Today the UK public votes ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to one simple question;
"Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?”
The nation-wide referendum was promised by Prime-Minister David Cameron in response to increasing unhappiness about the UK’s relationship with the European Union (EU), and has split the nation into; ‘Stay’ (or ‘Bremain’, a clumsy combination of Britain and Remain) and ‘Leave’ (the equally awkward ‘Brexit’).
The EU, made up of 28 countries within Europe, was created after World War II to encourage economic and political co-operation by making a ‘single market’; essentially allowing goods and people to move around it easily, as thought it was a single country.
‘Leave’ argue that the EU has become too controlling of the everyday lives of the people that live within it, and object to its forcing regulation upon the UK; more specifically the ‘free movement’ of people which allows citizens to visit or live in another EU country, without the hassle of a visa.
Its much maligned campaign, marred by the tragic murder of pro-EU politician Jo Cox last week as she was out campaigning, has centred on nationalism, the romanticized nostalgia for a time gone by, the mistrust of political elites, and the fear that migrants are bringing crime and stealing jobs.
This should be eerily familiar to US voters, and not just because ‘Leave’ is led by a blonde, straight talking, celebrity politician, in Boris Johnson.
Indeed it is no surprise that Donald Trump has publicly come out in support of ‘Leave’, telling The Sunday Times in London ‘I would personally be more inclined to leave, for a lot of reasons’.
Both Trump and Brexit have whipped up a potently attractive concoction of anti-immigration sentiment, a general suspicion of those in power and a desire to Make Things Great Again. Backing ‘Remain’, President Barack Obama has warned that the outcome of Thursday's referendum is ‘of deep interest to the United States’.
There are clear similarities in the extreme sentiments that have driven the UK to the brink of severing ties with the EU, and Americans to considering the unconventional Trump as potential president. In that sense, the result of Brexit may offer some clues as to whether, comes November’s election, voters will merely consider casting votes for such extreme change, or are willing, in the end, to actually vote Trump.
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In the celebrity political stakes across the pond, David Beckham, is the latest star to publicly back the 'Remain' campaign, joining his wife Victoria, James Bond star Daniel Craig, Harry Potter author JK Rowling and The Wire’s Idris Elba.
Team 'Leave' boasts a smaller but equally high profile backing in Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellows, actress Joan Collins and model Elizabeth Hurley, who took to Twitter to subtly express her political leaning.
Brexit, Bremain or simply Bamboozled? Let THE WANNA know what you think.