What Does the Brexit Vote Mean?

A reader writes in the Financial Times:

“A quick note on the first three tragedies. Firstly, it was the working classes who voted for us to leave because they were economically disregarded, and it is they who will suffer the most in the short term. They have merely swapped one distant and unreachable elite for another. Secondly, the younger generation has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles, and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors. Thirdly and perhaps most significantly, we now live in a post-factual democracy. When the facts met the myths they were as useless as bullets bouncing off the bodies of aliens in a HG Wells novel.

When Michael Gove said, ‘The British people are sick of experts,’ he was right. But can anybody tell me the last time a prevailing culture of anti-intellectualism has led to anything other than bigotry?”

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  • DKDC

    Who’s next to leave? Greece? Spain?ETA: Will Scotland leave Great Britain?

    It seems the trend of Balkanization continues.

    • Alki

      Given where the pound is at, I’d say people are going to wait and see what happens.

      • DKDC

        Maybe Texas will finally leave when HRC is elected.

        • MrBeale

          This time I say we let ’em go.

          • JoyP

            Yes please.

          • jpic

            I have been saying this for years now. Add the rest of the Confederacy along with Ky and Wva, Okla. and Kansas and call it Jesusland. Do it peacefully and watch the old US prosper.

          • Mike

            We can’t leave the plurality of Texans who are Democrats, independents and other free thinking peoples at the mercy of the Texas nationlists.

            Texas must be liberated.

            We can, and we will, finish the Civil War.

          • Allan Williams

            Naw…we can just institute the “Dallas Airlift”.

          • BarryR

            I believe the airlift will go to Austin, not Dallas. San Antonio can secede and join Mexico.

          • BoredMe

            Let ’em go, but make it clear that they will not be joining NAFTA or NATO.

          • Kevin Rusch

            We already have 1 failed state on our southern border – another wouldn’t be much of a problem.

        • Alki

          And there will be much rejoycing

          (Sorry Texas folks)

        • SufferinSuccotash, Normalized

          When??

        • drzaius

          Only if they take the rest of the confederacy with them.

        • abctefg

          We have quite a few wonderful posters on her from Texas… so, bye bye?

          • MC Planck

            Nah… we’ll have a big swap. All the racists can move out of Northern California to make room for the people smart enough to leave the New Confederacy.

          • DKDC

            Well, some, I assume, are good people.

      • elvis2086

        According to Trump, the lower the pound goes the more people will come to his golf resort, Thornbury.

    • abctefg

      Not so fast.
      France, Germany, and to a lesser extent, Spain and Italy, will hold the fort.

      • DKDC

        Maybe so, but any country where there is a sizable part of the electorate that is disgruntled over the economy and jobs will be even more ripe for this sort of nationalistic reactionary politics. There are plenty more opportunistic Trump-like politicians out there.

        • abctefg

          >There are plenty more opportunistic Trump-like politicians out there.

          Oh, no doubt. Marine Le Pen from France was on that news like white on rice.

          • David Golden

            Yes, she was. As was Jobbik in Hungary and other right wing nationalist groups. This could get quite scary.

      • Cedric

        I actually believe that the European Union will move to fortify itself too. I see them moving further towards real political unification. I see them eventually asserting themselves more aggressively internationally and militarily. A Britain less United States of Europe is more a probability today after this Brexit.

      • David L. Allison

        France is on fire. Greece is starving. Spain is pissed and Italy is trapped in a neoliberal economic nightmare. The fort of austerity and neoliberalism is collapsing slowly but surely. The working poor and middle class have been screwed by the oligarchs and their one percent for forty years and since the 80’s have been kicked to the curb.
        The crime is that the oligarchs and the corporatists & bankers have been able to scoop up all of the wealth and blame the losses of the public on ‘the others’. It is time to light the torches and raise the sickles to take down the oligarchs.

