The UK has voted to leave the European Union, a decision that has sent shockwaves through the world. In a final tally, the leave campaign won 51.9 percent of the vote, with a turnout of 71.8 percent — the highest in a UK election since 1992.
In political and financial terms, the fallout has been sudden and cataclysmic. David Cameron, the leader of the UK's ruling Conservative party, resigned this morning (although he'll stay in power until later this year), while the value of the pound has fallen through the floor and global markets have tumbled. Here are the two biggest indicators that despite the reassurances of the leave campaign, the UK's economy is about to take a big, big hit:
10%- this is pound's worst fall ever. Next was 4.3% in 1978. The experts were indeed wrong- not pessimistic enough pic.twitter.com/2MK6q8EkMF— Joel Lewin (@JoelLewin) June 24, 2016
People in the UK are adjusting to the fact that the money in their pocket is worth less than it used to be:
First images released of design for new £1 coin. pic.twitter.com/iqXQ4FMbCN— Mike Smyth (@M1ke5myth) June 24, 2016
While even financial experts are at a loss at what to say.
Financial Times just gave up. pic.twitter.com/nhk810zbBL— Johan Norberg (@johanknorberg) June 24, 2016
One of the clearest trends in the outcome of the vote, though, has been the split between the younger and older demographics.
Age breakdown on Brexit polls tells underlying story. Older generation voted for a future the younger don't want: pic.twitter.com/kMPECqQF6u— Murtaza Hussain (@MazMHussain) June 24, 2016
Younger people overwhelming voted to stay a part of the EU, while older generations preferred to leave. Not surprisingly, many have pointed out the unfairness of this, given that the UK's older population — with houses, jobs, and pensions secured — have less to lose from financial and political turmoil.
I put together a quick infographic summarizing the demographics of the Brexit vote by age. pic.twitter.com/UTEvmPVTc3— Kieran Healy (@kjhealy) June 24, 2016
its almost as if old people who are going to die soon tend to vote for their immediate, base desires rather than for long term benefits— jon hendren (@fart) June 24, 2016
Simply casting the vote as young people versus old people, though, is too simplistic. Polls have shown that the strongest demographic indicator for voting leave was not age, but education:
There's also division within the UK itself. Support for leave is strongest within England, with Wales also favoring Brexit. However, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and some of the UK's largest cities — London, Liverpool, and Manchester among them — made it clear they want to remain.
Many are predicting that this division could lead to a break up of the United Kingdom as a whole. Although Scotland voted to stay a part of the country in the 2014 independence referendum, strong Scottish support for the EU means that the Scottish National Party will likely seek a second referendum in the years to come.
In Northern Ireland the situation is even trickier. The country has a mostly open border with the Republic of Ireland (which will remain part of the EU) which was only established after decades of violence. Sinn Féin, the political party that supports uniting Northern Ireland and the Republic, has called for a referendum on this topic.
Sinn Féin call for Border Poll on Irish Unity.— Irish Unity (@IrishUnity) June 24, 2016
"Brit Gov have forfeited its mandate to represent north of Ireland in relation to the EU."
Some people, though, are just surprised you can get rid of the British this easily.
Meanwhile India is just blown away that you can get Britain to leave by voting— Bobby Big Wheel (@BobbyBigWheel) June 23, 2016
The outcome of the vote has also given a boost to factions in other European countries who want their own referendums. These include the Dutch Party for Freedom, led by a man who once compared the Koran to Mein Kampf, and France's right-wing National Front.
BREAKING: Dutch Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders calls for Dutch EU referendum after Brexit— BNO News (@BNONews) June 24, 2016
Wires report Marine Le Pen, leader of French Front National, has already been on the airwaves calling for EU referendum in France. #Frexit— Russian Market (@russian_market) June 24, 2016
Back in the UK, the resignation of David Cameron has gone over well:
And left the country with questions about who might replace him. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove — two prominent Conservative backers of the leave campaign — are favorites for the top job, but annoyed voters also have their own suggestions:
Meanwhile, the UK Independence Party (support for which triggered this referendum), seems almost surprised by its own victory. Leader Nigel Farage said the leave campaign had won "without a bullet being fired" — despite the fact that pro-immigration MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death just eight days ago.
It really is a post fact society. https://t.co/uhEdvvJXib— Matt Wells (@MatthewWells) June 24, 2016
Farage has also already backtracked on one of his biggest campaign promises — that the UK could save £350 million a week by leaving the EU.
Farage: it was a mistake for Vote Leave to say it could save £350m/week by leaving the EU and give the £ to the NHS https://t.co/DbNMaJVvUt— Katharine Viner (@KathViner) June 24, 2016
All of this has clear implications for America's coming election. The leave campaign managed to build a populist, right-wing base by playing on feelings of disenfranchisement among the white working class and stoking fears of immigration... That sound familiar at all?
So in a matchup between idiot revanchism and a bloodless neoliberal status quo, idiot revanchism wins. *tugs hell out of collar*— Baritone Zizek (@cushbomb) June 24, 2016
Trump is actually in Scotland right now, visiting one of his golf courses. He certainly sees the similarities between the two campaigns (even if he missed the fact that Scotland wanted to stay in the EU, not leave it).
If the UK can be of any use at this point, it's as a warning of what happens when you let the old outvote the young. Good luck, America.
America: heed this warning. There are more demons in your midst than your social media echo chamber would have you believe. Vote goddamnit.— Nikesh Shukla (@nikeshshukla) June 24, 2016