By Matt Ward
Last night Britain chose Brexit, voting to leave the European Union forever. This morning, as I write this article sitting at my desk in my classroom, preparing for the day’s teaching ahead; everything looks the same but somehow feels different.
This decision represents a seismic shift for Europe and will result in repercussions that will be felt well beyond the local shores of Europe. In fact, so significant is this result that its impact will be off the Richter scale. This is a super-volcano and a tsunami all in one. Fundamental change seems to be upon Europe, change that will significantly impact upon the rest of the world.
The results of this Brexit vote have been immediate within the UK. Prime Minister David Cameron resigned the morning of the result, leaving a political void at the very heart of the UK government. At the same time, Labour, the official Opposition Party and for a long time unhappy with their own leader, have sensed blood and put forward a vote of no confidence in their own leader, Jeremy Corbyn. This has thus trigger a leadership challenge within the Labour Party. Both of the main political parties of the UK are now in a state of flux and disarray, at the exact time when calm, seasoned leadership is needed most.
The Pound Sterling has immediately dropped to a 31 year low. In actual fact it has crashed in value. Ominously, state pensions, linked to the currency are also now at pre-1985 levels and declining in value hour by hour. Over two hundred billion pounds has been wiped off British assets in the FTSE 100 overnight. The value of British stock will likely continue to nosedive.
Scotland’s First Minister and the leader of the Northern Irish Assembly have this morning publically called for an immediate Scottish and Irish Referendum on their own memberships of the UK. Those that voted in favour of ending British membership of the EU may also inadvertently get the end of the British Union as well.
The United Kingdom facing the world alone is an entirely different and more comforting prospect than England having to face the world alone. Yet this is what may happen in the coming months.
Serious question marks now remain over the future of British business and industry. What of the car industry, so dependent upon Europe, especially German manufacturing? What of the big pharma companies that dominate Europe or the city of London, the financial capital of Europe and perhaps even the world?
Uncertainty is going to dominate all European and world financial markets in the coming days and weeks.
Internally Britain is without doubt more divided than at any point in her recent history. 52 percent voted “Leave”, 48 percent voted “Remain.” The vote was right down the middle. Wounds have been opened up and the recriminations on both sides are just beginning. These wounds are deep ideological wounds too.
Europe itself has been dealt a hammer blow by this vote. Geopolitically the EU is much less relevant at an international level without the membership of a country that truly does have a global military, diplomatic and financial presence. This vote may well also undermine Europe’s balance of power in world affairs.
Europe, reeling from this decision, now genuinely fears contagion. Donald Tusk, the European Council President stated only a few days ago that a Brexit could spell, “The end of western civilization.” He wasn’t joking either. His task now is to galvanize the remaining 27 member states and, though this will not be stated publically, make an example of Britain. The EU now needs to demonstrate clearly and unequivocally what happens to a country if they decide to leave the EU.
It is therefore in the EU’s vested interests to punish Britain for this vote, to make them pay over the short and long terms. The EU must make Britain’s pain real, so that they stand as example to everybody else in Europe who may be considering holding their own referendums.
Countries like Belgium, Holland, Spain, Greece and even Germany, where there is considerable domestic unease and discontent with the European project, must be brought in line. Leaving the EU must not be an option for them because Eurosceptic parties across Europe will now be holding Britain up as an example to emulate and follow. If the EU is to survive, this challenge must be met and dealt with decisively.
Likewise, international and transnational money lending organizations like the IMF and the World Bank also have a vested interest in making an example of Britain. The IMF and the World Bank have invested many trillions of dollars in bailout packages for Europe. This was done in part because of the stability that the EU provides. Now that Britain has left the EU that financial stability does not exist in the same way, nor does collective responsibility.
The result of this is that any EU member nation grappling with whether to leave or remain in the EU may not be considered financially safe enough to warrant large future investment from the IMF or World Bank. It could, in the very worst case scenario, lead to a lack of liquidity in European financial markets that could easily spark another crash.
If the result of this referendum is respected then Britain will soon give notice to leave the EU. Once formal notice to leave the EU is given a two year process begins. It will be in this two year period that the terms of Britain’s “divorce” from the European Union will be determined. This whole divorce process could theoretically drag on from anywhere between two to four or five years.
Four or five years of questions, arguments and instability. Of international spats and market turmoil. Many seasoned experts believe the international financial markets are simply too fragile to cope with such a prolonged period of uncertainty.
In a period of huge and ever increasing world-wide, multi spectrum instability, this will provide another significant hammer blow. This decision will, without question, bring with it an element of chaos. Chaos for Europe and Britain, chaos and confusion in worldwide financial markets, chaos for international partners and trade, chaos in ways not yet thought of or considered.
No one has ever been in this territory before and it is therefore impossible to predict with any certainty what might become of this decision. It could lead, in the worst scenario to a collapse in the world financial system. It could lead us down the road to war. The reassertion of nationalism in Europe did end in war twice during the Twentieth Century and nearly 200 million people died because of it.
In the end though, that is not what struck me as being the most likely outcome of this crisis. Biblically, what impacted me most strongly was not any European, world or financial concerns.
What struck me most was the potential implications this might have for Gog, and the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39.