    • David Rutawitz

      we might see the end of the UK in our lifetime

  • BillBuckley

    But can anybody tell me the last time a prevailing culture of anti-intellectualism has led to anything other than bigotry?

    Hence the Trump phenomenon.

    • Badger state realist

      It started with Reagan and took a full generation to come to fruition.

      • Reagan’s Ghost

        Screw Reagan, screw Trump, and screw the willfully ignorant populace that is letting this happen. The Dark Ages are nigh.

    • timpundit

      Yeah that screamed out to me , too.

    • IndependentLiberal

      I believe that statement was meant to apply directly to Trump.

    • embo66

      And it’s why Brexit should give us some serious pause.
      http://theweek.com/articles/632118/why-brexit-should-scare-antitrump-americans

      • mhandrh

        Interesting — and scary!

    • elvis2086

      The worst thing that can happen in a democracy – as well as in an individual’s life – is to become cynical about the future and lose hope. Hillary Clinton

  • growe

    Beautiful summary for a tragic mistake.

    • BillBuckley

      Wilful ignorance more like.

    • jpic

      Our investments are gonna take a hit today. And then when they come back later in the year, we get to pay capital gains on mutual funds that have made us nothing and we haven’t used that money. Nice how Wall St. fucks the little guys like me. Hopefully TIAA might have the solution to the cap. gains issue. I sure hope so.

      • dcbrewer

        You can sell your mutual funds today (or tomorrow) and book a loss and then immediately buy some other mutual funds that have had historically correlated returns to the original funds. This way, when the rebound eventually happens, you have some losses to offset the gains. Sites like betterment.com will do this for you automatically.

        • jpic

          Hey, thanks. We have been stagnant the last 3 years but have had 74K of cap gains. Now true there was some offsetting loss but hey, if you don’t make money, and haven’t touched it, you shouldn’t have to pay cap gains. It is paying tax twice here.

  • Alki

    I wonder how long until Scotland leaves now? They were not fans of this.

    • BillBuckley

      Within a year.

      Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain (62%). This just gives them one more reason to be disgusted by the English (those outside of London anyway).

      • Whatevah

        Yup. They’re already signaling that there will be a vote on this.

    • ThatBadOpinionPerson

      What a Camermoron. Scotland will try to leave the UK, and there’s some indication Ireland will try to reunify.

      • evave2

        This is the end of the actual f-ing United Kingdom. In a way, it is hilarious.

        A bunch of people voted to return to ‘the good old days.’ But they don’t know ‘how’ to return to the good old days. NOW they are going to ask the experts who were overwhelmingly against this to ‘fix’ the situation so that they don’t get hurt.

        I just read over at TPM that the US will have to rewrite their financial treaties with the British. But they are our friends so it won’t be a big deal.

        But the Germans especially and the French are not going to be in a charitable mood and all their financial treaties are thrown out the window. You wanted Fortress Europe, England, you are going to get Fortress Europe.

        It really just looks to me like the Germans finally won WW2, they will financially overwhelmingly completely control the economy of Europe.

        • LKM

          I’m hoping France and Germany will take a deep breath and not be too harsh. Destroying relations completely is not in their economic best interests either.

        • tomwest

          The good old pre-EU days of capital controls, rampant inflation, and chronic unemployment? I’ll pass thanks.

  • wymurph

    If this leads to a recession in the states, then we may be catastrophically screwed politically.

    • Badger state realist

      Economically, it’s gonna suck. Politically, the Dems starting saying “this will be us if you vote Republican” starting today, when the markets crash.

      • Rhysem

        If anything, this should drive U.S. Bond rates down, which is never a bad thing. Well unless your Janet Yellen and have to manage interest rates 🙂

      • Whatevah

        I think money may come here as a safe haven. Not today, but we might start seeing that next week.

        • ThatBadOpinionPerson

          Me too, there’s simply no where else it can really go.

          • Whatevah

            Yup.

        • embo66

          That, and in “safe havens” like gold.

          • Whatevah

            Agreed.

