Below the surface of the proposed British exit from the European Union is a sense of great consternation in the smaller countries that make up the United Kingdom. Having lived, studied and worked throughout the U.K. for the past two years, the divisions within the country are striking and broader than most North Americans realize.
What is most telling is that even given the divisive and downright xenophobic campaign the Conservatives have run thus far, they are still within striking distance to form government. This carefully crafted U.S.-style Republican narrative has set Canada on an extremely dangerous course, and one that only Canadian voters can steer back to the right path. From "old stock Canadians" deserving of greater government benefits, to the ridiculous niqab debate, to the absurd hotline dedicated to reporting "culturally barbaric" practices, the Conservatives are pulling no punches in their quest to mobilize their voter base.
Maybe British Prime Minister David Cameron will light a policy fire under the Harper government while he's in Ottawa. His Big Society idea challenges citizens to get Big Government out of the way. But putting cost-cutting and community empowerment side-by-side can produce the perfect storm of political opportunism.