After months of contentious campaigning, voters in the United Kingdom finally cast their ballots last week to decide whether or not to leave the European Union. Shortly after the polls closed on Thursday evening, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party and the “Leave” movement, Nigel Farage, conceded defeat, announcing that “Remain” was due to win the popular vote. However, his concession turned out to be premature, as was revealed early Friday morning in a shocking twist: the Leave campaign eked out Remain by 51.9% to 48.1%. The U.K. now has two years to negotiate its separation from the E.U.
In the wake of the announcement that Leave had won the day, Prime Minister David Cameron, who passionately supported Remain, declared that he would resign his position by October, so that someone else might facilitate the transition. Scotland and Northern Ireland, both of which voted overwhelmingly in favor of Remain, are now considering seceding from the United Kingdom so that they might stay a part of the European Union. International finance markets are in turmoil, and the British pound plummeted to its lowest value since 1985.
World leaders, many of whom criticized the Leave campaign, are looking ahead and trying to avoid a global recession by urging a conciliatory tone and a swift departure of the U.K. from the E.U. bloc.
- A renewed sense of nationalism in working class Britons was essential to the success of the Leave campaign. Why do you think nationalism is on the rise this year, not only in the U.K. but in the United States?
- How can we come together when heated and controversial issues threaten to tear us apart?
- How much do you personally consider your own Catholic faith when voting in a political election?