Can't Barrage the Farage

Win or lose for Leave in Thursday's Brexit referendum, the European Union can only delay, not stop, the day of patriotic democratic reckoning across Europe.

(See also: Brexit: The Movie)

This is a RogueMoney open thread for news and comments from the ongoing Brexit vote today in the United Kingdom. We'll likely post our thoughts depending on the outcome over the weekend. - JWS

Although the polls suggest that British voters seem ready to vote “Bremain” in their June 23 referendum on European Union membership, the possibility of the “Brexit” caused Switzerland to withdraw its application to join, and other EU states to demand referendums. Win or lose, the EU seems to be going the way of the Soviet Union.

Recent opinion polls show the “leave” and “remain” camps in a neck-and-neck contest for the 10-15 percent of the British population that is still undecided. But traditionally, close polls favor the status quo.

If the “leave” camp wins the referendum, the actual “Brexit” could take years to implement. According to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, passed during the Greece crisis in December 2009, members that want to leave the Continental bloc must first negotiate the terms of their exit with the EU bureaucracy to develop a framework for their future relationship with Europe, according to Stratfor Global Intelligence.

The process is technically limited to a two-year transition, but that clock would not start running until the UK government’s bureaucracy chooses officially to “notify the European Union of its intentions.” Because that provision has never been invoked, it is unclear how comprehensive a withdrawal agreement would have to be structured to satisfy Rule 50.

The UK would remain a full-member of the EU, and still be considered a full EU member bound by the bloc’s rules and treaties until all the exit negotiations had been concluded with the EU bureaucracy. The earliest that could be completed is late 2018.