This past Thursday millions of citizens of the UK voted on a whether or not the United Kingdom should leave the European Union. In a very surprising upset, the vote to leave beat the vote to remain by a very narrow margin - 52% to 48%. A move like this is unprecedented in the history of the EU, so uncertainty now plagues the UK as everyone tries to sort out what happens next. Here are some of the results of the historic referendum.
- David Cameron, the prime minister of the UK, has submitted his resignation as prime minister. He believes that new leadership is required now that people have made their choice. A new prime minister will ideally be elected in October.
- The pound dropped as much as eleven percent the day after on Friday.
- Gold surged as much as 8.1% after the vote and the Japanese Yen strengthened as well due investors seeking stability.
- Scotland is seeking a second vote on Scottish Independence. It is interesting to note that not a single section of Scotland voted to leave. If they were to gain independence, Scotland would most likely rejoin the European Union.
- There is a similar call in in Northern Ireland for a reunification vote with Ireland.
- There is a petition with over 1 million signatures calling for a second UK referendum citing that the first one didn't actually represent the will of the people.
The proponents of Brexit rallied behind the idea of the United Kingdom governing it's own future casting aside any aspersions of economic fallout that the vote might leave in its wake. They highlighted issues with the European Union, specifically citing the lack of political accountability of an institution that is being increasingly dominated by Germany.
Also, immigration was put front and center as an issue that defined this vote. Growing fear over the migrant crisis that is plaguing Europe and the UK, spurred many voters to come to the polls.
What is also meaningful is the stark contrast between how older and younger voters voted in this referendum. A massive 75% of voters who voted for Remain were ages 18-24 while 60% of voters who voted for Leave were of age 65 and older. This has created backlash among the UK's youngest voters citing that the older generation had saddled them with a decision they did not want. The millennial generation will have to live with the results for years to come.
The shittiest thing about my generation (millennials) is that we are so damn apathetic. We could have won this vote. No matter what you have to respect democracy at work. Brexit is going to hurt for citizens of the UK though, but it is also admirable in a way. The United Kingdom just gave the establishment a giant middle finger, for better or worse. I can't help but smile at that
I hope the EU learns from this and the other often valid criticisms that are lobbied against it. There are already calls for similar referendums in France, the Netherlands, Italy, and a few other places. These once fringe voices could see Brexit as fuel for the fire adding legitimacy to their opinions. It is clear that no matter what the EU needs to make some drastic changes in how they operate and put forth policy, or else risk the collapse of the whole thing.