On the 23rd of June, 2016,
the British people were asked to make a choice
about the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union.
The choice was simple,
Remain, and continue membership as normal;
or Leave, and withdraw from the EU.
The European Economic Community, the EU’s predecessor,
was created in 1957.
The UK was not one of the original members…
创建国是比利时 法国 意大利
which were: Belgium, France, Italy,
Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany.
The UK joined the EEC in1973.
Although it was 3rd time lucky for the UK,
as the French president at the time,
Charles de Gaulle, had vetoed their application twice before
because he thought that Britain were“incompatible with Europe”.
He may have had a point, as just 2 years later,
there was a referendum to leave the EEC.
Joining was done under the Conservative government of Edward Heath,
but after a change of leadership,
Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson,
disagreed with the decision to join,
and put it to the British people to vote on the issue.
The referendum was decisively in favour of remaining,
as 67% of the people voted to stay.
In 1992, the European Union was created,
as the organisation shifted to become more of a political union,
rather than simply an economic one.
The United Kingdom has always enjoyed a somewhat special status within the EU.
Shortly after the EU’s creation, the euro was introduced,
a single shared currency to be used throughout Europe, across different nations.
Most countries dropped their own local currency and adopted the euro.
Countries which use the euro are part of what’s known as the Eurozone,
from which the UK has an opt-out,
and the country has always stuck to its own currency,
the Pound Sterling.
Likewise, the Schengen Area,
which abolished border controls between member states,
is an agreement which allows freedom of travel
between all other Schengen Area countries,
without the need to issue a passport.
The UK also has an opt-out for this, too.
So why exactly did this referendum actually happen in the first place?
过去几十年里 越来越多英国公民 持欧洲怀疑论
Well, euroscepticism has been a growing phenomenon in the UK over the last few decades,
that is, criticism of Europe and the UK’s membership within the EU.
The most telling sign of this was the rise of the “ UK Independence Party ”,
or “ UKIP ”, and their somewhat constrovesional leader, Nigel Farage.
In the 2014 European Parliamentary election,
UKIP came out on top, winning the most seats.
This was a shock
as the Conservative Party and the Labour Party
had dominated British politics for a century.
This was the first time since 1906 that an election had been won
by anyone other than the Conservatives or Labour.
Of course this was a European election,
not a general election, which came the year after.
UKIP managed to obtain 12.7% of the popular vote..
although this only won them 1 of the 650 seats at Westminster
because of how the British voting system works.
The 2015 general election was also the reason this referendum came to be..
current Prime Minister at the time, David Cameron,
had promised in the lead-up to the election,
that should the Conservatives win and he remains Prime Minister,
the UK will hold a referendum on EU membership.
The reason he did this, was because there was growing Euroscepticism within his own party.
The referendum was his way of keeping his party members happy,
even though he himself was actually in favour of remaining.
So because the Conservatives did win the general election,
Cameron kept his promise, and the referendum date was set.
So what exactly were the some of the issues that were discussed during the campaign?
Well there were a large number of political issues,
but by far and away the biggest issue was: immigration.
Immigration has always been a bit of touchy subject in the UK,
with many people believing that the level of immigration is far too high.
Being a member of the EU,
means that citizens of other EU countries are free to live and work in UK.
Historically, non-EU immigration had always far surpassed EU immigration.
But EU immigration has been on the rise since 2003,
and in 2015, it was split roughly 50/50
between EU and non-EU immigration,
with about 550,000 immigrantscoming to the UK.
It has been estimated that
around 13% of people living in the UK areforeign-born.
Obviously leaving the EU would reduce the number of immigrants coming from the EU,
but just how big the impact is,
will be highly dependant on the deal to UK and the EU agree upon.
One of the other reasons people wanted to leave,
was the cost of membership.
EU members are either net contributors or net beneficiaries.
Net contributors being countries that pay in more than they back,
while net beneficiaries receive more than they give.
在欧盟预算上 英国是第二大捐献国 仅次于德国
the UK was the 2nd highest net contributor to the EU budget, behind Germany.
So just how much does it cost the UK government to be a member of the EU?
The Vote Leave campaign stated that the UK government pays
about £350m per week to be a member of the EU.
‘Surely that money would be better spent on the National Health Service?’ they said.
However, this figure has been widely criticised.
First of all, this number does not take into account
the UK’s rebate of £75m per week.
Money which never leaves the country in the first place.
Second, about £115m of that money get spent in the UK itself,
on things like subsidies for farmers
and research funding for British universities.
So the actual figure is more like £160m per week.
Or just over 1% of the £14 billion
the UK government spends every week.
The Remain Campaign said the economic benefits of being a member of EU
far away the cost of membership.
Sovereignty and EU law was another issue
as to why some people wanted to leave the EU.
Why should laws be decided in Brussels and not here in Britain?
Was the argument made.
We should “ take back control ” was the message from the Leave Campaign,
and claims were made that 62% of our laws come from the EU.
On the opposite say the Remain Campaign
said this was inaccurate and that the figure was only 13%.
So… which of these is correct?
好吧 都不正确 真的
Well, neither, really.
Both sides were being disingenuous
and trying to push their political agenda.
The 13% figure is certainly too low,
this only includes laws, while neglecting other EU rules and regulations.
On the other hand, 62% is also too high.
This figure counts every EU law, rule, and regulation,
regardless of whether or not it’s even applicable to the UK.
And in reality, it’s impossible to arrive at accurate figure,
it’s definitely somewhere in between the two claims,
but EU laws have different levels of impact on different areas.
A further concern by so-called “ Brexiteers ”
was that the EU is expanding.
Five new countries are in the process of joining the EU.
