the bureaucrats running the European Union have a much higher degree of operational freedom than traditional politicians are able to enjoy. This was one major contributing factor behind the leave campaign since they argued that these unaccountable bureaucrats were able to abuse their power with little to no consequences, and were free to set agendas that would otherwise not be approved of by the people affected.
Another question that needed answering during this time regarded the sovereignty and supremacy of the British Parliament. Historically, the final say regarding British laws rested on the hands of Parliament. This was a contributing factor to the United Kingdom’s lack of full-fledged membership within the European Union, opting instead for a slightly more economical and political separation compared to other European countries. With the expansion of the European Union’s bureaucracy and regulations however Parliamentary sovereignty began to come under question. Many leave proponents were worried that many of the relevant decisions that would affect all of the United Kingdom would be outsourced to the EU technocrats.
In the beginning, there were some valid reasons for joining the European Union. Some of the main reasons include the access to a relatively free trade zone, and a standardized set of rules and regulations for member state corporations to abide by, facilitating inter-state operations. Over time, however, with the increasing centralization of the EU bureaucracy, and the simultaneous expansion of the regulatory burden the member states had to face, the value that the EU had to offer to the United Kingdom began to fall under question.
Arguably one of the biggest driving forces behind the leave movement was the issue of immigration and the changing demographics of the United Kingdom. Thanks to the Schengen Agreement, European Union members accepted the rights of member citizens to move freely across the borders of member nations. With the immigration crisis that has been affecting Europe recently, this agreement led to an immigration crisis due to the ease of access immigrants had in reaching the United Kingdom. This rapid influx of foreign-born individuals put a strain on public services and has created many concerns regarding demographics and integration. As a response, many leave proponents wanted Parliamentary sovereignty in order to allow the British people to impose stricter immigration controls to stem the flow of these migrants.
Because of these, and many other reasons, a sufficient amount of British voters believed it was in their country’s best interest to separate from the European Union. The referendum was a binding one, with Parliament being obliged to comply with the result. As we have seen, however in the past two years since the leave voters won, Parliament has been reluctant at best, and obstructive at worst, in negotiating successfully on behalf of the British people against the European Union. On top of this, there is reluctance on the part of the EU to cooperate with this process of separation with the UK. It is my opinion, considering all of the events that have occurred in the past few years, that a hard Brexit is the best course of action for England. I can only hope that the leaders on both sides can cooperate so as to make this a reality.