Britain’s Love-Hate Relationship With Europe Ends In Divorce

Britain is leaving the European Union – the first major economy to vote to withdraw from the trade and economic bloc.

After 43 years of a love-hate relationship, British voters said no to closer ties with the EU, no to accepting more migrants and no to accepting laws made in Brussels.

Voting 52% to 48% to leave, the referendum has also exposed divides within the country.

Although the majority voted to leave in England and Wales, the picture was reversed in Scotland, where the leave campaign failed to register a victory.

The result has led to a major stock market collapse in London, where the FTSE100 has seen up to 500 points lost, wiping more than £120 billion off the value of Britain’s biggest companies.

Chaos on financial markets

The Pound has also dropped through the floor hitting a low last seen in 1985 against the US dollar and a 6% fall against the euro.

More dramatic losses are expected to follow in the coming days as investors and traders digest how leaving the EU will affect the economy.

No one really knows what will happen, so the markets will rise and fall in knee-jerk reactions to news until the country’s economic and political future are clearer.

The only likely immediate economic implications will be a rise in inflation in the UK as the falling pounds makes imports cheaper and exports more expensive to trading partners.

The Bank of England has a £250 billion emergency fund to spend on settling the economy, according to governor Mark Carney.

Changing political landscape

The political landscape is also changing. Prime Minister David Cameron has already announced his departure by October and other leading remain campaigners are likely to fall on their swords as well.

As yet, no one in the leave camp has revealed their intentions to run for Tory leadership.

Backbenchers have tabled a no confidence vote against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who led a lacklustre remain campaign for the party.

Many commentators suggest his inability to rally Labour supporters to vote remain contributed to the Brexit victory.

The next step is for Britain to find a new prime minister who will talk with other EU leaders about activating the formal leave procedure which is likely to take at least two years to work out.