          • ThatBadOpinionPerson

            Yeah, maybe for Glen Beck watchers… that money will end up in the pocket of scammers…

          • Calbengoshi

            Biggest gainer on the NYSE so far this morning is Newmont Mining, which is the largest gold miner in the world.

          • LKM

            When I started hearing Trump talk about returning to the gold standard a few weeks ago I felt a little queasy. I can believe that people don’t fully understand how international banking works, and I echo their frustrations with some of its excesses, but that doesn’t mean you revert to ancient practices. I don’t really understand how cancer treatments work and I can see that they have negative side effects, but if I’m diagnosed I’m not going to ask for blood letting and leeches!

      • embo66

        So far, US markets are reacting only mildly. Dow down less than 60 points, NASDAQ down less than 45.

        • zappa24

          The Dow is now down more than 500 points.

          • embo66

            Yeah, I spoke too soon! It’s now down about 400.

            I expect high volatility for at least the next few days. Probably longer, esp. if other nations immediately start agitating to hold their own referendums, etc.

  • dylan111

    And my 401k was doing so nicely lately. Thanks a lot, xenophobic Brits. (Well, at least the assassin of Jo Cox must be happy sitting in his jail cell.)

    • Hagar32Grady

      Just convert your stock funds to Trump real estate funds…. Your returns will be … very, very large 😉

    • LKM

      UK is a big market but not so dominant that the world economy can’t recover. I’m more worried about the US economy if Trump is elected.

      For those of you who say it can’t happen, we have a shining example of what 4 months of lies can do.

  • wymurph

    In a month, I wonder what surveys will show in the way of buyer’s remorse.

    • Rhysem

      Depends on how fast the EU retaliates.

      • LKM

        I don’t know that harsh retaliation would help anyone, but I’m sure there are some people who are pretty mad at the UK right now (with good reason.)

        It’s kinda like being the spouse that was cheated on during divorce proceedings. You want to rip their hair out but realize it will only hurt the kids so you take a deep breath and decide to be the adult about it.

        • Rhysem

          France and Germany do not have a long history of “taking a deep breath” they tend to lash-out and hard. See Treaty of Versailles.

    • 31dot

      I saw a tweet from someone who said they voted Leave but didn’t think it would win

      • Cedric

        That person is an idiot.

        • evave2

          I remember when the Michigan polls said HRC was going to win by 20+ points that I read person after person saying “I’ll vote Bernie in the primary and HRC in the general because she is going to win.”

          You’re right, this ‘sending a message’ is crap-ola.

      • LKM

        Ah the protest vote. Always such a good idea isn’t it? What could possibly go wrong?

    • CSStrowbridge

      I’ve been talking with a couple pro-Brexit voters on YouTube and they are convinced the collapse of the Pound, the FTSE, etc. is just temporary. When they don’t bounce back, they might change their minds.

      • embo66

        But it’s not just about their currency and stock portfolios. The Leave campaign put out a lot of distorted / exaggerated information; for instance, that the UK was going to save millions by not needing to “feed the EU beast” — money that would then go into National Health, etc.

        Their rude awakening will be when pretty much none of that turns out to be true — neither the amount of money OR where it will now be directed. And when the little guy — as this prescient FT writer says — merely starts getting screwed more directly by their own “distant and unreachable elite.”

    • LarryBurt

      If they conform to typical human reaction, they will double down on their decision, and blame any worsening situation on something else, such as waiting too long, or joining in the first place.

      • MC Planck

        Yup.

      • evave2

        The other problem for the Leave crowd is that all the financial experts who would have to manage the economy after the vote are going to be the ones who said it can’t be done.

        I don’t think anybody knows ‘how’ to do this.

        What happens when the Scots and the Northern Irish vote to leave the UK? I heard Wales was against this two. So there will be no UK.

        Criminee.

        • zappa24

          Wales voted for leaving.

