23 June 2016 will go down in history as a tumultuous day for Europe. The day when Europe’s second largest economy, and financial centre, chose to jump ship. By the slenderest of majorities, 52% versus 48%, The British people imposed their will to divorce their European counterparts once and for all, in a move that will send shockwaves across Europe, and indeed the world, and will bring a premature end to David Cameron’s tenure as Prime Minister, with his announcement that he will stand down in October after losing his battle to keep the UK in Europe.
The immediate economic fall-out has been true to the much-maligned expert opinion, with the Pound Sterling in freefall after a brief spike following speculation that Remain would win out. The FSTE 100 also opened 8% down to a 31-year low as initial panic of Brexit made itself felt on the markets. Similar trends were to be noted on the continent, with the French CAC 40 exchange also reporting 8% deficits.
The Scottish National Party will be deeply unhappy with the results, after near-unanimity was recorded in Scotland in favour of remain. This will surely trigger calls for a new referendum on Scottish independence for a nation who sees its future very much in the European Union. Northern Ireland is also the subject of attention, with some calling for a poll on a possible United Ireland as a result of the Brexit vote. Meanwhile, Geert Wilders of the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen of France have both congratulated the UK on their decision, and urged their people to follow Britain out of Europe by proposing their own referendum
While Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson will continue to trumpet ‘Independence Day’ as the day the ‘ordinary man’ beat the establishment, it must be clearly stated that no ‘taking back control’ can take place just yet. Indeed, the next step along the path to sovereignty will be the activation of Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union so that negotiations between both sides, the EU and the UK can begin, and terms can be laid out to secure the exit of the UK from its current member status, and a new relationship can be defined.
Today’s result has great symbolic significance, but it marks just the beginning of the road to any British ‘independence’ from Europe.
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