Submitted by Jack on Friday 24th June 2016. Updated Mon 27th June 2016 at 12.26pm.
On 23rd June, the United Kingdom took to the polls to vote in what was arguably one of the most important decisions many would make in their lives. The question was simple, should the UK remain a member of, or leave, the European Union (EU). For the uninformed of you, the vote favoured an exit.
Leave (the EU) claimed victory by four points, gaining 51.9% of the overall vote, whilst Remain (in the EU) gained 48.1% of the total vote.
This has not just had recuperations across Britain, but also across Europe and the globe. As the majority of experts, including polling companies and stock markets, had expected a Remain result, a Leave – or ‘Brexit’ (British Exit) – win came as a shock.
The result’s immediate effects
The effects of this unforeseen victory had immediately obvious effects. The win obviously provided a reason to celebrate for Vote Leave’s forerunners, Former London Mayor Boris Johnson and Justice Secretary Michael Gove, alongside the rather controversial leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, who, although he wasn’t officially part of Vote Leave, campaigned for Britain’s exit. The Stock Market had already predicted a Remain win and had factored this into prices, so it took a heavy hit, with it crashing early on Friday 24th June. At one point, the FTSE 100 index had dropped by about 8% and, at the time of writing, the Sterling to US Dollar exchange rate has decreased by around 8.96%.
The Prime Minister resigns, political parties are divided
Brexit’s win also created some interesting developments within politics. These started with David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, making a statement at 8:20am outside his residence of 10 Downing Street, in which he announced his resignation by October of this year. This has opened a Conservative leader competition, with one favourite being Boris Johnson. Some members of the Labour Party, who predominantly supported Remain, have also expressed a vote of no confidence in their leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Accusing the Labour Leader of a half-hearted effort in the referendum campaign, action is expected by as early as Wednesday of next week.
An independent Scotland and London, and a re-united Ireland?
The referendum has brought up questions about divisions within the UK. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced that a second Scottish independence referendum is on the table and is now “Highly likely”, and there have been suggestions that a border poll may take place in Northern Ireland to re-unite with the Republic of Ireland, in an attempt to remain in the EU. An online petition, which has attracted over 30,000 signatures on the site change.org since being set up earlier on Friday, has even floated the idea of London becoming an independent country/city state in order to remain a member of the EU. The poll suggests the current Mayor Sadiq Khan, who caused a storm earlier in the year as London’s first Muslim mayor, could become ‘President Khan’.
Other European leaders to scramble
Leaders of the EU have called a summit within a week to discuss the result of the referendum. It will be held with 27 other member countries. The UK is not invited and will not be attending, meaning it will be the first EU Summit without UK attendance.
A surprise win for Leave
The win came as even more of a surprise as a poll released on referendum day showed Remain with a lead of 52% to 48% over Leave. Whilst the polls did get the last General Election predictions badly wrong, the general consensus was that Remain would emerge victorious, with UKIP leader Nigel Farage admitting he felt “Remain may have edged it”, before later “un-conceding”.
Many young people disappointed
Across the United Kingdom, there have been mixed reactions to the outcome. The majority of young people have expressed disappointment at the results, with three in four young people voting Remain, whilst the majority of people aged 65 + voted Leave. Many young people have felt that the vote was unfair, as they feel their future has been governed by the largely Eurosceptic older generation. However, many celebrated Leave’s victory, and it was dubbed Britain’s “Independence day” by many.
A second EU referendum? Petition goes viral.
Some people, not satisfied with the result, have signed another online petition, this time on HM Government’s official petition site. The petition calls for a second EU referendum on the grounds that the majority was under 60% with a turn-out of less than 75%. There was a 72% turn-out to vote in the referendum on Thursday. The petition has proved so popular that the Government’s petition website crashed on numerous occasions on Friday. The poll has already passed the 100,000 signature mark needed for it to be considered for debate in Parliament and at the time of writing the number of signatures stands at 224,316 [update: it is now over three million].
The EU Referendum has arguably been one of the most brutal and interesting political events in modern times. Whilst the UK has voted to Leave, and this could have serious repercussions in the years to come, the debate has re-opened old wounds in parties and has raised interesting questions about the future of the EU itself, with some parties in France and other EU nations already demanding their own referendums.
What did you think of the result of the referendum? Are you pleased about the outcome or disappointed? What do you think influenced the result? Let’s get discussing in the comments below.
Sub-editor’s note: It takes two seconds to comment – you can use your Facebook or Twitter login details! Comments below.
Has Youth Work ever been important to you? Share your experience 23rd-30th June 2016 for Youth Work Week to tell decision-makers, young people and others how important it is! You can share an article via theSprout or, in 140 characters or less, you can Tweet @YWWales / #LoveYWW!
Related Film & Info For Young People:
In a muddle about voting? Check out our BRAND NEW Voting page in our Info section here. Includes handy tips on what to do if you’re too young to vote.