OPINION: Life Following the #Brexit and Beyond
Yesterday, the UK voted on whether or not they should leave the EU, in what most would call one of the most life changing European decisions of the past decade. Ultimately, the UK has voted to leave and David Cameron has resigned. If you'd like to catch up on the details, you can find the breakdown over at BBC.
The stories found below will be updated periodically throughout the day to showcase varying global reactions following the vote.
What #Brexit Is, and Why It Is Not Your Decision
by Jess Greenburg
USA - If you’re unfamiliar with the term #Brexit, let me explain. A vote was held in the UK on Thursday, June 23rd to decide whether the UK should leave the European Union or not. The voters of the UK chose to leave the Union by a 52% majority according to the BBC. This has coined the term “Brexit”, short for “Britain’s exit”. The European Union (or EU) is an economic and political partnership between 28 countries in Europe. The EU allows people and trading goods to move around between countries, almost as if there was one large European country. The UK has always been a slightly unique member of this partnership, however, - for instance, they do not use the common currency of the EU, the euro, and instead have continued to use their traditional currency.
While many British voters felt that the EU was holding them back, others fear problems that could occur immediately such housing prices, long term problems such preservation of endangered species, and more trivial issues like Britain’s participation in the Eurovision song contest (FYI, they will be allowed to compete). And all of these issues are very real for the citizens of the UK, and greatly impacted their decision when they voted. However, the American public has been weighing in heavily on this decision, and mostly in a negative way. Much of the negativity stems from a lack of understanding of what the EU is and how Britain will be different going forward. Many Americans are less concerned about what is best for the people of the UK, and more concerned about how it affects prices here in America and our ease of travel. While anyone’s concerns can be valid, ultimately, this has nothing to do with what Americans want, and we need to accept that. This is about what the British people feel will give them the best opportunities going forward, which is exactly what Americans do whenever we vote. Yes, Britain’s decisions will impact the globe. But it is not anyone’s right to ask a country to remain in a partnership they no longer want. So let’s support the British people and respect their choice, just like we ask the rest of the world to respect our choices.
Americans Take Note; There Are Lessons to be Learned from the #Brexit Vote
by Vaannila Annadurai
On Thursday June 23rd, after weeks of anticipation, the British voters were called on to make a crucial decision: whether or not to leave the European Union. Despite the grave warnings of British Prime Minister David Cameron, the British people voted with a close margin -- with only a 52% majority -- to leave the EU, causing the Prime Minister Cameron to resign, and leaving the rest world to wonder what this entails for the future of both Britain and the world.
As many politicians and opponents of the British exit have warned, Brexit could spell disaster for the United Kingdom. It could lead to political instability, the weakening of the British economy including a drop in the value of the British pound, and could even prompt the breakup of the United Kingdom. This decision could also have profound impacts on people outside of the UK, as studies indicate the Brexit vote could have negative impacts on the American economy and the state of our diplomatic relations.
The results were close – staggeringly close. As there was a 72.2% voter turnout (which dropped much lower in working class areas), there is a large possibility a higher voter turnout could’ve led to a profoundly different outcome. Additionally, Google searches indicate the British voters were frantically researching the implications of Brexit after the vote had occurred. Americans take note; there are lessons to be learned from the Brexit vote. Note the aftermath and the effects of Brexit, and keep the effects of low voter turnout and an uneducated voter pool in mind as we make our presidential decision in November.
Brexit: Looking In From America
by Meghan Sullivan
The final decision of the “Referendum of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union” (more commonly known as “Brexit”) has been reached by the people of the U.K., and the final decision to leave the E.U. was very close—52% to 48%. Though it’s not been a full 24-hours, the world is already seeing serious repercussions. These range from the U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron stepping down, the stock market plunging internationally, the British Pound Sterling value plummeting, Scotland considering breaking from the U.K. to be part of the E.U., and countless other things.
As an American, I am definitely shocked about the final results of this referendum. Although I have to respect the people’s vote, I respectfully disagree with the U.K. leaving the E.U because it’s not just affecting the U.K., it’s affecting the whole world. Additionally, I especially disagree because I’ve seen tweets from Donald Trump actively supporting Brexit, and, to me, that is not good:
Besides the fact that he is absolutely wrong about Scotland going “wild” with celebrations, he’s supporting U.K. nationalism and the “taking their country back” mentality. He has stirred up enough of that mentality here in America and to see it spreading like wildfire in U.K. is downright terrifying.
We don’t need more ultra-right nationalists running countries in the world; this will only divide people further until people decide that another world war is the only way to “settle differences.” To me, it feels like we have forgotten the causes of WWII and how ultra-nationalism can destroy an entire generation. As a citizen of this world, I don’t want to see the consequences of a potential dismantling of the E.U. and a volatile nationalist Europe rise, once again.