So by now I’m sure we’ve all heard the result: yes, Britain has voted to leave the European Union. A majority of 52% voted to leave, mainly coming from England as both Scotland and Northern Ireland had a remain majority. Since then, David Cameron has announced that he’s stepping down and the pound has fallen below its lowest level for over 30 years.
So why did the country vote this way? Voting patterns show that ‘intellectual hubs’ (such as London, and university areas like Oxford and Cambridge) all voted remain: take from that what you will. The Abingdon vote couldn’t have been more different, with 79% of the school community voting to stay in, making the national result even more surprising.
If there was one thing all the pre-referendum predictions agreed on, it’s that a leave vote would hit the UK economy hard, and now we’re starting to see the effects of that. As I mentioned, the pound has hit a 30-year low, whilst the FTSE 100 as a whole has dropped 8.7pc (a lot). There is also a strong possibility that the UK will lose its ‘AAA’ credit rating, something which could greatly affect international standing as well as our economy.
But there can also be good things, such as £350 million being spent on the NHS. Apologies – typo – £350 million won’t be spent on the NHS, as that campaign was a ‘mistake’, as said by Nigel Farage this morning, but at least he’s sorry.
£350 million won’t be spent on the NHS
The rest of Europe also faces dramatic social disruption, as freedom of movement and labour agreements all become uncertain: better cancel that gap year in Spain! Similarly, Scotland (with a strong remain majority) will probably call for a second referendum about leaving the UK, so they can rejoin the EU, and I don’t really blame them. At least we still have Wales.
But of course, I can’t say that for fact as no-one really knows what will happen from now on. There is already a petition on the government petitions website to have a second referendum on the basis that fewer than 75% of voters turned out, and the majority was less than 60%. If this petition gets more than 100,000 signatures then it must be discussed in Parliament, and when I checked it was on 85,000 and increasing by 1,000 every minute. If you would like to sign it, you can try here, but we aware that the website has crashed multiple times as too many people are trying to sign it.
We are however left with an array of questions following the result, and in particular, the demographic of voting. Has the campaign highlighted increasing class divides? Did Labour fail to convince its core working class vote that it was right to remain? Was the ‘Leave’ vote really a protest against a southern elite who are out of touch with the views of ordinary people? An in-depth analysis will feature in the print Martlet next week, but until then keep checking Facebook to read all the helpful and thoughtful points your friends are making, and stay glued to the news to see how this develops.