The Tories were the big victors in Britain this last election, securing 331 seats and an outright majority in the House of Commons.
The other significant winner was the Scottish National Party and its leader, Nicola Sturgeon. SNP is a regional party which actively campaigns for Scottish independence, so its big night—winning 56 seats out of the 59 contested in Scotland—may come as no surprise.
Still, it is shocking that SNP’s massive showing comes on the heels of a Scottish independence referendum in September which saw Scots vote decisively to remain part of the United Kingdom. SNP’s strong performance and insistence on greater Scottish independence opens the door for another Scottish referendum for Independence down the road.
And down the road we have the British referendum about the EU because prime Minister David Cameron had pledged to hold a referendum on EU membership by 2017 if the Tories remained in power. PM Cameron floated the “Brexit,” or British exit, scenario in a bid to win over voters trending towards UKIP and he succeeded.
But in the process, he opened some old wounds. The UK has had an uneasy relationship with the EU since it wisely rejected the Euro currency in 1991 to keep the Pound Sterling.
And unlike European heavyweights France and Germany, which both fully embraced the European project, the UK has spent decades hedging it’s bets and fence stradling position.
While the country pays billions into Brussels’ coffers each year, it also receives far more in trade and commercial market equity.
Britain has undoubtedly benefitted from its relationship with the EU, in particular its banking sector. In 2014 alone, financial and insurance services brought in from the rest of the European Union, $193.7 billion in gross value added. This is the GVA addition to the UK economy, (8% of the UK’s total GVA) because of her participation inside the EUropean Union.
Can we afford to give all that up for ideological polemic and rhetoric alone?
The British people have spoken—and they want the Conservative David Cameron to continue as Prime Minister.
But what we don’t know is if they want to remain part of the EU, or even part of their own United Kingdom.