Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

It's official: Britain Has Voted to Exit the European Union

Bookies had thought there was a 90% chance of Bremain, 3 days ago


Boris Johnson at a Leave rally June 4. OK, he's actually on a Zipline. The fun conservative, will likely be the next Prime Minister of Britain. Ironically, he is the son of a Brussels based British technocrat, who grew up in Brussels.

In a shocking reversal of pre-election opinion polls, Britons voted to leave the European Union. With all the vote counted, 51.9% of British people voted to leave and only 48.1% voted to remain. In the end, they wanted control of their country back from non elected technocrats in Brussels.

The Bank of England has said it will face liquidity problems, and the electorate was warned. But more of the Leave voters showed up at the polls than anyone expected.

Wales and England voted to go, while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay. Some commentators are saying that Scotland, which recently voted to remain in the United Kingdom, will now demand another vote. Scotland voted for Bremain, and they will want to be independent and a part of the EU. It is unclear whether Scotland would want to be a part of NATO

Some experts are saying the vote is non binding, treaties would have to be renegotiated before Britain could leave. Article 50 of the E.U. charter would have to be invoked, which has never been done before, and 2-4 years would be required for that.

70% of University educated people supported remain, as did 75% of young people. 55% of less educated people said leave, as did 62% of people over 60. Only London, Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain; all other regions of England and Wales voted to leave.

US Dow futures are down 582 points at 7:52 pm PST. Britain is the world's 5th largest economy; it is unclear if the EU is viable without it. The British Pound is down 8.91%, at its lowest level against the dollar in 35 years. FTSE 100 futures are currently down 5%. Gold is up 5.7%.

Nigel Farage, UKUP Leader and Leave Campaign Chairman, has called for David Cameron to resign. Cameron agreed to a referendum only to please a radical wing in his own party, led by Farage. This is the greatest shock to the UK, politically, since the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.

"I hope we've knocked the first brick out of the wall, the EU has failed," Farage said. "I hope we end up without it, with a Europe of friends, a Europe that trades, but without the EU flags. We're now free to make our own trade deals with the rest of the world. We've given ourselves the chance to rejoin the world. We need to start thinking globally about our future. June 23rd should be a national bank holiday, and we shall call it Independence Day."

Nigel Farange, heaad of the leave campaign, said Thursday morning he thought his campaign would probably lose. Surprise!

To me, this vote implies a much greater chance of a Donald Trump victory in the U.S. in November. The Brexit campaign and Trumps campaign, share anti-immigrant and protectionist themes. Britain had been one of the loudest voices for free trade, traditionally. British young people want to be able to work throughout the 27 nation EU. But their elders disagreed, saying let's spend the 16.8 billion pounds we give every year to the EU, and spend it here.

Opinions about how important this story is, especially for us in the United States, vary. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, 90, says this is worse than the 2008 Lehman Brothers bank collapse. CNBC on the other hand, is running a story that it may take 10 years for Britain to exit the EU, if it happens at all. In a widely cited story, the Washington Post says that thousands in Britain are googling "European Union"; and "what happens if we exit the EU," indicating they don't understand the consequences of their vote, and wish they could change their minds.

The poll is non binding. It may never happen at all, Brexit. Or, as Farage says, it may be the beginning of the end for the EU.


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