Before the dawn of the D-Day, that is, the 29th of this month, let's go through the developments that have happened in the past in the context of Brexit and also the future ramifications of this divorce. Much before we deal with these two issues it is equally important to understand the concept of Brexit. So to start with, we will first make an attempt to understand Brexit.
What is Brexit?
Brexit is shorthand way of saying that the UK is exiting the EU, a political and economic union of 28 European countries that was founded in November 1993. The idea of the EU germinated soon after the Second World War with the intention of fostering economic co-operation among countries that would increase trade and act as a deterrent to war.
In simple terminology, two words – Britain and Exit – combined together make Brexit.
A peek into the past
In order to gauge the sentiments of the citizens, a referendum was held on June 23, 2016, to decide the fate of Britain in EU, whether the UK should leave or stay in the EU. According to the voting results, the vote percentage share of the "Leave" category was higher at 51.9 per cent to that of the "Stay" category, recording 48.1 per cent votes. The total turnout of the referendum was 71.8 per cent. This means more than 30 million people came to vote for this cause.
Further dissection of data reveals that England and Whales voted for Brexit (Leave) with 53.4 percent and 52.5 percent, respectively. However, other countries in the UK voted in favour of "Stay". Scotland backed "Stay" by 62 percent and Northern Ireland voted "Stay" by 55.8 percent.
Taken by shock, the then Prime Minister of Britain David Cameron resigned on the day he lost the referendum. Though an impulsive decision, Cameron was too dejected at the results of the voting. Soon after his resignation, Britain got a new Prime Minister - Theresa May.
Since assuming office, Theresa May's most important message has been that "Brexit means Brexit." Recently, she has said that she aims to trigger the two-year process of leaving the EU by March 29th.
As demonstrated by the vote share, the supporters of Brexit believe that the eventual exit will open huge opportunities for Britain to engage with the rest of the world, establish new trade tides and also strengthen old ties. Relying solely on economic gains, the supporters are viewing foreign trade and finance as the major sources of wealth for Britain in the post-Brexit world.
However, the dissenters are completely disappointed with Brexit. Lamenting over the exit, the dissenters have said that the Brexit is more than the dissolution of the European Union. To them, it appears to be a disbanding of the United Kingdom too. This vote has fundamentally changed Britain's relationship with the EU.
While supporters look forward to a booming economy without the EU obligations, for the non-supporters nostalgia is the only source of inspiration.
Remembering Joseph Addison is all that the non-Brexit supporters have done since the beginning of this discourse on Brexit. Known for his equanimity of temper, and moderation in politics, Addison in 1711 during his visit to the Royal Exchange had expressed appreciation about the multicultural and multilingual groups there. Describing himself as a global citizen, Addison once said, "I am a Dane, Swede or Frenchman at different times; or rather fancy myself like the old philosopher, who upon being asked what countryman he was, replied that he was a citizen of the world."
With March 29 as the date for initiating the Brexit process approaches, it is important to see if Britain will have followers in the EU. Who is next after Britain is the larger question to be investigated? Will EU remain as a collective body or is this the beginning of the disintegration?