I was going to post about write about something light and silly today – one of my favorite TV shows of late, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I can’t do that. Not today. Today is sad. Last night was scary. The future is…unknowable now. The UKIP leader who was the face of Brexit said it was a victory “without a single bullet being fired“. Please tell that to the family of MP Jo Cox, who was stabbed multiple times and shot by a “Leave” supporter.
For whatever reason, the people of the UK voted against their own best interests in an effort to escape the shackles of participation in a political and economic union that they seem to think is holding them back. Unfortunately, it’s not going to get better by leaving the EU. All those regulations that were being complained about aren’t going to go away, and there will be an added layer of difficulty in getting to make the trades that were so onerous before. And now the UK will have to renegotiate more than 100 trade agreements – most of which it does with countries that they import more from than they export to.
The thing that boggles me the most is who voted to leave. Young people – the ones who will be most impacted by this decision for years to come by merit of having longer lives ahead of them – were the ones who wanted to stay the most. Seeing the graph and how it slopes decidedly down with each passing year…it feels selfish by those older folks who have benefited from living within the EU system, and are taking away that privilege from their children, grandchildren, and youngers.
And this chart from the Financial Time boggles me even more. It shows that those in areas who are more dependent on their regional production being exported to the EU voted to leave more than those in areas that are more independent in their economic production. So much of the spin-up prior to the referendum was that Leave supporters felt they were being held back by EU participation. But perhaps it wasn’t just that – there were other reasons, and these people really had no idea what it would mean to leave…or at least that’s what Google suggests.
So what’s next? Well, the pound tumbled overnight. Various world markets have also panicked. The NYSE opened to a loss. I took screenshots of my retirement account balances just before the opening bell as a way to remember the good times. The UK will have to go through all the “divorce” proceedings with the EU, and it’s not going to be pretty – EU leaders have already called for the process to happen as quickly as possible. David Cameron – the Prime Minister – has resigned, and there’s going to be some political upheaval while a new leader is found. Scotland and Northern Ireland may attempt to leave the UK. The world will continue, but it will be a different place.
I hope we in the US take to heart what the kind of fear-mongering that won things for “Leave” can wreak. And remember it when it comes to our own election this fall.