The 2016 U.S. election is, thanks to Candidate Donald J. Trump, a sort of referendum on the National Question.
Meanwhile, Across the Pond in the Mother Country, 2016 is also the year of a referendum on British membership in the European Union.
The date has finally been set, for June 23rd. The question on the referendum is simply
Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
There are two possible answers: “Remain a member of the European Union” or“Leave the European Union”.
So who is eligible to vote in the referendum? From the BBC:
British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the UK, along with UK nationals who have lived overseas for less than 15 years. Members of the House of Lords and Commonwealth citizens in Gibraltar will also be eligible, unlike in a general election. Citizens from EU countries - apart from Ireland, Malta and Cyprus - will not get a vote.
The UK's EU referendum: All you need to know Brian Wheeler and Alex Hunt, BBC, Feb. 22, 2016
The BBC reports that “About half of Conservative MPs, including five cabinet ministers” support leaving the EU, and even “several Labour MPS”.
Under the heading of “Why do they want the UK to leave?” the BBC says this:
They [those who want the UK to get out] believe Britain is being held back by the EU, which they say imposes too many rules on business and charges billions of pounds a year in membership fees for little in return. They also want Britain to take back full control of its borders and reduce the number of people coming here to work. One of the main principles of EU membership is "free movement", which means you don't need to get a visa to go and live in another EU country. They also object to the idea of "ever closer union" and any ultimate goal to create a "United States of Europe".
How about business?
Big business - with a few exceptions - tends to be in favour of Britain staying in the EU because it makes it easier for them to move money, people and products around the world. BT chairman Sir Mike Rake, a recent CBI president, says there are "no credible alternatives" to staying in the EU. But others disagree, such as Lord Bamford, chairman of JCB, who says an EU exit would allow the UK to negotiate trade deals as our country "rather than being one of 28 nations". Many small and medium-sized firms would welcome a cut in red tape and what they see as petty regulations. The British Chambers of Commerce says 55% of members back staying in a reformed EU.
This should be interesting.