Brexit referendum looms in United Kingdom

With less than 24 hours remaining before polls open to determine whether the United Kingdom will continue or dissolve its relationship with the European Union (EU), advocates on both sides have embarked on a final push to persuade undecided voters.

Although polls differ, a final ORB poll published in London on June 21 reveals the “Remain” eclipses “Leave” 54 percent to 46 percent.

At stake in the critical vote is a myriad of economic agreements, immigration and labor rules, travel regulations, questions over currency and financial transactions, all of which would require renegotiation with the EU should the UK dissolve its partnership with the European economic bloc.

Thursday’s vote is the first major economic referendum since the United Kingdom European Communities referendum of 1975, which passed overwhelmingly — 67.23 to 32.77 percent — and allowed the UK to remain within the nine-member Common Market.

Commenting on the referendum, one in which British Prime Minister David Cameron has labored furiously to preserve the UK’s membership, Cameron blasted “Remain” opponents, stating:

“(The UK is) arguably the most successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith, opportunity democracy anywhere on earth.  (Remaining) would represent a step forwards, sending a very clear message that we’ve rejected this idea that Britain is narrow and insular and inward-looking.”

In contrast, champions of “Leave,” led by United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, MP Michael Gove, former Cameron adviser Steve Hilton and former London Mayor Boris Johnson, focused on economic outcomes.  Stating  there exists a “quality of life” issue in the upcoming referendum, Farage defined the EU as an “outdated customs union, dominated by big businesses to the extent that it’s virtually a cartel.

Voters decide on June 23.

 

[The Guardian] [BBC] [opinion.uk.org]