What has happened?
A referendum – a vote in which everyone of voting age can take part – was held on Thursday 23 June, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union.
Leave won by 52% to 48%.
The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting. It was the highest turnout in a UK-wide vote since the 1992 general election.
For the UK to leave the EU, it has to invoke an agreement called Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
Cameron or his successor needs to decide when to invoke this and it will then set in motion the formal legal process of withdrawing from the EU, and give the UK two years to negotiate its withdrawal.
The win for exodus from EU had been caused by rage and racism against cheaper labour from East Europe. Many UK citizens felt that their jobs have been taken and that they have been replaced by foreign immigrants. With the Leave vote cast on Brexit, there were also several cases of racial attacks against immigrants over the weekend.
But for the layman, what does Brexit entail?
- Loss of jobs: HSBC has already announced that the jobs in UK will be moved to Paris.
- Plunging value of the pound: While we can expect a lot of cheaper exports from the UK, imports will cost so much for UK citizens, this naturally leads to inflation.
- Government in disarray with many serving with David Cameron leaving the cabinet.
- UK will need trade negotiators, and will need hundreds, to replicate the market access it currently has with 50 states around the world.
- The UK banking institution is now thrown into turmoil with many banks considering moving their regional European headquarters to Frankfurt or Paris.
- Immigration and migration laws to be changed drastically. UK citizens might need to apply for Visa to work in other parts of EU and EU worker might need to apply for work permit to work in the UK.
- UK shares will be lacklustre for foreign investors who will soon pull out of UK.
With David Cameron’s resignation, UK would need to have a very strong leader to breakaway from EU. EU has ready kicked UK out but is UK ready to breakaway from the EU, one of the strongest economic blocs in the world?
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to fight for his leadership and reshape his cabinet over the next 24 hours. Is he the right leader to lead UK through this turmoil?
As a Singaporean, I am watching Brexit with utter shock. The narrow win margin has thrown UK into turmoil, turned the country into an even an easier target for terrorist attacks amidst the chaos and cheaper pound, and not to mention that the country will face higher unemployment rate with many banks and companies making their move on to Frankfurt and Paris.
Can UK be saved? The question looms over UK’s uncertain future.