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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