          • evave2

            Thank you. I saw that Scotland and Northern Ireland were heavily against leaving. So the person who expressed that was wrong. Thanks you.

            BUT voting for leaving the EU is not the same as voting to remain IN the UK if the financial ramifications are as bad as the financial sector fears.

            But I do admit I extrapolated from Scotland/N Ireland to Wales.

            But Ireland itself is still in so we will see how the economies differentiate now.

  • alrudder

    Before explaining Brexit to your Trump supporting friends, wait until just after the stock market opens and say: “go look at CNBC and check your 401K this morning.”
    That will focus them. Then explain.

    • SufferinSuccotash, Normalized

      It’ll be Obama’s fault.

      • Whatevah

        I just said the same thing on Facebook!

      • CaptainCommonsense
        • Mark_in_VA

          So great that he’s using it as a criticism of Obama for occurring, while simultaneously lauding that it occurred.

          Some might conclude he just doesn’t care about the appearance of consistency. I don’t agree. I think he’s too stupid to even recognize it. His mouth runs 10Xs faster than his really, really good brain.

          • CaptainCommonsense

            He’s a double douchebag because not only did he not know what Brexit was until something like last week, he’s saying now that he “called it”.

            Gimme a break…

      • ThatBadOpinionPerson

        Thanks Obama.

    • DKDC

      Don’t think I have any Trump supporting friends. Least none willing to admit it.

    • APV

      At least it is not 201K like it was in 2008 when Republicans drove the economy into the ditch.

    • abctefg

      lol / not

    • embo66

      Not hardly. IF they even have a 401K, they’ll just be defiant about it — and hate on Wall Street (not that I blame them there).

      Besides, for Trumpets, this is all about keeping brown people out. So they’ll look at Brexit as a success — and an example to emulate.

  • growe

    Wrong!

    • abctefg

      Lol.
      Say goodnight, Liz.

    • TexasLou

      That perfectly describes the Brexit results…

      Low info, nativist voters long for a return to the past, even when that past wasn’t as rosy as their memories would have them believe.

      There’s a good reason why “the grass is always greener” remains such a relevant and true… It not only works in side-by-side comparisons, but also in era-to-era ones.

      This is why the left has an infinitely harder time selling its policies than does the right.

  • abctefg

    Fuckin’ hell. Brilliant comment from this FT reader.

  • Trajan8

    Lose excess pounds overnight with this one simple trick the EU doesn’t want you to know about.

    (stole it from a friend’s FB post)

    • CaptainCommonsense

      HAH!

    • LKM

      Brilliant.

  • NorthboroughDan

    If I were voting, I would have voted against Brexit. Having said this, I will submit that the EU is a conceptual train wreck. EU seems to think sovereignty is a shades of grey thing, which won’t work long term. We mostly figured that out 156 years ago.

    • ThatBadOpinionPerson

      Yes, as a economic union many states gave up monetary policy … but the UK didn’t…
      Cameroon is an idiot with his stupid push for austerity and providing ways for voters to lash out against his dumb policies.

  • Matt Drabek

    It means a trip to see my sister in London is suddenly less expensive.

  • Wynstone

    I heard this morning that retired British expats, many of which are in Spain will probably lose their access to healthcare. Shocking.

  • littlejohn

    What impact did Murdoch and Sky News have on Brexit?

  • gmccpa

    This vote means that the older folks voted against the best interest of the younger ones. Based on a unrealistic nostalgic desire to return to a time….that never actually existed. Based on fears of globalization and its consequence. Of course, all the votes in the world wont stop globalization. And the younger generation of Brits will be left on the outside looking in.

    Sam Wang posted a snapshot of a yougov poll showing a huge disparity in voting….based on age.

    http://election.princeton.edu/

    • Matt Drabek

      I’d be interested in seeing the turnout data, especially whether young people turned out in smaller numbers. Young people in the UK were voting for the lesser of two evils – a shitty, neoliberal EU or a xenophobic, disastrous nationalism. I’d take the former, but it’s not a good choice.

