Yesterday, the United Kingdom voted in a referendum on whether to remain in the European Union or leave it. While close, the Leave side won by about 3.8%. There are a number of driving factors for this result, and a number of implications from this result.
The strongest proponents for the Remain movement were mostly younger voters and those that reside in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and London. The strongest proponents of the Leave movement were low-income working class individuals in England outside of London. Why? Most research shows that, in the short term, a 1% increase in migrants only contributes to 0.3% reduction in wages on average, but for the bottom 5% that number rises to 0.6% (Source: The Guardian). This along with the erroneous notion that immigrants claim more in welfare than native citizens (and general xenophobia) have dragged Britons into the Leave side. The far-right political party UKIP is “chuffed to bits” knowing that it has increased its exposure through a win for the Leave side. Well, “chuffed to bits” sounds a tad innocuous for a party that is just as unwelcoming toward immigrants as Donald Trump is. This party might as well be the one that establishes a fascist police state in V for Vendetta.
Anyway, the United Kingdom is going to face a lot of problems because of this. First, the UK will have to spend at least two years negotiating the terms to a departure from the European Union. This is going to be a time-consuming nightmare. Second, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU and now have more reason to have independence referenda from the UK. Third, the UK would lose access to EU-negotiated markets and hurt its own economy. Within 24 hours, the British pound dropped so much in value that France surpassed the UK as the fifth largest economy in the world. Inflation would rise, and many economists project the UK would face an even greater recession than the 2008-2009 recession. The worst part of all is that the UK would not get any of the money back from the EU that it lost in the first place.
TL;DR The UK really shot itself in the foot by voting Leave, but if their motivations were racist and xenophobic, maybe they deserve it.