Sunday, 26 June 2016

The geopolitical case against Brexit matters

Like most Labourites, I am struggling to make sense of the fact that Britain has apparently just made a far-reaching decision to leave the European Union. One that changes the course of our history in a way which does not look at all positive.

Unlike many, I am perhaps thinking of things deeper, and blacker, than the short-term economic impact or what it means for Britain's levels of immigration (very little, according to the leaders of the Leave campaign themselves). 

I wrote this piece for Labour Uncut last Wednesday - the day before the referendum - and, given the delight which has greeted Britain's exit in places such as Moscow, it seems somehow now all the more relevant.

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The decision Britain will make tomorrow is clearly a big one. Perhaps truly the most significant of our lifetimes, in terms of its strategic direction of travel as a country and the way the 21st century will shape up for us.

A decision in favour of Brexit will inevitably have short-term impacts. Some of them, such as a potential drop in sterling for exporters, may even be positive. But some vital, long-term effects are likely to be about Britain’s place in the world; its geopolitical power, if you like.

These are difficult-to-gauge, but nevertheless important, effects which are largely drowned out in the current debate by the bread-and-butter arguments about trade or immigration. Or “sovereignty”, that largely meaningless word currently being flogged to death.

Which would be fine, if we lived in a world full of stability, free of threats. Or even such a Europe.

We do not.

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