Brexit vote may have silver lining, Regina-born Oxford scholar says

While gloom-and-doom predictions abound in the wake of a United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union, Chris Kutarna, an Oxford scholar originally from Regina, says there may be a silver lining.

Author Chris Kutarna says history shows a disruptive change can bring positive results

Despite all the dire predictions, there may be some positive results to come out of the United Kingdom referendum where people voted to leave the EU. (Abby Schneider/CBC News)

While gloom-and-doom predictions abound in the wake of a United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union, an Oxford scholar originally from Regina says there may be a silver lining.

Chris Kutarna says last week's Brexit referendum result shook the established views of the EU, but if history is any guide, it may not be all bad news.

"I think that everyone in Europe this morning waking up, one thing they certainly now believe, is that radical reform to the EU is possible," Kutarna said. "I think there's a lot of fresh energy."

Kutarna is the co-author (with fellow Oxford scholar Ian Goldin) of a new book, Age of Discovery: Navigating Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance.

It draws parallels between the current challenges facing society and those being dealt with in Europe 500 years ago.

"The Protestant reformation was a catastrophe in a lot of ways," said Kutarna, who lives in Oxford, but is in Regina this week.

"There was a lot of nastiness in the aftermath, but there was a silver lining, which was that leaders began to recognize that this monolithic institution — which at the time was the Catholic church — could be radically reshaped."

Kutarna felt the lack of a well established formula for referendums has contributed to much of the confusion and negative reactions to Brexit vote. The "leave" side ended up with 52 per cent of the vote, with the "remain" side getting 48 per cent.

Now, people are trying to make sense of what happened, what this means and what happens next.
"I mean, the legal scholars would say there was a lot of ambiguity about what the results of the Brexit vote would even means," he said. 

Right now, there's an online petition with over three million signatures calling for a second referendum. There's also a call by some in Scotland for another vote for Scottish independence.

Meanwhile, some have speculated that the British departure from the EU could set the stage for more countries leaving.

"It's a possibility, but I don't believe that," Kutarna said.