On the June 23, 2016, 51.9% of the voters in the United Kingdom historically decided to leave their place in the European Union through the so-called Brexit referendum. The results have had immediate economic consequences with markets like the Dow Jones Industrial falling 3% and the Pound trading at a 30 year low. The reverberations are expected to be felt locally and internationally for years. This is our series of interviews with UK residents about what happened.
Artist, UX Designer
How did you expect the vote to go?
I didn’t expect us to vote to leave at all. Before the vote I did worry that I might be inside a “London bubble”, hearing only the views of my friends but, even taking that into account, I thought that most people even outside of London wouldn’t vote to leave when it came down to it. I also thought the odds that the bookies were offering was a good sign that we were safely going to remain in the EU.
How did you react when the result was announced? What were people in your social circles/those immediately around you are saying about it?
I’m currently living in Barcelona for a short while so I’m a bit disconnected from it all. (I feel it’s important to mention, I did vote, by proxy). I stayed up til about 3am watching the first results come in and, when I went to sleep, the result was very close, I think remain had just pulled into the lead. I went to sleep feeling worried but still pretty confident.
When I woke up I checked my phone and the first thing I noticed was that a chat group that I’m in with some friends had the word “sad” in the title. I knew then that we must have voted to leave. I am meant to be working on an art project at the moment, but I haven’t been able to concentrate all day, I’ve been reading the news, forums, chatting with friends and all sharing our dismay. It’s devastating, honestly.
I believe the human race should be striving for unity, I think people are stronger in groups, pooling our resources and working together towards common goals. I don’t understand the need for division or selfishness. I think some people voted to leave based on fear, or as a protest of our current political situation in general. But Europe is not the enemy. I think we’ve made a huge mistake.
It’s also really frustrating that people have voted based on things which were clearly lies, and there is no accountability.
Honestly, I cried when I found out. This cuts off so many opportunities, I have friends from all over the world, which is an experience I am hugely grateful for. I can’t imagine not having that, and it’s in jeopardy of being taken away from everyone.
What do you think is likely to happen next?
I can’t see any replacement for David Cameron who isn’t even worse than him. Many of my friends’ futures are in question now. I myself am currently living in Spain, will I be able to do this in a couple of years? I work in the tech industry, will London still be able to compete globally in that industry? A lot of people are already talking about moving operations abroad to Dublin and other places. The pound has plummeted. I really have no idea. It’s scary.
The result also shows a huge division within Britain. Scotland and London voted so clearly differently from the rest of the country, but even across the whole of England there are lots of areas where the result was very close. It’s troubling to see how differently people perceive the world and it worries me that this means there will be more unrest to come.