Rule Britannia

Gregory White, Reporter

You may have heard about the UK’s plan to leave the European Union, and thought it was crazy, or you may have supported it based on where you live. But why would the UK  try to leave in the first place? Well, that story dates back nearly as far back as a European Community has existed.  

The term “Brexit” means “British Exit,” referring to the British plan to leave the EU. Believe it or not, the United Kingdom or the UK trying to leave a joint European community dates back to 1975. The UK had just joined the European Economic Community (E.E.C.) 2 years previously, and a referendum was being held in the UK over whether it should leave the E.E.C. because the UK was making larger payments to the E.E.C. for its budget— more than most other countries. 

So what caused Brexit to start back up again? There are so many different reasons and factors, one being the Economy. In the Single Market Economy, the countries will be affected by the success of other countries, and at the time. Southern Europe had an extremely high unemployment rate and a weak economy. Another reason was the UK’s fear of losing its autonomy( Ability to govern itself), and to be able to control who gets into the country, more specifically immigrants coming from European countries..

So, a referendum was held in 2016 with a result of 51.9 percent voting to leave. After that, a series of negotiations began between the British Parliament and the European Union. 

So if the referendum was back in 2016 why has Brexit not happened yet? Well so far British Parliament and the EU have failed to compromise on what kind of trade agreement they will settle on, or as there referred to, “Different Kinds of Brexits.” There are a few different kinds of Brexits that could take place. Number one would be a no-deal Brexit where Britain would cease negotiations and put up a customs border immediately. British citizens living in the EU would become illegal aliens, making it very hard for them to be able to move around to get back to the UK, not to mention that it would mean they have to move to either try to apply for citizenship or move back to the UK Business would also be severely affected by this.

Thankfully, both sides have agreed that this is a pretty bad idea. The other options would be where Britain’s agreements somewhat mimic the EU arrangements made by other outside countries, all of which seem to follow a similar idea which I call “Not Quite the EU,” where these countries are not in the EU, however, are part of a single European Market, where almost all trade barriers are removed, including tariffs and customs checks.

Another issue with Brexit is certain areas and territories are affected by Brexit much more than others. In Gibraltar, a British territory in the south of Spain, smaller than Wantagh with a population of over 35,000, people voted to stay in the E.U. with a result of 96 percent voting to stay. The reason behind this is that the EU’s Schengen Zone allowing for goods and people to pass through certain EU countries without having to go through border control. The issue with Gibraltar is that they rely completely on imports for food and goods and if border control was to have to check each shipment coming in, that could slow down shipping by a significant amount, preventing food, medicine, and other important items from reaching people when they need it.

 Another territory affected more severely by Brexit is Northern Ireland. After Ireland was given its freedom, Northern Ireland was kept by the UK. Since the day it was decided that Northern Ireland would stay a UK territory, there was anger and unrest. Northern Irish people were tired of British control. . Groups in Ireland such as the IRA would cause problems for border control, with the possibility of attacks on guards and their posts. 

Some benefits for the UK leaving the E.U. might include things like no longer having to pay membership fees, and there might be benefits that we can’t predict yet, but other than that the benefits are very limited when compared to the cons which include things like the slowing of trade, having to pay tariffs, less military protection from the EU, and a whole plethora of other downsides. But the only way to see how this will play out is for it to happen, so until then, enjoy the way things are.