The EU referendum could change more than Britain’s future; it could lead to the dismantling of the entire union.
A historic moment has arrived. Tomorrow, scores of voters across Britain will shuffle down to their nearest polling station to vote on the UK’s future within the European Union. It’s certainly come around quickly. Enmity towards the European project — something that has been building up since drastic steps were taken to ‘bring us closer together’ in the 1970s — will finally be unleashed on the ballot paper. Of course, this has also been the case for many political figures, many of whom have only recently announced their opposition to the European Union.
Yet it’s not just Britons who will be concerned by the outcome. People across Europe will be watching closely, anticipating a result that could shape the future of world politics forever. As one can imagine, the right-wing populist movements of Europe — such as the Front National, PVV, AfD and Golden Dawn — will be paying special attention. Not only that, they will be longing for a Brexit vote.
Such a historic outcome would give them a surge of confidence. After all, these parties not only want their country to leave the European Union, they yearn for the crumbling of the entire organisation. The EU could indeed collapse, if Britain votes to leave.
Mass discontent is growing across Europe; many are still feeling the effects of the recession, while others are irked by the mishandling of the refugee crisis. Many are feeling against the European Union, which explains a level of support for right-wing parties which would have been unthinkable even ten years ago.
Clearly this reflects an antagonism towards the mainstream political establishment. The traditional parties, the law makers, and the political elite are seen as out of touch. It could be portrayed that the ‘brexit’ vote is essentially the masses vs the political elite. This is how the likes of Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen have portrayed it anyway. The fact that the working class disproportionately back brexit supports this claim; this isn’t surprising, given that those at the bottom would be hit hard by careless decisions of the government, and are more likely to feel ignored than a middle class voter who has been gifted a mild tax cut.
If ‘brexit’ becomes a reality, it will do two things: it will lower the confidence of the European Union, and it will boost the confidence of the anti-EU parties. After all, Britain is the biggest economy in the block, and 45% of our exports go to the single market. It’s no surprise that both heads of member-states and EU ministers have implored Britain to remain. On the other hand, people among other nations will stop and think: ‘If Britain can leave, surely we can do it too!’
Clearly, the vote in the referendum will not just be a vote against Britain’s membership of the European Union, it will likely be a vote against the future of the entire organisation.