Just over a month and a half ago, Britain left the EU. And, since then, many other events have taken place in the world that have stolen the spotlight away somewhat from the referendum.
The week after Brexit for me, my family and friends was hard. We all woke up on that Friday morning expecting to hear that Britain had decided to remain in the EU. However, we had not. I can clearly remember the looks of shock and disappointment on my friends faces as we trudged down Queen Street and one girl saying “It’s just going to get worse from here”. I remember my dad, usually calm and composed, being in floods of tears because he thought that he was no longer part of the “European Family” after Brexit.
However, everything, at least on the surface, appears to be back to normal.
The biggest political change in Britain since Brexit is the change of Prime Minister from David Cameron to Theresa May, the former Home Secretary. Cameron stepped down on the day of the referendum after it was announced that we were leaving the EU because he believed that “the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction”. After a brief leadership contest between Theresa May and Angela Leadsom, who dropped out of the race after the first week, May was appointed PM. Even though she supported the remain campaign during the build up to the referendum, May has stated that because we have voted to leave the EU we will now do that. She has reshuffled the cabinet, getting rid of Osborne as Chancellor of the Exchequer and placing Boris Johnson, who many expected to be the new Prime-Minister, as Foreign Secretary. May has created a new Brexit Ministry, headed by David Davis which is responsible for organising negotiations between Britain and the EU over the following years as Britain prepares to leave.
The fall in the value of the pound in the days following Brexit was dramatic. On the day of the referendum, the value of sterling went down by 10% to the dollar and 7% to the Euro. On the day of writing, the pound is worth slightly more than the dollar (£1=$1.32) and the euro (£1=1.18 Euro). However experts from BNP Paribas think that the US Dollar will become stronger next month, meaning that the pound will ultimately be worth less than the dollar. Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, recently said that the bank will do all it can to support the stock exchange and the sterling, implying that the British economy is in a precarious position at the moment.
Another more sinister change in Britain since Brexit is the increase in racist incidents and hate crime. It may seem quite controversial to say this, but I think than now we have left the EU, people who are racist feel that they can express their views publicly without fear of reprisal when before they may have been “closet racists”. This maybe because the leave campaign was focussed so much on immigration and it allowed right-wing politicians like Nigel Farage to express their views on a national scale. In the four days following the referendum, police reported that hate crime increased by 57% and in the last two weeks of June 42% more hate crime was reported to the police compared to the same period in 2015. In Cathays for example, neo-Nazi stickers have been placed on lampposts by a group some describe as being more extreme than the BNP.
Finally, however, if one good thing has come from Brexit, it is the growing interest in politics in our generation. Before Brexit and even now, the referendum was and is a popular topic of conversation among young people who may or may not not have cared as much about political issues before the referendum. Many 16-17 year olds (including myself), think that they should have been allowed a vote in the referendum because the decision made will impact us and our futures a lot more than it would a pensioner for example. Nearly everybody I’ve spoken to would have voted remain had they had the chance: this can be seen in the fact that 75% of young people voted remain in the referendum.
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