By: Harry C. Blaney III

Reporting from London



By: Harry C. Blaney III

The UK vote to leave the European Union by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent to stay has already created great costs to the UK and much of the rest of the world on every level – economic, political and security. The impact has already been sizable and more effects will undoubtedly continue to come as nations and people evaluate the real implications of this historic, massive, unnecessary, and tragic act.

The truth is that Britain is a badly split nation and the margin of winning was indeed small, despite the Leave campaign claiming it was large. There are inherent dangers to taking such a dramatic move that did not garner the support of the vast majority of people. There is speculation that many people, including those that did not vote, did not want to leave. A petition for a re-vote already has over 3.6 million signatures. We may see still a major fight yet over the future of Britain in Europe and the world, as well as the future of the UK itself. Leaders in both Scotland and Northern Ireland have implied that referenda on their future as part of the UK could be coming soon. These problems will be complicated by the leadership struggles that currently plague both the Conservative (Tory) Party and the Labour Party.

One of the major lessons for the vote was that, at its heart, it was a protest and demonstrated a sense of disaffection by working class and some older citizens who feel that their well-being has been neglected, and by those who believed the intolerant cries of far right leaders like the UK Independence Party and MP Boris Johnson, the likely Tory candidate for the new Prime Minister.

It is estimated that 62 percent of Labour voters voted to Remain while a third of Labour voters chose Leave, largely because of immigration fears, unhappiness about their declining living standards, and anger at the EU hyped by the partisan media and the Leave Campaign. Voters also understandably blame the UK political establishment for their situation, especially on jobs, education, the decline on health care, and immigration. The Labour Party has already faced a leadership challenge with MPs calling for a confidence motion against Jeremy Corbyn, who said that he was going nowhere at a press conference in London. Corbyn also noted that there is a need for a new look at international relations.

The aim of the Leave campaign was to direct anger against the EU, not against the Tories. However, the EU is not to blame at all for the plight of their voters.  Another issue Leavers hit at was a “loss of control” and “sovereignty” at the hands of Europe.  Interestingly, Leave voters were largely right-wing Euro-skeptic Conservatives and far-right party supporters, although some of the faces of the campaign were the well-educated and wealthy like Boris Johnson and the conservative media.

Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London, made the case for keeping close ties to Europe and wanting to find a path forward that does not disadvantage London as Britain’s London-based financial sector. He campaigned in London for staying.

Many Remain voters are very upset over the results, not just those in London, but also voters in Scotland and young voters. The many negative impacts already being felt. The question here in London is what can be done to reverse this decision, as seen by the petition for a re-vote. Few think this is possible, but many want a reversal. I think this tug of war will not go away anytime soon.

Outside Britain, Europeans are very unhappy and troubled over the results. The EU is torn between wanting to protect the UK’s trade position but also does not want other nations that have Euro-skeptic and anti-immigrant movements to take the British example and leave. Marine Le Pen in France has already also for an “out” referendum.  The EU Commission leaders do not want the negotiations to be left in “limbo.” It seems that most of the EU nations wants to start negotiations “immediately.”

While much of Europe wants to move toward negotiations as soon as possible, German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants time to think, consider, and not “be nasty” in the negotiating the implications of Britain’s exit and finding the best path forward. Already EU nations are thinking of how to take economic advantage of the situation for their narrow interests. Some of the European leaders want a quick resolution, as they said it would be in the interest of both sides. Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will stay on until October, when the Tory party will meet to choose a new leader who will lead the nation in negotiations out of the EU over the two years, as stipulated by the EU Treaty Clause 50. So things might get nasty between Britain and Europe and no one will be a winner.

As a dear friend in London wrote to me in summary: “Europe takes this very seriously.  France and Germany, in particular, are aware that the EU is much more than an economic union.  It was designed also to prevent the kind of differences which lead to two disastrous World Wars in the 20th c.  Already, on the morning after the vote, the right wing Dutch party is calling for a referendum there, as is Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far right Front National party in France.  If this move takes down all of Europe, there will be Hell to pay. “

On the strategic side, Vladimir Putin has stated his delight over the British exit and sees it as perhaps his major victory in his path to divide and fundamentally weaken West Europe and the EU, and for that matter undermine NATO.

Global markets have already suffered major damage and predictions show that Britain and other EU nations will see less economic growth than they would otherwise enjoy. Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s downgraded Britain’s credit rating from AAA to AA. The London Stock Exchange dropped an additional 2.55 percent on Monday, doubling down on Friday’s downward spiral.


Already there are predictions of major shock waves around the world and a reassessment of British relations toward Britain and the EU. Not least is the American reaction, led by President Obama that although the decision would not change the “special relationship,” Britain would still be in the back of the queue in trade negotiations. Secretary of State John Kerry is currently in London to reassure Britain that relations will continue to be strong between the US and UK, saying “We will continue, the United States, to have a very close and special relationship with Great Britain. We value that relationship. That does not change because of this vote” in Italy on Sunday.  

Frankly, I think there will undoubtedly be major changes in the priority of American focus with a weakened Britain, out of Europe, with Scotland looking for its independence and a restive North Ireland. In Europe, the UK will be considered a lesser part of the core European decision-making system. The Leave campaign saying it would not is just disingenuous.

Finally, the impact has already been a major disaster for Britain. Global stock markets have crashed, as over two trillion dollars have already been lost. The Scottish Prime Minister is already motioning for an independence referendum and is moving to negotiate directly with the EU for a possible special status within the EU.

The nation is divided and at war with itself; financial firms in London are likely to be either greatly diminished and may even move abroad; Britain will have lower influence with the U.S.; and the UK may possibly dissolve. Not a bad day of work for “Little England” Euro-skeptics and the super-nationalists and racist groups that supported this madness.  For the rest of the world, it is an unmitigated disaster in a world that already has high risks.

More on the implications in post over the next week from London.

We welcome your comments, see the box below to have a chance for your say!

Go to our Brexit page for a full page of key sources, facts and developments in this historic act.



  1. Harry C. Blaney III July 12, 2016 / 9:43 PM

    I can’t be as optimistic as Bob Lamoree’s perspective. The simple fact is that Britain has already suffered serious consequences not least the brake with full membership in the EU and also having much less influence ion developments in its own back yard with a group more than twice its size and with 40% 0f its trade.

    The disengagement over time will make it less influential both in economic and political and strategic terms.

    Globally it has already taken 2 trillion dollars off the stock price around the world. All this in a time of regional and global crisis when unity of the West is most required and high ricks abound at many levels economic and not least in security terms. Close cooperation is required and while some will go on others will dry up in time. This disengagement is not good for America and our other allies.

  2. Bob Lamoree June 29, 2016 / 3:55 PM

    My personal theory of things: Change is the only constant, all politicians lie, and words have meanings. In Brexit I suspect all apply. But, the underlying bitch seems to be a too centrist EU, that has angered many. Couple that with stagnant economies and voile!

    As for global reverberations . . . the country most likely to suffer is the UK. Globally, there may be shock waves, but they’ll smooth out. Feelings will be ruffled, but they too will subside.

    This is one time when the UK isn’t mad Germany, or whoever. The culprit is the EU, the organization whose purpose is to unite, but they seem to have misplace their mission.

    Bob Lamoree

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