Many of you woke up this morning to the hullaballoo that Britain just gave a giant middle finger to the European Union, and by extension, to the rest of the world. It was the vote on the so-called “Brexit,” the British exit from the European Union. So, before we go further, let’s define some of our terms:
- Great Britain: this is properly a geographic term referring to the island on which England, Scotland, and Wales are located, as opposed to the island of “Little Britain,” where Ireland and Northern Ireland are located.
- United Kingdom: or more properly, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is the political union of the nations on Great Britain, plus the portion of Ireland that is majority Protestant and politically separate from the rest of Ireland.
- Commonwealth of Nations: this is the 53 nations of the former British Empire, including India, Australia, Canada, and a number of nations in Africa.
- European Union: this is a 28 member (including the United Kingdom) economic and quasi-political union, and the successor to the European Economic Community.
- EuroZone: this is a monetary union of 19 countries, all of which are currently in the European Union, and which have adopted the “Euro” as their common currency.
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): this is the military alliance between the United States, Canada, and 26 additional European countries.
- Eurovision: this is the delightfully cheesy song contest that includes several distinctly non-European nations, such as Israel and Australia.
A large number of people were surprised because in the latest polling up to last Thursday’s vote, it appeared that the “Remain” camp was likely to eke out a narrow victory. Just as Scotland had voted back in September of 2014 by about 10% to remain part of the United Kingdom.
We’re going to have a lot of “expert” commentators making pronouncements on why Britain voted to leave, but it appears that, like so much happening in our world these days, this one is largely about xenophobia. Fear of immigration.
It’s also been interesting to note how much the vote was cleaved between the young (voting to stay) and the old (voting to exit), the people in London (voting to stay) and the rest of the country (voting to exit), the educated (voting to stay) and the not so educated (voting to exit), and England (voting to leave) and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (voting to stay).
I don’t think this will be as disastrous as some of the current commentators are saying. But I also don’t think it will buy the United Kingdom anything. Not anything at all.
Well, the one thing it might buy them is a second Scottish referendum on leaving the United Kingdom, and don’t be surprised if this one succeeds. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has more or less already said that she will be pushing for a second referendum. Scotland wants to stay in the European Union.
Donald Trump, who happens to be in Scotland to promote two of his golf courses, of course chimed in like an idiot about what a great thing this was going to be for Britain. Apropos of nothing, I am so looking forward to the day that we no longer have to be talking about this orange-haired jackass anymore.
So, after the British gave a giant middle finger to the European Union, don’t be surprised if the Scottish give a giant middle finger to the United Kingdom.
You heard it here first.
 The United Kingdom, as most people know, never adopted the Euro but has retained the British Pound as its currency.
 Technically, Turkey, which is one of the member countries, is in Asia.
 If Australia ever wins the thing they’re going to have a problem, because Australia will have to broadcast at like 4:00 a.m. in order to fit into the time zone when most European viewers are going to be voting. And yes, the inclusion of Eurovision here is a joke, for those of you who are a little slow on the uptake.
 One commentator, Benjamin Studebaker, makes the fascinating argument that the British parliament shouldn’t even invoke Article 50 of the EU Treaty, which provides the mechanics for a country’s exit.
One significant point on the EU referendum vote in Scotland: 62% of Scots voted Remain, meaning they want the UK to stay in the EU. That figure includes many who want Scotland to stay in the UK. It does not follow that 62% of Scots want an independent Scotland, so that they can retain EU membership. Many Scots will regard a common market for goods and labour with the rest of the UK following Brexit as more important than EU membership.