By KASEY McDONNELL.
On the 24th of June New Zealand time, the United Kingdom held their third referendum ever. It asked: ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’
The Brexit (British Exit) referendum was promised by David Cameron during the 2015 UK general election, in order to get back into government. Since then, the campaign has been fierce between supporters of ‘leave’ and the supporters of ‘remain’.
To go …?
The core arguments of the leave campaign boiled down to asserting British sovereignty and protecting the UK’s right to make its own laws. Supporters argued that the European Union’s Parliament passing laws that had to be followed in the UK was a loss of sovereignty. They said that the British people needed to be able to make their own rules.
Other particularly controversial arguments were around the EU’s laws of freedom of movement and its immigration policy. As a member of the EU, the UK is required to allow citizens of other member countries the ability to live and work within the UK without a visa.
Leave campaign politicians, such as Nigel Farage, argued that the immigration of workers into the UK was harming public services, making life worse for British citizens. They also argued that the UK sends £350 million to the EU every week and that money could be better spent on public spending, such as funding the National Health Service.
… or to stay?
The arguments of the remain campaign boiled down to the idea that Britain will be better off economically by staying in the European Union.
Supporters, along with expert economists, argued that the UK would be worse off in terms of its GDP (Gross Domestic Product, a measure of how well an economy is going). They argued that trade would be harmed because the UK relies heavily on access to Europe’s economy for trading goods.
Finally, they argued that the UK would be better off reforming the European Union while still a member, than leaving the EU and all of its benefits behind.
Many leaders around the world supported the remain campaign, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama.
Most of the world was betting on the referendum ending in a remain result, due to polling by multiple sources in the lead up to the vote. But once the votes were tallied, leave won out 51.9% to 48.1%.
The British people decided: the UK is going to leave the European Union. During and after the results announcements, five massive political repercussions have so far occurred.
#1. The British Pound crashed in value.
One of the first electorates in the UK to declare their results, Sunderland, shocked the world by voting to leave when everyone expected it to swing remain.
This created a massive crash in the British Pound, as traders betting on a remain vote reacted to the possibility of leave winning the referendum. On the day, the Pound dropped 8% in value compared to the US dollar, the biggest drop in value in a single day ever.
Its value is now at its lowest level in 30 years. $2 trillion was lost in stocks as a reaction to Britain’s results.
#2. The Scottish Government is considering another independence referendum.
Although as a whole the United Kingdom voted leave, Northern Ireland and Scotland voted by a majority to remain in the European Union.
In 2014 the Scottish Independence referendum resulted in 55% in favour of staying in the UK. However, Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party responded to Brexit by announcing that another independence referendum should be considered.
This was due to Scotland’s want to remain despite England voting leave. She also announced that Scotland will be negotiating with EU officials to keep Scotland in the EU.
#3. Prime Minister David Cameron will resign.
David Cameron was the figurehead for the remain campaign and because of the result of the referendum, he announced that he will resign as Prime Minister before October this year. His decision to do so centered around his feeling that he was not the right person to be negotiating a Brexit, when he was adamantly against it.
Because of this, the UK will more than likely not invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (the section of the treaty of the EU that allows the UK to leave) until a new Prime Minister is decided.
Once the UK invokes Article 50, it will begin a two-year process of leaving the European Union, but EU officials have been staunch that they want the UK out as soon as possible.
#4. The Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn faces a coup.
Hilary Benn, the British Labour Party’s shadow foreign secretary was sacked by leader Jeremy Corbyn from his shadow cabinet. This followed reports that Hilary was going to lead a coup against him to replace him with a new leader.
This came out of debate over whether Jeremy Corbyn did enough to convince Labour voters to remain, when Labour strongholds in Wales and England voted by majority to Leave.
The Labour Party is now torn over whether Corbyn is the right leader for them to get into government, should there be a snap election as a result of the referendum. Currently 12 shadow cabinet members have been sacked or resigned since the referendum.
#5. The leave campaign is backtracking on its promises.
After the result, lead campaigners for the Brexit have been backtracking on their promises for what would happen if the UK left the European Union.
Most notably, Iain Duncan Smith is claiming that he never said that the UK should spend the £350 million per week it sends to the EU on funding the NHS during the campaign, despite having that promise written on a leave campaign bus.
As well as this, the leave Campaign has been backtracking on its promises to cut immigration substantially, a key issue that influenced voters to vote Leave.
So what will happen because of the Brexit? In all fairness, nobody knows. The Pound dropping in value was a shock to markets across the world and economists are worried the UK will fall into a recession, but nobody is sure. There is uncertainty over what will happen to the EU; whether it will be stronger or more countries will try to leave the Union.
Less than a week into this new scenario for the UK, all bets are off and there isn’t any way to know what will happen next. The only way to keep track is to watch it all unfold.SHARE THIS POST...