On Thursday June 23, the Leave side for Brexit prevailed: 52 per cent to 48 per cent. It seemed for a time as though the world had been turned upside down. I’ve danced about the edge of many a conversation claiming how it’s a victory for racism, Britain made the wrong choice, and voters were so horribly out-of-the-loop and misinformed. My own contributions have been virtually nonexistent.
Fact of the matter is that I wasn’t very aware of the exact conditions of Brexit. I could no more list a lengthy column of “pros” than I could “cons” for Britain skipping ship. And for that reason, I was more than okay with my silence. Speaking ignorantly on a subject is one of the most dangerous things we can do, yet unfortunately seems to be a calling card of millennials. Millennials want to be a part of the discussion. We want to be involved. We want emotion. How loud has been the cry for the referendum’s result to be axed? But how many, honestly and truly, can speak to the impact—both positive and negative—of Brexit? How many can actually converse on the topic with more than the regurgitated backwash they’ve heard from a friend who’s supposedly in the know?
Control of its [Britain’s] own borders (a point often too quickly buried under racist accusations to be debated) is just one detail affected by Brexit. In the National Post Rex Murphy touched on some of the issues with significantly less fanfare, “Do any of the Remain campaigners acknowledge the great file of complaints that has grown over the last decade about the EU’s style of governance, its increasing distance from any superintending authority other than its own, its absolute divorce from democratic responsibility and the furiously paternalistic and near-imperial manner in which it treats the representatives and citizens of its member states?”
Staunch members of the Remain camp are quick to point out that the EU accounts for 44 per cent of Britain’s exports; the fact that Britain’s EU exports have actually fallen 10 per cent since 2000 is breezed by. Further still, the EU’s hold on global GDP has dropped from 30 per cent in 1993 to 24 per cent in 2013—a figure that illustrates how the rest of the world is growing faster than the EU. In addition, EU trade with Britain isn’t just going to go away. Germany, to use a top example, only exports to two other countries in the world more than to Britain. EU countries need Britain as much, if not more, than Britain needs them.
My conservative upbringings have left me with a tendency to think critically and to prefer the story of numbers, because while you can lie with statistics, not having the figures there in the first place renders it awfully difficult to produce hard evidence. But in this case, I’m at a loss. Numbers would suggest Brexit is a good idea and the politicians who planned for the scenario are on to something; however, the aftermath has proved to be anything but clear. David Cameron resigned, expected. Boris Johnson withdrew from the Conservative leadership race after Michael Gove stepped in (and all but openly blackmailed Johnson)? Politics. Nigel Farage took his leave from UKIP after his “political ambition has been achieved”? Hasn’t it just started? And now Theresa May, a Remain supporter, appears to have the inside edge. Even for politics, these waters are disturbingly murky.
I’m definitely a broken record by this point, but make sure you do your own research before sounding off on current events. If we, the mis-/under- informed, are complaining about misinformed voters, aren’t we just contributing to the problem?