Brexit Votes Are Totaled: United Kingdom Votes To Leave The European Union
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union with record high voter turnout and a decisive margin that surprised even those who led the Leave campaign.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
This is a result that will have repercussions inside the European block and really around the world. Already, we're seeing some of the repercussions on the U.S. stock market. And we'll have more on that in just a moment. Another repercussion - British Prime Minister David Cameron who campaigned to stay in the European Union announced early this morning that he will be stepping down.
MARTIN: And the former mayor of London Boris Johnson who became a high-profile proponent of the Leave campaign was swarmed early this morning as he left his house.
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UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Shame on you.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Shame on you.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Shame on you. Shame on you. Shame on you.
GREENE: Shame on you and some booing there for one of the leaders of the Leave campaign Boris Johnson. Of course, Boris Johnson is a favorite now for the prime minister's job now that David Cameron is planning to step down. And Boris Johnson a short while ago addressed supporters from the headquarters of the Leave campaign in London.
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BORIS JOHNSON: And to those who may be anxious whether at home or abroad, this does not mean that the United Kingdom will be in any way less united. And I want to speak directly to the millions of people who did not vote for this outcome, especially young people, who may feel that this decision in some way involves pulling up a drawbridge or any kind of isolationism because I think the very opposite is true.
MARTIN: He's nodding there to those isolationist concerns because the decision to leave the EU was driven by resentment about immigration and what so-called leavers say are the economic and cultural costs of belonging to the EU. But leaving the European Union could have a high cost, a different kind.
Nicola Sturgeon is the leader of the Scottish Parliament, and this morning she announced that Scotland would now hold a second referendum to leave the U.K. and stay with the EU.
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NICOLA STURGEON: The U.K.-wide vote to leave the EU is one that I deeply regret. It remains my passionate belief that it is better for all parts of the U.K. to be members of the European Union.
GREENE: Just a sign there of the ripple effects we are already seeing from this decision. We have a team of colleagues covering this news this morning. I want to start in London. Frank Langfitt, I mean, very different reactions probably from people you're meeting on the streets this morning.
FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Yeah, definitely, David. You know, actually people here in London a lot of them are very - were very supportive of staying in. They woke up surprised and disappointed. The people who wanted out - very, very excited and sort of feel that this is a vindication for them.
I ran into this woman named Carol Jamieson (ph). She's a retired secretary. I bumped into her near Oxford Circus, and she started complaining about how the U.K. spends too much money on the European Union, particularly for the U.K.'s representatives in the European Parliament. And this is the first thing she said to me.
CAROL JAMIESON: Delighted. I'd rather we spent the money that we spend on Euro MPs on our national health, on our schools. I don't think people realize just how expensive it is for us belonging to Europe.
MARTIN: Delighted, she says. She is not exactly an ambiguous response.
LANGFITT: No, I mean - that - she's very, very excited.
MARTIN: So it sounds like she wants more focus back at home, that too much energy, money, resources are going to this - the collective - right? The EU and somehow the everyday lives of U.K. citizens are suffering as a result.
LANGFITT: Yeah. I think that that was definitely one of the undercurrents of the vote. You've had slogans here - Britain first, take back our country. And some of this is focused on immigration. The issue in the last - I guess there are about 2 million or more EU citizens working here in the United Kingdom. There's been a lot of complaining that's been driving down wages for people taking jobs. Last year, there was net migration from all the countries in the world - here were over 300,000. That's the second highest on record.
And also among some white Britons, there's sort of a concern that this is changing the nature of the country. As was once a - obviously a great empire, but it seems more recently to be focusing inward. Now, there's a sense of people outside of cosmopolitan London also that they weren't really being listened to.
I talked to Tony Travers this morning he's a professor in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics, and he had this analysis.
TONY TRAVERS: This is a - sort of soft revolution really of people who probably feel they've been left behind in some cases by the economy, not consulted about changes to the country and who have uniquely on this occasion had a chance all to vote together.
MARTIN: That was an economist who NPR's Frank Langfitt spoke to. He's also been talking with voters in London about the repercussions and their thoughts on the U.K.'s vote to leave the EU.
We're going to turn now to the financial impact of this vote with NPR economic correspondent John Ydstie. He's here in the studio with me. John, what are you seeing? How have the markets been reacting?
JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Well, the U.S. stocks opened down sharply as expected. The Dow was down over 500 points, one point more than 3 percent, but it's bounced back. It's down about 450 points right now. So I'd say not a rout in the U.S. markets. The selling really appears to be pretty orderly.
MARTIN: What can you tell us about how this vote is going to affect American companies operating in Europe?
YDSTIE: Well, you know, a lot of companies have a sort of a beachhead in London to serve Europe, particularly banks. And this morning the BBC is recording that Morgan Stanley is stepping up a process that could relocate up to 2,000 of its staff - the London-based staff to Dublin or Frankfurt.
So I think, you know, we may see a bit more of that especially in banking where there's this - you can branch banks from London into the EU now. But once London is out of the EU, you won't be able to have branches of a London-based bank there.
MARTIN: And, just briefly, this process of negotiating this exodus could take up to a couple of years, so we are likely to see some instability for a while?
YDSTIE: I think so. And, you know, there could be some economic effect in the United States, not a lot, but some negative effect. The dollar is much stronger now than it was, and that's going to hurt our exports to the EU and to the U.K.
MARTIN: NPR's John Ydstie. Thanks so much, John.
YDSTIE: You're welcome.
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