Personal – Brexit

brexit result map
Image from Washington Post

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.

remain-by-age
Chart by YouGov

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.

Brexit by EU Dependence
Image from FT

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.

3 Comment

  1. Nicole Holstein says: Reply

    I’m feeling all these same feelings.
    I wanted to add 2 things:
    1) I was reading that France is now in a position where they MUST make the UK’s difforce as absolutely difficult and painful as possible, because they have their own nationalists who want France to leave the EU, and they must demonstrate why that isn’t a good plan. Pain lies ahead for the UK.
    And 2), the strength of the historic Paris climate agreement is now endangered. The EU is a driver of that agreement, and the UK was a huge driver of the EU’s climate position and dedication. Many parts of the Paris agreement will now how to be revisited. Also, the UKIP win strengthens far right parties, not only in the UK, but across Europe, meaning climate-denying or regulation-destroying parties may be able to rise into more positions of power now. We are at about 11:55pm on the Climate Change Clock-that CANNOT happen.

    1. maggie says: Reply

      I knew there were more crazy crappy things that were bound to happen, and I’m sure there are lots of things that neither you nor I are able to think about right now (especially as Americans). My latest wondering: what happens to EU citizens who are resident in the UK? “Leave” advocates apparently said that those who are already in the UK would be treated the same, but apparently lawyers out there are saying “Not so fast…” as all these things would have to be worked out in the new treaties.

      I know about a handful of EU citizens who live in the UK full time. I’m not entirely sure on their statuses, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.

  2. […] I love voting.  It gives me such a sense of civic pride.  As the Boy and I walked to our polling place this morning, we commented on how the act of voting is the gravest responsibility that can be bestowed on a person.  We are making a choice for our country as a people – we better not mess it up. […]

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