What is this Brexit business about anyway?

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After three years of talking (and even some unimpressive arguing) in the British Parliament, change at the top of the government and pleas for Brussels to delay its exit, Britain closes the book on nearly half a century of close ties with Europe on Jan. 31. Its split with the European Union was sealed when Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party won a resounding victory in December’s general election.

What is “Brexit”?

I used to think that Brexit was an annoying thing that adults worried about too much but now I understand the importance of politicians and if we didn't have Brexit, things might go wrong and the British public would not get the result they voted for (rightly or wrongly). Brexit has been decided in parliament - Parliament is a place where all the politicians and people with higher power decide and discuss laws.

Who voted Brexit?

Most voters in England and Wales supported Brexit, particularly in rural areas and smaller cities. That overcame majority support for remaining in the European Union among voters in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Young people overwhelmingly voted against leaving, while older voters supported it. I agree with the young voters!

Why is it such a big deal?

Europe is Britain’s most important export market and its biggest source of foreign investment, while membership in the bloc has helped London cement its position as a global financial center.

With some regularity, major businesses have announced that they are leaving Britain because of Brexit, or have at least threatened to do so. The list of companies thinking about relocating includes Airbus, which employs 14,000 people and supports more than 100,000 other jobs. The government has projected that in 15 years, the country’s economy would be 4 percent to 9 percent smaller if Britain left the European Union than if it remained, depending on how it leaves. Mrs. May had promised that Brexit would mean an end to free movement — that is, the right of people from elsewhere in Europe to live and work in Britain. Working-class people who see immigration as a threat to their jobs viewed that as a triumph. But an end to free movement would cut both ways, and the prospect was dispiriting for young Britons hoping to study or work abroad.

This video provides more details on Brexit...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkkVc7l_zOo

Bibliography:

  • What is Brexit? And what happens next? by Benjamin Mueller (New York Times)
  • The view on a Brexit trade deal: tricky but not impossible (Guardian Newspaper)

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