ESU Lexington member Dr. Lewis G. John, Professor of Politics Emeritus at Washington & Lee University, spoke to fellow members November 15 on the topic of "Brexit Revisited". The lecture followed a buffet dinner held in Moody Hall at Virginia Military Institute.
Dr. John outlined the evolution of the European Union, beginning with the European Economic Community which was founded after World War II. The United Kingdom had been a member of the EU for 42 years prior to this summer's unexpected vote to withdraw from the union. According to polls, migration and economic issues were the primary concern of "leave" voters.
John said it will be a vast administrative challenge to extricate the UK from the EU, possibly taking as long as 10 years. Judicial review of the vote by British courts has further complicated the situation. The High Court of England and Wales ruled that the UK must have Parliament's approval before beginning the process of exiting the EU, a decision John characterized as a "clash between direct and representative democracy". The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom will hear an appeal of that decision in December. Regardless of the outcome of the case, John predicted that Britain will exit the EU, although the exit may be delayed and, in the end, politicians may have to make the final decision.
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