By: Darby VanHoutan
This summer has definitely been one full of political tension and issues that hit home for too many people. Across the pond in Britain, millions of citizens turned out just yesterday to vote on a decision that will change the lives of not only the European Union but everyone around the world.
The United Kingdom held a referendum on Thursday (referendum: a general vote by the people on a single political question that has been given to them for direct decision) to decide whether Britain would stay in or leave the EU. The “leave” campaign won with 52% to the “stay” campaigns 48%. As the results from this voting piled in, the value of the euro dropped significantly to its lowest level since the 1980’s. In the hours since the voting, Britain has lost a total of 350 billion euro (this converts to about $389,304,995,370.39). This morning after receiving the news, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he would resign by October. Cameron served as a leader of the “stay” campaign and an important voice in the debate. According to his speech, Cameron made the decision to step down because he feels that he would not be the right person to lead the people of Britain to their next destination.
Why did this happen? The reasons behind the “leave” campaign were promises such as restrictions on immigration, more money for an independent United Kingdom, better handling of crises, and other issues within the country. These issues include things such as lack of trust in people like the Prime Minister, the UK’s relationship with Europe, and the big names that backed the “leave” campaign. These names included that of Michael Gove and Boris Johnson (the head runner for replacing Cameron). Another thing worth noting is the different turnout of people at the polls on Thursday. There was a 25 percent turnout of people aged 18-25 and a 61 percent turnout of people 65 and up. Ironically, this decision made by a majority of older citizens, will be the issue for the newer generations instead to handle.
Currently, the EU is a 27-member block, being knocked down from 28 after Britain is the first country to exit. However, this referendum does not stand alone. This decision is causing traction and debated in other countries in the EU such as Scotland who voted to remain in the EU on Thursday.
What does this mean? Although the news on the decision is not even a day old, the ripples from Britain’s vote will surely last for decades. This decision shows that the United Kingdom is now independent from Europe and more right-winged than ever. This decision will change traveling from Britain to members of the EU and vice-versa. Technically, this decision isn’t a legally-binding one but it isn’t likely that the British government will ignore its voters. Within the vote was also the fact that there won’t be any ~major~ changes in the next two years. This is because it will take about this long for the remaining 27 members and the independent Britain to decide things like how to maintain trade, travel, etc.