Friday, June 24, 2016

update: the UK pulls a Scotland still counting votes

The Brexit votes haven't all been counted, but it looks as though the Leave crowd is going to lose by a slim but nevertheless visible margin. Like the Scots, who had their own referendum on independence, the British in general aren't ready to take the step of being fully independent from their masters in Brussels. Curiously, the 54/46 split that was seen in the Scottish vote appears to be about the same for this referendum (again, pending the final count).

Ah, well. There's always next time. The Leave crowd won't simply disappear. If anything, I hope they grow in size and power.

UPDATE: Barely 4 million of the nearly 17 million votes have been counted at this point, so everything's up in the air. As people like my buddy Mike and journalist John Power have noted, cringing Scotland and whingeing London will likely skew heavily toward Remain. It's the other people, in the British version of American "flyover country," who have the power in their hands to demand that the UK leave the EU. We'll see. Some are saying that we won't know full results until later on Saturday (London time). I'm betting, though, that if a clear margin of victory has built up after 9 million or so votes have been counted, we might know the public's feeling before too long.

UPDATE 2: The real-time updated vote count can be found here.



Charles said...

Leave currently holds a very slight lead. 7 of the latest 10 local results are for Leave.

Interestingly enough, of the four nations, Scotland is by far and away the biggest proponent of Remain so far. We'll see what happens when London reports, though.

I can understand being pro-Leave--I lean that way myself--but I can also understand the arguments for Remain. I don't think it is really a cut-and-dried issue.

Anyway, we've taken advantage of the fairly predictable currency fluctuations to stock up on cheap GBP for our upcoming trip. If nothing else, at least we got that out of this.

Kevin Kim said...

The vote count seems to be happening pretty quickly. We're already up to 16 million votes counted (roughly 8-point-something million per side), so I'd guess we're about 40-50% of the way through the count.

Agreed: it's not a cut-and-dried issue, but when I weigh all the factors, I can't help but skew toward Leave. And if this sets off a preference cascade in other Continental countries, tant mieux. All the better.

One online article notes that the EU has been, overall, very pro-free-trade, which is something to consider. I mention the issue in my previous long post on Brexit, but don't discuss it in any depth, mainly because I haven't really researched the topic. My intuition, though, is that an independent England can still craft friendly arrangements with EU countries; there might be speed bumps and sudden difficulties, but these can all be overcome. Continental Europe knows that, even if the UK does leave the EU, it still has to interact with the UK to keep its own collective economy strong. I'm not that worried about the EU penalizing the UK for leaving by slapping tariffs on it. That would be gratuitous.

Another article made precisely this point, arguing for Remain because, after all, what'll be the difference between pre-Leave and post-Leave? Practically speaking, the same economic agreements will be in place, right? I concede that that's probably true, but the fundamental difference is that the UK will no longer have to kowtow to Brussels. I used to be very pro-transnational governance, but as I've gotten older, I've looked at the practical effects of centralization and concluded that that's not the way to go. Greece and Portugal only prove my point: the stronger countries (like Germany and France), being tied to the weaker ones, have to pull their own weight plus the weight of delinquent countries to keep everyone afloat at the same level. That's just silly.

Anyway, the vote is ping-ponging back and forth. It's incredible to watch. My fingers are crossed.

Oh, yeah: word is that Scotland might have another independence referendum if the UK does opt for Leave. Good riddance, I say; today's morally decrepit Scots are a shadow of their former, fiercely independent selves. Sean Connery would be spinning in his grave if he were dead.