Open thread—The Brexit vote
That’s right, everyone. Vladimir Putin’s first serious attack against the West comes to a denouement today between 8 and 9pm BST. The House of Commons votes on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, and the tea leaves don’t look good for Mrs. May.
Let’s rewind to why this vote occurred: former PM David Cameron—he of pig-head fornicator fame—was facing grumblings from the Eurosceptics in the Tories who were making noises about making trouble for him in his last general election. So, to mollify them, he put a referendum on membership in the European Union in the Conservative manifesto. His party won, and the referendum went ahead.
Now, this referendum was solely advisory. It had no force of law. In the UK, Parliament is sovereign. Parliament had every right to disregard the results of the plebiscite.
But, when all indications were that Remain would win, the world was shaken when Leave came out on top by a narrow margin. And, of course, Putin’s cyberwarriors were on full display, swarming social media to heighten tensions and push for Brexit. As one of the pillars of the Western alliance—along with the US, France, and Germany—any chaos in Britain would redound to Putin’s favor.
However, what Putin has done, both with Brexit and with his infiltration of US politics—is make his own country less secure. Sure, Russia was no longer top dog; but it benefited from a world order headed by the West which was sturdy and stable and allowed it to participate in world trade. All that Putin has done is make himself and his country more insecure, as even his voters start turning against him due to his foreign adventurism.
The predictions are that May will lose the vote. If that happens, she has three days to report back to the Commons with a plan B. It may very well be that the UK doesn’t tumble out of the EU, thus on one hand scuppering Putin’s aims, but on the other hand setting Britain on a course for the kind of polarization we have here in the US.
Note: If you want to keep track of the proceedings, you can follow on the BBC here.
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