With 17 million people voting to leave the EU, with over 16 million voting to remain, the referendum undertaken in the United Kingdom in June 2016 is over, but the ramifications, consequences and negotiations are just about to begin.
Boris Johnson spoke out shortly after the divisive referendum noting that while this was one of the largest turnouts in UK referendum voting history the result seemed to cause more division, anxiety and fear for the future than ever before.
Fear for Democracy Itself
While many who voted to Remain said that people who voted Leave were fueled by fear over immigration, the refugee crisis, and the fear perpetuated by the rise of the extreme right-wing party, UKIP. Many of the votes in the Leave camp were based on concerns about growing control of the European Union in democratic processes in the United Kingdom, as well as the increasingly expensive bureaucracy within the job market, regulations surrounding markets and regulation of products within the EU member states.
Though London voted overwhelmingly to Remain, as did Scotland, it was the smaller regions and smaller businesses by extension that voted to Leave. Key figures in the referendum, like Johnson, have stated that Leaving the EU represents an opportunity for the UK to create a relationship with Europe based on free trade and fair partnerships, and not on remaining tied to a central government that many in the UK feels does not have their best interests at heart.
Did Immigration Fears Won the Vote?
It was noted though that leaving the EU means that the government will be able to take back control over immigration policies, a move that many say was the deciding factor in the vote. Most voters are not concerned with trade agreements, laws governing EU products and business legislation, so it appears that the vote to leave was a vote based on one of the smallest issues facing the European Union now.