In this video produced be Democracy Now! Brexit is debated, analyzed and discussed in detail – from the reasons why people chose to opt out of the European Union to what we can expect in the near and long term – both on the continental level as well the domestic situation in Great Britain. What makes this video quite interesting is that both experts are from the British left and took opposite positions pertaining to Britain’s exit from the EU. Joseph Choonara, the Socialist Workers spokesperson for Lexit (Left Leave campaign), campaigned on an anti-EU platform whereas, Alex Scrivener, policy officer at Global Justice Now, campaigned with Another Europe is Possible, the left campaign for Britain to remain in the EU.
In this video produced by The Real News Network, John Hilary and John Weeks discuss the meaning and impact of Britain’s historic 52-48 vote to leave the European Union.
- What does Brexit mean for the left as well progressive and labour movements?
- Does the Brexit empower the right within and across the European Union?
- Why did the people of Britain chose to leave the European Union?
- What role did neoliberalism and the European Union play in all of this?
- How will Brexit effect British politics in the near and long term?
John Weeks is a professor emeritus of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and author of Economics of the 1%: How Mainstream Economics Serves the Rich, Obscures Reality and Distorts Policy. John Hilary is Executive Director of War on Want. He has worked in the global justice movement for the past 25 years, and has published widely on issues of globalisation, trade policy and workers’ rights. His report on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), published by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, has been translated into 12 European languages.
Recommended Article: British Exit From EU Not Inevitable, Despite ReferendumArticle by Robert Mackey via The Intercept Mackey starts the article by talking about the absence of a formal declaration to the European Union from the UK:
In the first hours after the British public voted to exit the European Union, amid all sorts of triumphal statements and recriminations, one declaration was notably absent: the formal notification to the EU that the United Kingdom intends to leave the organization, which is required to start the clock on negotiations for a departure.Mackey proceeds by writing that Boris Johnson, the person most likely to take office after David Cameron, was hesitant to start off Britain’s exiting process as soon as possible:
“In voting to leave the EU, it is vital to stress that there is no need for haste,” Johnson said, “and indeed, as the prime minister has just said, nothing will change over the short term, except that work will have to begin on how to give effect to the will of the people and to extricate this country from the the supranational system.” Given that the popular mandate his side had just won was summed up in a single word on the backdrop behind him, “Leave,” it seemed odd that Johnson made no mention of the fastest way to get that process started, by pressing for an immediate Article 50 declaration.Mackey goes on to further explain that the Brexit vote could be used by Johnson as a bargaining chip, a tactic Johnson had mentioned in February when he first joined the “Leave” campaign:
The reason could be that Johnson has something very different in mind: a negotiated compromise that would preserve most of the benefits of EU membership for British citizens and businesses but still satisfy the popular will to escape the attendant responsibilities and costs.
In this context, it is important to keep two things in mind. First, it was Johnson himself who suggested, when he joined the Leave campaign in February, that a vote to depart could be used as a stick to negotiate not a full departure from the EU, but a better deal for the UK. “There is only one way to get the change we need, and that is to vote to go, because all EU history shows that they only really listen to a population when it says ‘No,’” Johnson wrote then. “It is time to seek a new relationship, in which we manage to extricate ourselves from most of the supranational elements.”Lastly Mackey surfaces an astonishing fact that the majority of voters were not aware of:
Second, as the legal blogger David Allen Green has explained clearly, the measure Britons just voted for “was an advisory not a mandatory referendum,” meaning that it is not legally binding on the government. No matter who the prime minister is, he or she is not required by the outcome to trigger Article 50. And, despite what senior figures in the EU and its other states might say, there is no way for them to force the UK to invoke Article 50.