THE UK VOTES TO LEAVE THE EU: MY PERSPECTIVE

Charlotte, NC, June 24, 2016—Tonight, the news from London saddens me, although I feel excited to hear it live on BBC radio, first over the BBC channel on SiriusXM satellite radio, then in the BBC broadcast on WFAE, FM public radio (NPR affiliate, Charlotte, NC). It is already early morning in London.
     People in the United Kingdom (UK) have voted to leave the European Union (EU), according to the call of the BBC. The UK government has not declared a winner or loser, officially, yet, however. According to the BBC, various major newspapers in Europe have followed the lead of the BBC and called it for the “Brexit” side, or the leave side, in their morning headlines.
     Although I supported the remain side, the side to remain in the EU, out of a spirit of internationalism, I respect and affirm the result of the democratic vote, the referendum, on this issue. As a socialist, I champion democracy, as a value, and fundamental to that principle is the necessity of accepting and respecting the outcomes and results of a vote. Also, the fate and direction of each European country, including the UK, is entirely up to the people in that country, I believe. Therefor, although I have an opinion (and my side lost), that fact does not matter. What matters is what the voting public of the UK has said in their vote.
     My internationalist opinion arises out of my identity as an American, with the politics I already described. Also, I am Catholic, who, like so many American Catholics, forms my own opinion on the subject. I do not know, actually, any official opinion or opinions from the Catholic Church on the question, but that position would not matter to me. It would have made food for thought, though. My higher point here is that my political connection to the UK supersedes any religious connection I have. We are talking politics, not religion.
     Also, I am English, Scottish, and Italian by heritage and identity. I am witnessing the Europeans in Europe being… well… European. Historically, over the longer arc of history, Europeans have differences among… ourselves. Although Britain, i.e., “Brexit,” just voted to leave the European Union, no one can deny that the English, Scottish, Northern Irish, and Guernseyians, presumably, all of whom voted in the UK referendum, no one can deny their essential European identity. Ironically enough, voting to exit the EU only highlights their quintessential European identity.
     I would be a member of the Labour Party in England and Scotland. I think they should continue to support their internationalist vision for society, as a social democratic/democratic socialist party in Europe. Obviously, like all parties in the UK, the Labour Party should accept and respect the results of the referendum.
     It is a sad day for David Cameron, British Prime Minister. They say on the radio that he is done for, politically. His future in office is probably, as they say in America, toast. His side lost on the issue. In their parliamentary democracy, that is generally what happens over there, in the UK. Not in America, of course, but we are less democratic that way.
     Over here in America, however, we vote directly for the president. In the UK, they are less democratic, in that they do not vote directly for the Prime Minister. If I am not mistaken, they vote for their local Party member-of-parliament, who in their republican form of democracy, then chooses their Prime Minister along Party lines, and with any potential coalitions. A lot of people make a lot of hey out of our winner-take-all system, in America, but we do actually have a direct democracy structure for our direct vote for our president.
     Of course, General George Washington deferred on being our King, and insisted on some other office at the time. Hence, our directly elected President. In England and Scotland, there is still a King, and/or Queen, at this time… Queen Elizabeth II. Thank God.
     I am invested, emotionally, to find out what happens next in the UK government. Will there or will there not be a new election for Parliament, will David Cameron resign, and will they or will they not form a new government, with a new Prime Minister, a new Party, or not?
     Also, what will Scotland do? I am Scottish, myself, but I am wholly in favor of remaining with England in the UK. I know Scotland also lost the referendum, in terms of the popular vote. The City of London lost, also. I hope Scotland remains with England, and does not so something silly like leave and try to re-align with the rest of Europe. In fact, I hope Scotland does not even vote again on the subject of their national alignment.
      What of Europe? Well, if England follows the example of the nation of Italy, then maybe David Cameron has a chance. There, for example, in Italy, Prime Ministers have been known to re-take office. Who knows what that could mean for Mr. Cameron? He does not own any media outlets, so far as I know, but maybe he can pull off a political comeback after this electoral loss. Goodbye Europe, hello England and Scotland and, of course, hello Italy!
     Hooray for Europe, hooray for Britain, hooray for the vote, so sad for the results. All that we can do on the remain side, all we can do is accept the outcome, and move on.

—Nicholas Patti

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