“Brexit”, the media created cutesy lingo for the British referendum on whether to stay with or leave the European Union. I’ve heard it discussed backwards and forwards and sideways throughout the days, weeks, and months leading up to the vote that just took place.
Despite all the fear mongering and artificially induced drama by the media, I never actually considered the possibility of Britain actually leaving the EU. It seemed so absurd that there would be enough people that would want to turn the clock back with actions that will surely spawn negative unintended consequences.
Well, I was proven wrong tonight as polling states that the vote for Britain to leave is expected to be the winning consensus.
I’m not the only one caught by surprise, as the futures markets are roiling with a nice big fat after hours crash that will translate into crashed markets on the open Friday. The value of the Pound has plummeted. The majority of businesses were counting on a “stay” vote winning, and this just adds a boatload of uncertainty for both Britain and the EU going forward.
I truly believed Britons had more common sense than this. Color me wrong.
There will be lots of analysis on how this wound up happening, but it’s likely due to the same old things that breed surprise outcomes:
- Voter apathy – which favors those who have more motivation, typically the conservative vote. People love to complain about government and politics and then find other things to do when it comes down to taking the time to cast a vote.
- Low information votes- people voting on something without doing their due diligence to figure out the true pros/cons of their choices. What are the odds that the majority of people who voted YES on leaving did so out of xenophobia and border control without thinking through the economic consequences of their actions.
- Media stupidity of focusing mostly on ratings rather than trying to educate people on the actual facts rather than false arguments and hyperbole.
The irony is the first unintended consequence of this action besides crashing global markets will likely be layoffs as British companies retrench over fears that current trade agreements are now in flux.