    • ThatBadOpinionPerson

      It’s not unlike the sentiment here among certain demographic groups…and we didn’t even have the stupid, short-sighted, wrongly theorized austerity programs… although sadly the Republicans want them.

  • RobSolf

    I just hope that Texas pays close attention to the aftermath. A couple years from now, when Britain STILL has to adhere to the EU’s regulations to trade, without any of the support they’ve forgotten they’d recieved, it will be a terrific example of what secession would bring.

  • bbkingfish

    Those stupid voters.

    • Zornorph

      How dare they!

  • Whatevah

    This event has pushed me over.

    It’s time for Bernie to endorse and concede.

    It’s time to come together. Up until today, I had been fine with Bernie conceding at the convention. Even thought it would produce a groundswell of good feeling and unity at the right moment.

    Not anymore.

    Extremism is alive and well, and making really, really bad decisions. Let’s come together, and defeat Trump. The sooner the better.

  • LarryBurt

    Brexit, of course, happened by supporters feeding the same hype that Trump feeds here, but Trump is not alone in feeding it. On CBS this morning, Bernie was asked how Clinton could get his endorsement and his supporters vote. He itemized his usual list of things she would need to support, while disclaiming that they were demands and acknowledging nothing of how she has been supportive of moves in that direction all along. Just once, a reporter needs to follow that up by saying, “look, Hillary or Trump will be elected in November. Are you supporting voting for Trump, or staying home if Hillary does not convince your supporters that she has fallen in line on these parameters?”

    • Whatevah

      Agreed, No more messing around. We have to defeat this guy. The progressive wing of the Democratic party is re-energized. Good. Get off of it, there’s important work to be done.

  • Adam Brown

    Let us hope it doesn’t happen here….. This is the same sentiment behind Trump.
    Forget the experts and facts, instead a backwards belief that isolationism and closed borders will somehow be good, when it surely leads to economic downfall.
    Practically every real expert knows this….. Most elected Republicans know this (notice how few Republicans have warmly embraced Trump’s trade proposals… the GOP has always been the free trade party).
    God forbid we repeat this mistake here…… With such fear of globalization, instead isolating ourselves, and end up cutting off our nose to spite our face.

    • Cedric

      I am praying we don’t make that mistake but I am not confident we won’t. Even with all the mess Trump has created for himself…he still can win this election. Let’s not kid ourselves on that.

  • KarlfromEngland

    Right now I don’t know whether I should be distraught, or furious. This will certainly lead to Scotland having a second referendum, which will almost certainly lead to them leaving Britain.

    • Zolaman

      Wow the United Kingdom breaking up. Now that is historic.

  • Zolaman

    Well it seems nativism has struck the Brits. Only time will tell if it was a mistake. If they lose trade and their economy shrinks than mistake it will be. If the union continues to struggle with nation members bailing one out after another than will look smart. It does appear my 401k may be in for a beating today.

  • Zog Hackendorft

    Evil capitalist here, Barclays Bank (BCS) is down 26%.

    A tad overkill methinks so looks like I’m a buyer.

    Oh, and fuck Drumpf!

    • ThatBadOpinionPerson

      wow. that’ nuts… given nothing has really changed yet. Lots of money will be made today from the panic.

      Sadly average people will likely lose out in many ways.

  • Whatevah

    Well, it’s a start. Bernie is saying he will vote for Hillary in November.

    http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/sanders-i-will-vote-for-hillary-in-november-711971395552

  • Chammy

    It is truly all Obama’s fault.

  • TexasLou

    Not to crap on GB’s misfortunes, but isn’t Brexit YES a boost for Clinton’s POTUS campaign?

    Even the pro-Brexit forces believe that the benefits won’t be realized until the somewhat distant future, while going through enormous pain and suffering in the short term.

