Early Friday morning, the United Kingdom descended into utter madness after its referendum to leave the European Union passed. More than half the population shrugged and decided a change might be for the best after four decades in the bloc. In today’s harsh daylight we can now access what’s to come after the 52 percent vote in favor of what’s come to be known as Brexit.
The move won’t happen right away, for the entire process will take years. But the immediate fallout has already been enormous. Once the results were announced, the British pound crashed to its lowest rate since 1985, while the safe-haven Japanese yen volleyed into volatile territory. This could effectively launch the U.K. into an economic recession while global stock markets are already reeling throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia.
For those who seek the tiniest silver lining, a vacation across the pond is sure to be inexpensive. However, the consequences of this referendum are far less fun. Leaving the E.U. will remove the economic and political benefits that the U.K. shared with the remaining 27 member states. No longer will free-flowing borders and a single market be givens. And the itch is spreading, for better or worse, with French and Dutch political parties already calling for similar referendums. Could Brexit signal the end of the European Union as we know it? Here’s why this could be one heck of a messy divorce.
The Blame Game Will Soon Shift
A few hours after the initial news, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he’s resigning his position after six years of service. He’ll stick around for three months to “steady the ship,” but he laments, “I do not think it would be right for me to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.” Cameron promises to show the world that the U.K.’s economy is a strong one, but that’s an awfully optimistic goal after the pound nosedived. Media perception shows the vote as a direct “repudiation” of everything that Cameron symbolizes. But some misleading Brexit propaganda should soon see fingers pointed elsewhere.
Regardless of expressed optimism, Cameron will trek to Brussels next week and meet with leaders of the remaining member states. However, Cameron announced that he won’t trigger the E.U. treaty’s Article 50 to begin secession. That will happen in the fall under the next prime minister, which will probably be a Brexit campaign leader. Boris Johnson, perhaps?