If you get any kind of political news alert on your phone, you likely woke up to a series of threatening-sounding alerts about the state of the economy, European Union and life in general. So what the fuck is going on?
Last night, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (EU), with 52% of the 30 million voters casting their ballot for the “Leave” referendum. In case you didn’t know, the United Kingdom is comprised of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. England and Wales both overwhelmingly voted Leave, while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted “Stay.” So, the United Kingdom as a whole is leaving the EU.
Young people in the United Kingdom are basically pissed. The older generations voted to leave, while millenials voted to stay. Leaving the EU, which is basically an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries, means that certain rights and privileges could be taken away. UK citizens may not be able to live and work in other EU countries without a visa now, and international trade will be affected. So thanks, British grandmas and grandpas.
In the wake of this huge pile of shit, British Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned. He’ll remain in office with his cabinet for the next three months, but then the United Kingdom is left to elect another poor sod to replace him. Cameron wanted to stay in the EU and was working on agreements with other European Union leaders to change the terms of Britain’s membership.
So why did UK citizens want to leave anyway? Critics of the EU said that Britain was being held back by the EU’s many rules on businesses and high membership costs. They also wanted to take back full control of their borders (hi, Donald Trump). But those on the other side fear that the UK will become the “United States of Britain” without the EU.
But the UK isn’t just leaving overnight. In the coming months, the EU and Britain will negotiate the terms of the release. People who actually study this shit for a living theorize it will be years before the UK actually leaves. In the meantime, the global economy is super fucked up. Stocks and bonds are down, and people are pulling their money out of banks and the New York Stock Exchange like it’s 2008 all over again.
So what does it all mean? The world will go on, but the British economy will likely face huge problems. The pound has dropped really low (like, currency in Zimbabwe is currently more valuable). Economists predict the British economy will be roughly five percent smaller in 2030 because of this. And yes, even across the pond, our American economy will also take a hit.
Fucking glad we left your asses back in 1776.