Is Britain broken? That’s the question a bemused world has been asking since the unexpected result of Remainer David Cameron’s Brexit referendum plunged the U.K. into a three-year political crisis.
Two things are striking about this period of national agony and debate. The first is how sensible and peaceful the British people have remained. The Brexit referendum carried by 52% to 48% (a margin of roughly 1.3 million out of more than 33.5 million votes cast) and the consequences are unpredictable and large. Will the United Kingdom even stay united as Scotland and Northern Ireland react to Brexit? Will Britain’s economy flourish as it opens to the world or wither without privileged access to European markets? From the City of London’s financial sector to the Sunderland Nissan factory, hundreds of thousands, even millions of jobs may be at stake.
Faced with all that, the British kept calm and carried on. Across a country of 66 million, Brexit has generated less political violence than a modestly sized Antifa march can gin up on a good afternoon in Portland, Ore. Scotland may be looking for an exit from the U.K. even as the U.K. looks to exit the European Union, but there are no Barcelona-style separatist riots in Edinburgh or anywhere else. This is an extraordinary testimony to the depth of Britain’s democratic culture.
Read full article in Wall Street Journal