    Clinton is on record being staunchly against Brexit. Trump, in his patented narcissistic fashion, stated today “I predicted Brexit correctly and it will be a great thing.”

    We only have 5 months until the POTUS election, so I’m surmising that the environment in GB will be doom and gloom.

    So it would seem to me that Clinton has been handed a fantastic tool/weapon/issue with which to clobber Trump.

    Thoughts?

    • Chammy

      Actually the first time Trump was asked about Brexit, he didn’t even know what the person was talking about

    • Zolaman

      If she makes the larger argument of we can go backwards into nativism or continue to one of the world leaders. I say go forward with Hillary and not back with Trump.

    • elvis2086

      All the talking heads seem to think this benefits Trump. Fear of immigration, hatred and bigotry rule according to them.

    • LarryBurt

      We can only hope, there are enough thinking people left to make the connection.

    • wymurph

      Have to disagree. In November, most voters still won’t be able to name all three branches of the federal government and still won’t know what Brexit was. If this hurts the economy in the states, it hurts Clinton.

      • LarryBurt

        Wow. I really really wish I could disagree with you. I just can’t find any way to do it.

      • LKM

        Most citizens. I think actual voters are nominally better informed about the branches of government. But I agree that any souring of the US economy will be Obama’s fault and ergo Clinton’s. We can only hope that they blame Congress instead.

        • BarryR

          Not the voters who decide elections. People who can vote for either Clinton or Trump are spectacularly ignorant – or schizophrenic.

  • Chammy

    So basically this is about immigration. It is amazing to see how the vote went down and the areas

    • evave2

      Not really: it is about the outsourcing of the ‘old’ industrial North’s jobs to eastern Europe.

      That is what is familiar.

      • Chammy

        Actually from what I read and I admit I am not very informed, but it was driven by immigration

  • NorthboroughDan

    So, a lot of old Brits pine for the olden days, when England owned other countries and peoples (including Ireland and Scotland), and chafe at being an equal partner in something larger (rather than its owner) and recoil at being fellow citizens to people that are different (rather than their owner).

    • EconProf

      Not if you mean wealthy, conservative, highly-educated, elitist, or establishment Brits in London. Both the major parties were all in to remain. It was the working class, the unemployed, and rural, and others left out of the benefits of globalization who expressed their anger, anxieties, and frustration in the only way an economy bound by high inequality (the only developed nation as bad as in the U.S.). Their parliamentary system doesn’t allow them to choose their leaders, only their party, so exit from the EU was their only way to voice their fears. All over the EU, right-wing parties are trying to tap into these emotions by scapegoating immigrants and Jews, just like in the good old day. Sadly, EU arrogance and bureaucracy seems to only know punishment strategies against any state that complains.

  • elvis2086

    The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all. – John F. Kennedy

    It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. – Winston Churchill

  • nowaRINO

    And the working classes who have been lamenting the cuts to social services will see the cuts to the level of a Thacherite’s fantasy… out of necessity.

  • David Rutawitz

    it means the Europeon politicians still make awful decisions

  • frankelee

    The idea that Britons will no longer be able to travel or work in Europe is a claim along the lines of saying gun ownership will be revoked if Barack Obama receives a second term in office. Honestly, if one side is anti-intellectual, the other side is intellectual-devoid. It’s no wonder the liberal Remain side lost the vote and is losing the country, they have become factless. How many people are crowing about the Pound falling, as if it weren’t based on total speculative trading: these are the same people who know what’s going to happen to the economy? Add to that the vast majority only conceive of the issue as about brown people and of course, fall against the side of white oppression. They’re staggeringly unintelligent.

    • zappa24

      What you said is a bunch of crap. The fact is that if the UK follows through with leaving the EU, the UK’s citizens would lose the right of free movement to most other EU countries based on being a citizen of an EU member country.

      http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=457&langId=en

      • MarcTGFG

        Exactly! What you say is a fact, what frankelee says is wishful thinking. A possibility? Yes. Certain? In no way!