As the June 23 referendum in the UK on whether to remain a part of the European Union draws to a close — with the European political establishment nervous as polls show the race well within the margin of error with remain at 45 percent and leave at 44 percent — one outcome is already clear.
Whatever consensus that once existed for continued economic and political globalization has been shattered — and probably by the very real consequences that have resulted from unbridled trade and immigration.
Lacking the consent of the governed, the European Union could be about to collapse under its own weight.
With the European economy on its heels with slow to no growth and some areas experiencing outright deflation, high youth unemployment and the continued turmoil in the Eurozone — plus the mass migration of Syrian war refugees — there are real anxieties being exposed as questions of additional integration come to the fore.
Win or lose, Brexit has already made its mark as a visible rebellion against these globalizing trends. Rebellions are often put down, so while a loss on the referendum would certainly be disappointing for those who supported leaving the EU — it is not necessarily surprising.
But it could be fueling Marine Le Pen’s run for president in France next year. Or the continued anti-euro currency movements in Italy, Greece and Spain which are challenging for significant legislative pluralities.
The fact that Brexit has come this far, compelling the European establishment to defend the ambitious project, is a victory in itself.
This despite a climate of fear imposed on the British people by media and political leaders, who threaten the UK with financial crisis or worse if Brexit actually succeeds.
In April, the Bank of England issued an unusual warning that Brexit would threaten the economy, saying, “Such a vote might result in an extended period of uncertainty about the economic outlook, including about the prospects for export growth. This uncertainty would be likely to push down on demand in the short run.”
The statement continued, “Uncertainty regarding the supply side of the economy might also increase, reflecting any alterations to product or labour market regulation, adjustments in labour flows or changes in the rate of technology adoption as a result of different arrangements governing foreign trade and capital flows. A vote to leave could have significant implications for asset prices, in particular the exchange rate.”
This is a clear pattern among financial institutions, which issue regular warnings every time voters or legislatures might democratically express their sovereignty. They issued warnings to Greece, when the subject of default or leaving the Eurozone came up. In the U.S., in 2008, when the issue of bailing out banks came up or in 2011 when the debt ceiling was being considered by Congress. Even tiny Iceland was threatened when the question of their own bank bailouts arose.
In short, if the globalist agenda is not being advanced, the political, media and financial establishment makes it known loudly, using fear and propaganda to great effect to push for a world without borders.
In the process, sovereign legislatures and peoples are compelled to vote and act against their own interests — with threats of retaliation, reprisal and recession.
But it’s all hot air.
Hopefully, the people of Great Britain will not give in to those fears — and instead look at the referendum on its merits. They need only ask if integration in the European Union, with its massive increases in immigration and trade across borders, has made the UK more prosperous.
The fact that the margin in the Brexit referendum is razor thin tells everyone what they need to know about whether the European Union has been good for the UK. If globalization was such a political and economic winner, this would not even be close.