The build up to the EU referendum was one full of confusion and uncertainty. However, the public have voted, and it has been decided that Britain will leave the European Union. In a closely contested vote, the ‘Leave’ campaign received 51.9% (or 17,410,742) of votes, whereas ‘Remain’ received 48.1% (16,141,241). It would appear that the over 50s were the majority of ‘Leave’ voters, whilst many young people chose to ‘Remain’. There has been outrage on social media platforms this morning, with a petition to hold a second referendum as the votes were so close. Furthermore, David Cameron has resigned from his post as Prime Minister this morning, claiming that he is not the right person to steer Britain out of the EU.
Having just recovered from one of the biggest recessions in recent history, 51.9% of the population have opted to plunge the country back into uncertainty and economic instability. Effects of this decision have already been seen in less than twelve hours after the result was announced, when the pound dropped to the lowest it has been since 1985. “Britain’s EU referendum has been a cloud hanging over the global economy for the past few months and that cloud has got very dark this morning.” (Dennis de Jong) Such a quote is in light of the stocks and shares market this morning: many stocks and shares, particularly those of RBS have significantly plummeted in light of this morning’s news. These are a few of the immediate consequences of voting to leave the EU, however, any further implications are unknown. Indeed, the rest of this article will be mainly speculative, for Britain is the first major county to leave the EU since its set up.
It is now a waiting game to see who will be appointed the new Prime Minister: frontrunners appear to be Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Teresa May. David Cameron has announced that he plans for the changeover to take place by October.
Although the country has now voted ‘out’, leaving the EU is not an instantaneous process, and could take up to two years to comeplete. However, Britain will now enter a climate of cultural, political and social instability as government officials attempt to define the terms on which we will leave the European Union.
This morning there has also been speculation of Scotland calling a second referendum on whether they remain part of the United Kingdom. Scotland voted to remain in the European Union, and this may sway the people into voting to leave the UK and remain in the EU.
In financial terms, it is nearly impossible to accurately predict what will happen, particularly if changes do not fully occur for another two years. However, some economists have predicted that house prices could fall; the rate of mortgages could increase; taxes may increase; and travel abroad will become less accessible and more expensive.
I voted in and stand by my decision, whilst the EU is not a perfect organisation, I believe in the power of unity and multiculturalism. It is unfortunate that leaders such as Nigel Farage escalated the immigration issue that Britain supposedly faces, and incited racism and xenophobic fears into the public. As previously stated, much of this article is speculating about potential consequences for Britain. However, one thing is sure: our futures are less certain today than they were yesterday.