It’s been over 6 months since the election result that shook the world. I had seen Brexit coming for quite some time, and have stated previously my own personal support for it, which was based mainly on concerns about British sovereignty. Since then, we’ve also had the election of Donald Trump in the United States, and pundits have been quick to draw comparisons between the two results. In my opinion however, there were many important differences between both movements. I still frequently get asked by people in the US how such a respected and admired country like the United Kingdom could have possibly done it. I always come back with the same central question:
Can you find me one American, just one—Democrat or Republican, city or rural, black or white, socialist or extreme free marketer— who would put up with a foreign organization having the ability to overrule the American Supreme Court, impose taxes and business regulations, exert control over borders and immigration, on America? If you can, then I will change my mind right now!
I genuinely don’t think that people here realize the amount of sovereignty that was surrendered if any country was in the EU (there’s a reason why Switzerland and Norway, two of the most educated and prosperous countries in the world, have repeatedly said No to joining). To put it another way: not a single American I’ve met would ever allow an EU-type arrangement for the USA, so why should Brits? The EU started off as an economic union back in the day, which was an excellent idea given Europe’s troubled past, to promote mutual peace and prosperity. But over the last 20 years, this has evolved more into a political union between countries that are vastly different from each other. From the Romans to the more notorious recent regimes, history teaches us that European nations work best when they respect one another’s sovereignty and cultural differences, and are not forced together under a bigger empire. Political integration is just a bad idea for them, and individual nation states must be respected. I come from an immigrant background myself, and am all for an open and integrated world. But my parents moved from a less-developed country to come and live in England in the 1960s. Not the European Union.
Why, oh why, couldn’t the EU have just stayed an economic trading area as originally intended? Had it done so, we might not be dealing with Brexit, and several other similar such movements in other member countries.
Suneel Dhand is a physician, author, speaker and healthcare consultant. He has experience in a number of different healthcare environments, having worked up and down the East coast and also internationally. His specialty areas include hospital QI, optimizing healthcare IT, and improving the patient experience. He is the author of 3 books, including most recently “The Ultimate Patient Advocate in Your Pocket”, designed to help hospitalized patients. He is also the founder of HealthITImprove, an organization dedicated to improving and optimizing information technology at the frontlines of healthcare.