Brexit 101: The UK’s Stunning Vote Explained in 4 Minutes

The Brex­it votes have been count­ed. The Brits have decid­ed to leave the Euro­pean Union. And the finan­cial mar­kets are tak­ing it hard. Right now, futures on the Lon­don stock exchange are down 8%. The pound is down 9.8 per­cent, more than dou­ble its pre­vi­ous record decline of 4.1 per­cent. We’re liv­ing in inter­est­ing times.

No doubt, some of you are sud­den­ly won­der­ing, what exact­ly is Brex­it? And what’s at stake? Up top, you can watch a four-minute primer cre­at­ed by The Wall Street Jour­nal. Bloomberg has its own two-minute ver­sion here (or view below). The Toron­to Star breaks down Brex­it in 13 points. And The Guardian went so far as to cre­ate a guide just for Amer­i­cans. (For any­one who wants to dis­sect the pro­pa­gan­da for leav­ing Brex­it, you can watch the fea­ture-length doc­u­men­tary film, Brex­it: The Moviereleased last month.) Please feel free to add oth­er primers in the com­ments below.

For Amer­i­cans read­ing this, I’d point out that Brex­it and Trump share some impor­tant things in com­mon: they’re both about putting up walls, plac­ing blame on immi­grants and minori­ties; exploit­ing the resent­ments of the eco­nom­i­cal­ly dis­ad­van­taged; dis­miss­ing experts and estab­lish­ment fig­ures; and risk­ing upend­ing a frag­ile world order. How Eng­land looks on June 24th is per­haps a small pre­view of how Amer­i­ca might look on Novem­ber 9th. Only there will be tril­lions more at stake.

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Comments (12)
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  • Michael Hofer says:

    Inter­est­ing. Remain “facts and primers” while Brex­it is “pro­pa­gan­da”.

    Watch out, your own bias is show­ing.

  • Kieran says:

    Can you change Eng­land to UK in last sen­tence? UK != Eng­land.

  • Leo says:

    So is yours.

  • Robbie says:

    You can’t equate the UK’s posi­tion with the US’s, or the opin­ions of Brex­i­teers with Trump sup­port­ers. They’re two entire­ly dif­fer­ent sets of cir­cum­stances.

  • Petteri says:

    What’s the map in the lat­ter clip about..? Not EU at least, since Nor­way and Switzer­land are on it, but Fin­land isn’t.

  • Jim Sear says:

    I was online chat­ting with a friend of mine in Aus­tria last night and was asked if I was in or out.
    This is what I answered.

    In the 70’s I vot­ed for a com­mon mar­ket. A free trade agree­ment. I did not want nor did I vote for a polit­i­cal union.

    To use an anal­o­gy
    What I want is good neigh­bours liv­ing in a close com­mu­ni­ty.
    I DON’T want my neigh­bours rul­ing my house telling me what I can and can­not do or who I can or can­not trade with.

    I want to be able to say who does or does­n’t live in my house.

    My house, my rules.

    I would like to live, love, fight, and if nec­es­sary die along­side my neigh­bours. I want to cel­e­brate with them all of life’s vic­to­ries and offer uncon­di­tion­al help in times of defeat. I would hope they would do the same for me.

    I want good neigh­bours
    not a bad mar­riage made by anony­mous unac­count­able unelect­ed euro­crats.

    Now if that means I have to live in a tent in order to live my life then bring it on.

    I sim­ply want to live in my house, not in a com­mune run by an unseen and unac­count­able offi­cial­dom.

  • Frank says:

    Thought the exact same thing. Word choice, espe­cial­ly in this day and age, should be care­ful con­sid­ered for objec­tive jour­nal­ism. Now if this is to be an edi­to­r­i­al, well then have on, but it does­n’t seemed to be labelled as such. This goes for what­ev­er ‘side’ your on, if you’re report­ing sub­jec­tive­ly then by all means let us know and you can be as biased as you want, but if you want it to be objec­tive and thor­ough, then BOTH are pro­pa­gan­da or BOTH are facts and primers.

  • Giles says:

    My con­grat­u­la­tions to our UK neigh­bors — hope­ful­ly France will be the next coun­try out of the EU!

  • Dave Stein says:

    What a com­plete­ly liberal/left biased take on Brex­it. Your words are full of left lean­ing half truths. I read two para­graphs of this piece of junk arti­cle on Brex­it from you. What a com­plete waste of time. Basi­cal­ly worth­less crap

  • dave says:

    Anar­chy in the UK!!!!

  • Slartibartfarst says:

    I only now (2016–06-28)stumbled upon this inter­est­ing — if not some­what amaz­ing — post.
    Being a Kiwi, I watched the Brex­it phe­nom­e­non from afar and with a detached per­spec­tive.
    Well, the UK peo­ple have now con­clu­sive­ly vot­ed in the ref­er­en­dum for the UK to EXIT the EU.
    I know it’s an over­worked phrase, but “We the Peo­ple” is sig­nif­i­cant here, see­ing as it is the open­ing phrase of the Pre­am­ble to the Unit­ed States Con­sti­tu­tion and the Pre­am­ble to the Con­sti­tu­tion of India.

    His­to­ry shows that the Eng­lish man­aged to extract them­selves from serf­dom and surge ahead as a rel­a­tive­ly free and increas­ing­ly demo­c­ra­t­ic soci­ety (Magna Car­ta and all that) long before the rest of Europe. It looks as though they just might have repeat­ed the trick, and, sim­i­lar­ly, one can prob­a­bly expect Euro­pean nations to belat­ed­ly catch on to the idea.

  • James Walker says:

    I read and enjoy open cul­ture often, this arti­cle brings it into dis­re­pute, it is total­ly wrong, biased and inap­pro­pri­ate on this site. A total waste of broad­band who let this mis­in­formed rub­bish be pub­lished.

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