By Robert A. Vella
June 23, 2016 19:30 PDT – ITV estimated within the last hour that the “Leave” campaign has a 75% chance of winning the U.K. referendum vote on whether to stay in the European Union. From the very beginning of the vote count, it became apparent that the electoral districts expected to choose “Leave” were winning by higher margins than those expected to choose “Remain.” This trend suggested a disparity in voter enthusiasm between the two campaigns. In fact, voter turnout in Scotland – which prefers to remain in the E.U. – was noticeably lower than in recent elections.
If the “Leave” vote does prevail, it will send shock waves all over the world. Financial markets are already expecting this result, sending the British pound sterling and euro currencies sharply down. Stock markets are also expected to fall in tomorrow’s trading. A “Leave” vote would profoundly express “no-confidence” sentiment towards the E.U. which might spawn other member nations to consider leaving as well. In any case, a British exit (a.k.a. “Brexit”) will undoubtedly impact Europe’s security relationship with the U.S. and its trading relationships with outside nations.
At home, the political fortunes of conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn are likely to be called into question, since both leaders will be perceived as failing to achieve the desired result. The opposite is likely for Nigel Farage of the UKIP (UK Independence Party) who has been pushing hard for “Brexit.”
Although “Leave” voters strongly cited immigration concerns as their top issue for this referendum while “Remain” voters cited economic stability concerns, there’s little doubt that the issue of national sovereignty was a significant factor. As the middle class continues to lose-out to powerful corporate interests amidst neoliberal-driven globalism, the ire of disaffected workers has risen in response. This “Leave” vote, whether ultimately successful or not, is just the latest in a series of backlashes against the world’s political establishments.
UPDATE 20:30 PDT – ITV is now predicting that the “Leave” vote will win the U.K. referendum election.