Britain will vote on Thursday whether to stay or leave the European Union. The fallout from that vote could have major implications elsewhere. UT Dallas professor Harold Clarke studies British politics and economics, and he explains what a ‘Brexit’ vote would mean for Texas.
Interview Highlights: Harold Clarke…
…On what happens if British voters decide to leave the EU:
“[It’s] not quite clear in practice, however there is a two-year process a state goes through in order to exit the European Union. This would be the first time. This would be a test case and of course, a lot of people are worrying about the political and economic instability that would flow from the decision…should Britain decide to leave.”
…On parallels between EU skeptics and the Tea Party:
“One of the things to note about politics is the rise of populist sentiments, sort of the ‘us against them,’ the
ordinary guy against the big economic, political elites that are said to really run the world. You can see that very much in the [member] states, you can see that in Britain, in particular with the rise in the so-called UKIP party – United Kingdom Independence Party – which is the closest analog to right-wing populists, Trumpists or the Tea Party in this country.
UKIP forces have long advocated leaving the EU primarily to protect Great Britain from immigration, what they see as a flood of immigrants entering the country, so there are very strong parallels between the political debate in the United States and what’s going on in the UK.”
…On why Texans should care about Brexit:
“There will be economic consequences from Britain leaving the EU, which could set [in motion] the breakup of the organization. It’s certainly not impossible, given the public opinion in other countries like France and Italy, and of course economic instability in the West and major democratic countries. [Texas] economic links with the UK are substantial.
Of course, there are political ramifications. International instability in Europe is not a good thing, as we’ve learned painfully over the past several decades, and so Texans have reason to be concerned about this.”
Harold Clarke is a political scientist and research methodologist with UT Dallas.