阿尔巴尼亚 马其顿 黑山共和国 塞尔维亚和土耳其
Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey.
The focus of course being on Turkey and its 76 million people.
With all the safety concerns about ISIS and the migrant crisis,
there were fears of letting Turkey,
a country which borders Syria, join the EU.
While it is true that Turkey is technically in the process of joining EU.
It has been for the last three decades.
Turkey first applied to join back in 1987,
it was declared an eligible candidate in 1997,
and negotiations began in 2005.
Before a country can join the EU,
a country must first complete 35 chapters of negotiations.
As 2016, Turkey has completed… just one.
the 34 remaining, 14 are open for negotiation,
while the other 20 still remain closed.
One of the biggest issues facing Turkey ’s ascension to the EU
is the Cyprus dispute,
with Cyprus being a current EU member,
and Turkey being the only country that recognises the Republic of Northern Cyprus,
viewed by the international community as occupied territory.
So in short… Turkey will not joining the EU any time soon.
It may take several decades, or never even happen at all.
So campaigning on both sides went on for quite some time
before the referendum day.
Leave or Remain is something that didn’t necessarily fall along party lines.
People from all sides of the political spectrum were voting both leave and remain.
因此 六月二十三号 公投日当天
So on the 23rd of June, the referendum day arrived,
so who was eligible to vote?
All British and Commonwealth citizens living in the UK were eligible to vote,
while EU citizens residing in the UK, were not.
Early the next morning it was announced that the UK had voted to leave the EU,
with 52% to 48.
This came as a massive shock to some people,
even though opinion polls
had consistently showed how close it could it be.
Having a closer look at the results shows a clear geographical divide.
一般来说 苏格兰 北爱尔兰和伦敦投票留欧
Generally speaking, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and London voted to Remain,
but the rest of England as well as Wales, voted to leave.
Voting turnout was 72% with over 33 million votes.
By demographics as well,
there is a clear correlation between age and voting preference,
with older people generally being more likely to vote to leave
while young voters opted for staying.
As the result was released,
Nigel Farage proudly stated that the 23rd of June should be celebrated
as the UK’s “independence day”.
Immediately following the victory for the leave campaign,
David Cameron announced his resignation,
stated that he believed the countryneeded “fresh leadership”.
Theresa May would later replace him as Prime Minister,
even though she also had favoured staying part of the EU.
Overnight, as the results were still coming in,
the value of the pound plummeted by 10%
as it fell to a 31 year low against the US dollar.
So what happens now?
Well, even though the result of the vote was to leave the EU,
it’s not something that goes into immediately effect .
The UK is still part of the EU.
In fact, the process to leave hasn’t even begun yet.
In order for the process to actually start,
the UK government must first invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
Once this happens, a two-year negotiating period
between the 27 remaining members will begin.
The UK will not be able to take part in the negotiations.
So at the moment we have no idea how long it will be
before the UK actually leaves the EU.
We don’t know when Article 50 will be invoked,
and we don’t know how long negotiations will last.
In fact, it’s not even certain it will even happen.
Legally, the decision could be still be reversed
or Article 50 may never be invoked.
No member of the EU has ever left before
so this is completely unprecedented.
The future of the United Kingdom will hinge on the deal
that is agreed between the UK and the EU.
Of course the UK and the EU will continue to trade,
so they well remain the close allies.
But on the other hand, the EU doesn’t want to give the UK too great of a deal,
which may tempt other countries into leaving as well.
There have been discussions about
whether or not the UK would remain part of the “ single market ”
and perhaps have a similar relationship with the EU
欧盟与冰岛 挪威 瑞典或列支敦斯登的关系一样
as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland or Liechtenstein.
These four countries are not members of the EU,
but participate in the single market’s “four freedoms ” ,
商品 资本 服务和人员的自由流动
the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people.
So if the UK does remain part of the single market,
the impact on immigration,
which was by far the most important issue for many leave voters,
will likely be a minor one.
So what about Scotland?
Every single region of Scotland voted to remain part of the EU
with an overall 62% of voters in favour of staying..
Back in 2014, Scotland voted No on its independence referendum,
choosing to remain part of the United Kingdom.
This was said to be a once-in-lifetime vote,
but with such overwhelming preference towards staying in the EU,
the situation has changed.
For this reason, there are a lot of talks to Scotland having a second referendum on independence.
The Scottish government is currently exploring all possible options.
In the week following the Brexit vote,
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon travelled to Brussels
to discuss Scotland’s future.
It’s unclear if Scotland will be able to continue its current relationship with the EU,
although it does seem unlikely that Scotland may
have a different status within the EU than the rest of the UK.
So Scotland may need to become independent first in order to join the EU.
However, this puts Scotland in an awkward position.
The EU is Scotland’s 2nd largest trading partner,
but the rest of the UK is its first.
So if a second referendum on independence does happen,
it’s not a foregone conclusion that independence would be the result.
And then what about Northern Ireland?
Nearly 56% of Northern Irish voters favoured staying in the EU as well.
The largest Nationalist political party in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fién,
called for a referendum on Irish reunification in the event of a Brexit vote.
However, this does seem unlikely to happen any time soon.
Northern Ireland is still overwhelmingly Unionist.
And finally, there have even been calls for the capital city, London,
to become its own city-state within the EU as the capital also voted to remain,
with only 40% voting to leave.
An online petition currently has over 180,000 signatures.
The future of United Kingdom,
and indeed the rest of the EU, is unknown at the moment,
only time will tell how things will play out.
One thing seems certain though,
that after the Brexit vote,
the United Kingdom, seems more divided than ever.
Thanks for watching.