Is Brexit the First of Many Dominoes?
Markets have been turned upside down by a surprise Brexit result and the resignation of David Cameron. While there is looming uncertainty around how this will affect the United Kingdom and Europe from an economic perspective, it might be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of long-run consequences.
A Brexit opens the door for future events that would be previously unfathomable by popular opinion, and it gives vital ammunition to groups that are seeking their own referendums for independence.
As the UK ship distances itself from European docks, there are two passengers that may have been more comfortable remaining on shore.
While England and Wales voted to “Leave” with 53.4% and 52.5% respectively, Scotland and Northern Ireland were both firmly in “Remain” territory. Scotland, which previously held its own independence referendum in 2014, voted overwhelmingly to have the UK remain in the EU with a 62% vote. Northern Ireland had a similar sentiment with 55.8% voting “Remain”.
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said today that a second independence referendum for Scotland is “highly likely”. She feels Scotland was taken out of the EU against its own will, and that Scottish independence is worth revisiting.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland has echoed these calls, instead potentially looking at voting on a united Ireland. Northern Ireland is the only country in the UK that shares a land border with a country in the EU.
The Brexit result has energized other populist movements across the European Union. Anti-immigration leaders such as Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen have ratcheted up cries for their own independence votes:
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) June 24, 2016
Victoire de la liberté ! Comme je le demande depuis des années, il faut maintenant le même référendum en France et dans les pays de l’UE MLP
— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) June 24, 2016
However, it is not just people on the fringe that are interested in revisiting EU membership. Even before the Brexit result, a poll by Ipsos Mori showed that the majority of people in France in Italy want to at least have a referendum on leaving:
Meanwhile, over 40% of Swedes, Poles, and Belgians are in the same boat.
Now that Brexit is a thing, will these numbers trend higher? What will be the next domino to fall?
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