The British public’s decision to leave the European Union behind will result in several years of instability, says one expert, both within U.K.’s borders and beyond.
Professor Damian Chalmers of the Institute for the U.K. in a Changing Europe told the West Block’s Tom Clark that the knife’s-edge Brexit vote last week has already prompted calls for referenda in other European nations like France, as well as a do-over referendum on Scottish independence.
“It’s certainly very destabilizing,” said Chalmers of the vote. “Certainly it will not be an easy couple of years for the United Kingdom.”
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In spite of the anticipated economic and social turmoil, however, Chalmers said it would be premature to characterize Brexit as the beginning of the end for the European Union as a whole.
“I’d be very hesitant to say that,” he said. “Many incumbent politicians will have seen what’s happened today to (British Prime Minister) David Cameron, and that will be a strong incentive not to hold a referendum (on remaining in the EU) in European states.”
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On the other hand, he added, increasingly populist opposition parties in some countries may call for a Brexit-style vote in order to win over people who have become disillusioned with the current system.
For Cameron, however, the road ends here.
Chalmers said the British PM woefully miscalculated the sharp divisions between the perceived winners and losers of globalization. The result was a series of “quite embarrassing personal circumstances for him.”
Cameron has said he will step down as prime minister in the wake of the referendum, but he’s not the only leader facing backlash for his approach to the campaign.
“There is a sense that both (sides) distorted and lied, they refused to hold themselves accountable for lies,” Chalmers noted. “It’s not clear to me that we’ve seen the end of it, unfortunately.”
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Asked if Britain could have a change of heart and somehow reverse course, he said it’s highly unlikely.
“I think legally, it’s of course possible to go back. Politically, I think it is almost impossible.”
Watch the full interview above.