Could a Brexit Mean a Texit?

Britain will soon vote on whether or not to leave the EU, but could that fuel Texas leaving the U.S.?

By Alain StephensJune 21, 2016 11:33 am| ,

This Thursday citizens of the United Kingdom will be deciding in a referendum whether the nation stay as a member of European Union. Many say that opinions have shifted since the UK first joined the EU back in 1973.

Those who want the change cite a need to distance itself from an organization that is now seen as an ineffective central bureaucracy – one that’s costing a pretty penny.

But this idea of secession – a “Brexit” from what some are saying is an overblown bureaucracy that costs taxpayers too much – sounds familiar.

Tom Dart, who wrote a piece in the Guardian about some of the parallels at play, says there’s long been “Euroskeptics” among the UK’s population. Britain never joined the single currency euro, and instead kept the pound.

“It’s always had a tense relationship with mainland Europe, which has now come to a head with the anti-Europe crowd,” Dart says. “All indications are that it will be a very close vote.”

Recent polls suggest the group looking to leave the EU will win out, which Dart says would be quite a dramatic result. But, he says, it is entirely possible.

“There’s not going to be a way the European Union can stop Britain doing it,” he says. “It is a sovereign country, and the EU is more of a club than a really tight, insoluble coalition of states like the U.S. is.”

Dart says there are important differences between Texas’ status in the U.S. and Britain’s status in the EU, although there are some similarities in the arguments.

For one, the idea of a Texas secession isn’t supported widely. The Texas Nationalist Movement, which supports secession, has about 250,000 supporters – out of a state with 27 million people.

“Even if this is a relatively small part of Texas’ population, you could argue they’ve been making increasing amounts of noise in recent years,” Dart says. “They’ve been getting more organized, they’ve been having a bit more traction in the Republican Party of Texas – certainly among the Tea Party wing.”

So much of the rhetoric has been anti-federal government as of late, Dart says. It could be a consequence of Gov. Greg Abbott’s statement that he’s sued the federal government 40 times.

But there’s not this idea elsewhere in the world that Texas is on the verge of breaking away. It’s more a case of Texas looking to the UK vote for a PR boost, Dart says, like when Scotland was voting on leaving the EU in 2014.

“All this debate at least gives (Texan secessionists) attention and makes it into a talking point, regardless of whether it would actually happen or not,” Dart says. “Which, of course, is an extremely long shot.”

Web post by Beth Cortez-Neavel.