The Brexit Question:
Asked to vote in or out, Britain has chosen decisively to cast off its 43-year-old membership in the European Union, leaving it to face a more complex question: What kind of nation will it be now?
Will Britain be the outward-looking, entrepreneurial, confident country that makes its independent way in the world, as the leaders of the “Leave” campaign insisted it could be?
Or will it retreat to become a Little England, nationalist and a touch xenophobic, responding to the voters that drove it to quit the European Union? What created Brexit?
Even more important: Will it even hold together? With Scotland deeply pro-Europe, pressure will increase for another independence referendum that could bring an end to the United Kingdom.
Britain, a nation whose storied history has encompassed the birth of constitutional government, global empire, royal pageantry and heroic defense against fascism, is entering unknown territory.
The questions about its new path could remain unresolved for years. On Friday morning, at least, Britain remained a member of the European Union in full standing, just as it was 24 hours earlier. Now it is called Brexit!
But the impact of this plebiscite is likely to be profound and long-lasting, well beyond the immediate tumult in the financial markets, and the questions about Britain’s future will be answered against the backdrop of potential political, legal and economic upheaval.
A Conservative government with its first majority since 1992 has ripped itself apart on a global stage and is badly damaged. Prime Minister David Cameron promptly announced that he would step aside once his party settled on a successor, setting up a potentially bare-knuckle leadership battle. An early general election is not out of the question.
Once Britain begins the formal process of withdrawing from the European Union by exercising Article 50 of the treaty that governs membership in the bloc — a step Mr. Cameron said he would leave to the next prime minister — it will set off a two-year clock on negotiations, a period in which Britain (including millions of European citizens living in Britain and British citizens living in the European Union) will be in limbo.
One way or another - people are scared. Lost money, pensions - and don´t have a PM. (now they have have!)
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