The UK Just Left The EU: All You Need To Know
UK Says 'Cheerio Felicia'
The Short of It:
The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a referendum yesterday.
The Longer Version of It:
First, let's back it up.
What is the EU anyway? Think about it kind of like the United States, except instead of 50 states being united, 28 countries are. The union in comparison to the US was formed fairly recent, having been established soon after World War II. Under the EU, the 28 countries operate under open borders with other EU members, share a common market, and follow the same social and political policies.
But, why does Britain want out? First, it's not all of the UK. There's the Leave Campaign and the Remain Campaign. Second, those who want a British exit and who are part of the Leave Campaign, want it because of economics, immigration, and identity.
The Leave Campaign and the economics issue: You know how some Americans don't understand funding for programs like the National Endowment for the Arts? The Leave Campaign doesn't get why the UK sends billions of pounds a year to Brussels, the head quarter of the EU, only to have that money passed on to other members of the union.
The Remain Campaign and the economics issue: To the Remainers, staying in the EU meant having a leg up on job opportunities and trade talks. They fear, as do other economic experts, that exiting will ruin the British economy, and possibly the world economy. That's because leaving the EU means leaving the EU common market, and loosing the benefits that the British reap when they sell to other EU states.
The Leave Campaign and the immigration issue: If you haven't already heard, there's a huge migrant and refugee crisis going on across the globe. EU members don't need a work visa to relocate and work in the UK. Kind of like our conservatives in the U.S. who have issues with immigration, Brexiters have issues with non-UK citizens moving in and having access to public resources like the National Health Service. Also just like in the U.S., where a lot of conservatives only see the immigrants that come from South American countries as an issue, there's tons of racially charged implications here.
The Identity Issue: Those in favor of Brexiting seem to be having a sort of identity crisis. Kind of like the one you had when you thought you'd give pledging a sorority a shot and you kept having to tell all of your non-greek friends you weren't like "most girls in a sorority" and had a problem with the tradition and rules. Well, people in the U.K. don’t generally see themselves as European, and they don't enjoy having to follow the various EU policies. The Leavers want to take back control and say that an exit would allow them to follow their own laws.
That brings us to the vote on the British exit that happened yesterday when over 30 million people from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar headed to the polls to vote on whether or not to leave the European Union. With 51.89% of the votes in favor of leaving, Britain became the first country to withdraw from the 28 country union.
As Britain starts to assess the terms of the exit with the remaining countries of the EU, stock markets around the world are taking a hit and the pound has plummeted. British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has already decided to dip out and submitted his resignation. It also looks like Scotland is going to try to leave the UK again, which you might remember them trying to do unsuccessfully last year. In a few words: poo's hitting the fan.
The U.S. and the UK are undoubtedly having similar existential crisis during a year of high-stakes election. Political parties from both countries are revealing great contrasts in opinion on what it means to be responsible to one another.