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On June 23, 2106, the United Kingdom held a referendum on whether to remain in the European Union (EU) or leave it.
The first question anyone would ask might be: Why would a nation choose to leave the world's premier trading and peace-keeping organization, envisioned by none other than Winston Churchill, WWII Prime Minister of Britain, saviour of the nation from Hitler's dreams of world domination?
Sanely, no one would.
Working in their own self-interest, no one would.
It's not just that the name Churchill that would drive people to support their nation's membership in the united Europe he imagined, each nation cooperating with the others, preventing anything as unthinkable as WWII ever again. As unassailable as Churchill's concept and memory are, it is the fact of the EU's economic and democratic impact that should have had any sane politician—any sane voter—wanting to remain in the club.
From Nowhere Man to Superpower
Membership in the EU had proven its value. In 2007, the UK's economy was the fifth largest in the world, behind the US, China, Japan and Germany. That's not bad for a nation the size of the UK that had been all but bombed to extinction in WWII. Although the war ended in 1945, in 1953, the UK was still suffering shortages of food and clothing. Even in the 1970s after the nation had caught up a bit, the UK economy was still among the least healthy in the world. In fact, before it joined the EU, the UK was widely referred to as "the sick man of Europe."
After joining, the UK, through EU trade deals already in place, suddenly had access to reasonably priced fresh food from warmer climates—southern France, Italy and so on—as well as industrial goods from Germany and the Netherlands, not to mention inexpensive lovely flowers from Holland's fertile fields. Suddenly, whole families could take affordable trips to warm spots so beloved of Brits, whose chilly isle is beautiful, but offers no fun in the sun in the usual sense.
When the Leavers were promoting their desire for a UK independent of any ties to the EU, they cited the fact that, after 2007, the UK economy that had provided the avocados and holidays in Languedoc began to slip a bit. People had begun to feel it. Some understood why, with world orders changing and their own government imposing a ludicrous austerity in a wealthy nation; others needed a scapegoat.
The Leavers provided it, saying the decline, slight as it was, in British life was the fault of the EU. They made wild claims about how much each household spent on EU membership. The truth is that the cost per day per average UK household for the EU membership that provides so much is 11.9 pence.
That's less than 12p for access to foods NEVER grown in the UK such as oranges; for travel to historic spots previous generations could only dream of visiting; respite from the grind on glorious warm beaches in Spain...
Sins of Omission
What the Leave campaign (which is closely allied with the Conservative Party and the xenophobic UKIP, United Kingdom Independence Party) forgot to mention was that the Conservative (Tory) government had been in power for the entire time, and had imposed austerity programs (reducing unemployment benefits and so on) while decreasing the tax bite on wealthy individuals. They had also begun to sell off parts of the National Health Service (NHS) to US Big Pharma and other companies, often installing Tory functionaries in the "new" units at astronomical salaries. See a video about Tory plans for the NHS here.
PM Theresa May has refused to rule out selling off even more of the NHS post-Brexit. That's a far cry from the provision of 350 million a week by the post-Brexit government to the NHS. Indeed, according to Business Insider, "Theresa May has been accused of secretly plotting to sell off the NHS after declining a request to rule out making the NHS part of any future post-Brexit trade deal with the US."
The 2013 Tory tax cuts for millionaires amounted to 11 billion pounds. That money, had it been collected, would have rendered the austerity budget unnecessary; "The cut could have paid for an extra 30,000 nurses, 15,000 police officers, 20,000 teachers, and 10,000 police community support officers" according to The Mirror. The same article noted that there were between 13,000 and 19,000 millionaires who were rewarded with a tax cut while public services were sliding downhill fast.
By the time of the referendum in 2016, those cuts were being felt by the poorest, the sickest, and the unemployed. So when the Leave campaign touted a 350 million pound A WEEK donation to the suffering National Health Service (until then always rated the top or second universal health care in the world), those suffering bought the lie. And lie it was; within minutes of the success of the Leave campaign to win the referendum, Nigel Farage admitted the promise to Leave voters was a "mistake."
"Speaking just an hour after the Leave vote was confirmed the Ukip (sic) leader said the money could not be guaranteed and claimed he would never have made the promise in the first place," the Telegraph reported.
That was not Farage manning up and taking blame; that was Farage making it clear to the Remain voters that a dirty trick had been played to sway votes. Indeed, the conduct of the Leave campaign in general was found to have been criminal by the UK Elections Commission.
“The Electoral Commission has followed the evidence and conducted a thorough investigation into spending and campaigning carried out by Vote Leave and BeLeave. We found substantial evidence that the two groups worked to a common plan, did not declare their joint working and did not adhere to the legal spending limits. These are serious breaches of the laws put in place by Parliament to ensure fairness and transparency at elections and referendums. Our findings relate primarily to the organisation which put itself forward as fit to be the designated campaigner for the ‘leave’ outcome,” said a statement by the Commission.
PM as Virtual Tyrant
All this is but the tip of the iceberg. It is apparent that Leave cheated and lied its way to the victory that Theresa May is now using as a sledgehammer to take her nation out of the trading relationship that took her nation out of poverty. As it became clear, especially over the past year, that the referendum was criminally engineered and wildly skewed even to achieve the small number of winning votes it did, much of the British public has asked that the 2016 referendum be set aside and a new, and preferably honest, referendum be held.
May will not even listen to the request. She intends to take the UK out of the EU even without any temporary continuity agreements in place until the UK can sort things out. She is intent on no customs arrangement, no market access via a deal, if you want to call it that, she brokered and Parliament has soundly refused to accept.
Mrs. May prefers no deal at all, the swiftest way to crash the UK economy, destroying businesses and taking lives, both figuratively and literally. "Theresa May in October refused to guarantee the NHS would have enough medicines and pharmaceutical industry bodies told MPs the public should stockpile their own medicines so they are prepared," according to SkyNews. As noted above... deaths. Insulin cannot be stockpiled for long, isotopes for curing cancer cannot be stockpiled at all, and virtually all of them are produced in the EU.
The result, according to experts, would make post-WWII look like a party. The shortages will be immense; if the Crash Out happens as May plans, on March 29, 2019, the UK will have much too little fresh food grown in the UK to feed the population. The government has asked supermarkets to hire security in case there are "incidents" as people compete for nutrition.
Would any sane leader do such a thing? When it is clear that the referendum was criminally skewed, when a great number of the nostalgic older voters who wanted the old days back have died, when virtually all young people want to be able to study abroad in the EU if they can, or work where they want—all to be denied after Brexit—a decent leader would take the mantle of decision on board, abandon Brexit, begin taxing the millionaires*, and stop subjecting a weary nation to the most depressing juggernaut of any government in ANY age.
*Part of the reason the Conservative Party and May are dedicated to Brexit is that, if the UK remains in the EU, its millionaires will need to adhere to a new EU offshoring policy. In short, they will no longer be able to ship their profits to the Caymans to avoid UK taxes, as little as they already pay.