This term stands for “British Exit” from the European Union (EU). This has happened once before; Britain joined the EU in 1973, and promptly held a referendum on leaving it in 1975. They decided to stay... 40 years ago! However, today's results have drawn a very different outcome: UK citizens want to leave the EU and stand on its own for good.
The independence process is taking two years, but there are too many existing doubts and complex issues yet to be sorted out. Leaving is not that easy.
Is leaving the EU a good idea?
No. At least not if you care about things like the economy or “avoiding an unnecessary immigration crisis of epic proportions”. Economists are virtually united in their assessment that Brexit would cut into Britain’s trading activity and do measurable damage to the economy and growth, at least in the short to medium term. It would force Britain to renegotiate all of its trade deals with the rest of Europe, so it’s hard to predict its exact long term impact. Most believe that, eventually, Britain’s economy could sink.
The economy of the rest of Europe could also sink, to a smaller degree. Brexit would also probably cause Britain’s stock market and currency (pounds £) to fall into recession. On top of all of this, leaving the EU would mean a big change in immigration status for the millions of EU residents currently living and working in Britain. It would be harder for non-British people to stay and to travel to and from Britain.
What are the reasons for the exit?
Brexit is propelled by the same vague anti-immigrant, nationalist sentiment that motivates a lot of Donald Trump voters in the USA. Polls say that immigration, not the economy, is the most powerful driver of the “Leave” vote. The old “my country first, we’re losing it to the immigrants" idea is digging deep in older, more conservative voters who are more prone to vote "Leave". The younger, more liberal voters, less tied to the past and less fearful of newcomers, are more likely to want to stay.
This ignorant, fear-based anti-immigrant mentality is despicable!
On the other hand, there are important economical reasons among voters to preserve Britain's welfare. The UK, one of the main global economic forces, might motivate to make changes to ensure that all of its benefits are not widely shared among other less competent countries in the EU like Greek, Eslovenia, Portugal or Bulgaria.