News World ‘Shame on all of you’: Brexit shock sinks in

‘Shame on all of you’: Brexit shock sinks in

Westminster Brexit
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Rebellion rippled through the United Kingdom on referendum day.

The morning after, it was replaced with shock.

Even those who’d rushed to the polls to declare “Brexit!” were wondering how high a price they might pay to get to their final goal.

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Opposite the Houses of Parliament, a media city had sprung up. Politicians and journalists scurried about.

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The media sets up camp outside Westminster. Photo: ABC

The public stood behind the rope, absorbing the scene, wondering what on earth had just taken place.

Charles Lee was with teenage students all wearing Union Jack hats but not celebrating.

“It’s insane, insane,” he said.

“Totally unexpected. I cannot believe so many people can be so stupid. There’s huge uncertainty now. Who knows what the future holds?”

A cyclist rode up to a group of “out” voters and started shouting.

“Shame, shame on all of you. Look what you’ve done,” he said. His impromptu anger seemed to surprise even him.

“I didn’t plan to say any of this. But I have,” he said before riding off.

The young overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU.

Robbie Yates stood and shook his head.

“For the younger generation, for myself, it’s a real shame,” he said.

“It was so tight it could have gone any way. I just don’t know what happens now.”

Even those committed to a Brexit, like Karen Stupart, seemed shocked it had actually happened.

“I think we have to hold our nerve on this one and see how things pan out,” she said.

She had no morning-after regrets though, saying: “It’s a big change. We just need to embrace it.”

The Eurosceptics in Romford in Essex could barely contain their glee.

Cab driver Matt Budd voiced concerns on the two issues that had driven many voters — immigration and the economy.

“It’s purely down to immigration,” he said.

“It seems like, well we are working class people, and it can be a real struggle for us.

“We’re out here trying to make ends meet. And immigrants are coming over to the country and they’re getting things so easily.”

Cameron resigns after shock result

Britain rejected its membership of the EU in a nation-changing referendum that shook global politics and, in the process, forced the resignation of a sitting Prime Minister.

Britons ignored David Cameron’s plea to stay in the European Union and voted in a referendum to exit the EU, leaving him with no choice but to step down from the job he has held since 2010.

Mr Cameron addressed the world’s media outside his Downing Street offices on Friday morning (local time) as financial markets pummelled the sterling and investors sold off British shares after the 52-to-48-per cent victory for the ‘Leave’ campaign was confirmed.

“I was absolutely clear about my belief that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the European Union,” Mr Cameron told reporters outside of 10 Downing Street as markets opened to the tumultuous news.

But the British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path, and as such, I think the country requires fresh leadership.”

Mr Cameron said he would stay on as PM until October, and until then would take part in negotiations for Britain to leave the EU.

Boris Johnson Brexit
Boris Johnson: to the victor … the Prime Ministership? Photo: Getty

The new boss?

The focus now moves onto Mr Cameron replacement, and Boris Johnson, one of the leaders of the leave campaign, is an obvious frontrunner.

Mr Johnson, a former mayor of London, praised the people’s decision, saying the EU was no longer right for the country.

“Britain will continue to be a great European power, leading discussions on foreign policy, and defence and intelligence sharing, and all the work that currently goes on to make our world safer,” he said.

“It was a noble idea for its time, it is no longer right for this country.”

Justice Secretary Michael Gove, who helped lead the “leave” campaign, and Home Secretary Theresa May are also candidates.

Other cabinet members are likely to contend as well. Treasury chief George Osborne’s chances seem damaged by the Brexit vote as he had argued strongly to remain in the EU.

The vote, the fallout

Over 33 million citizens and residents voted in the referendum, with the official count recording 16.1 million ‘remain’ votes and 17.4 million ‘leave’ votes for the Leave campaign, led by former mayor Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.  

The result sent shockwaves through global finance markets, and could also prompt the resignation of British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, another strong supporter of the vote to remain in the European Union.

"Let June 23 go down in our history as our independence day." Photo: AAP.
“Let June 23 go down in our history as our independence day.” Photo: AAP

UKIP party leader and vehement anti-EU Leave campaigner Nigel Farage called it a “victory for real people” and tweeted: “we’ve got our country back. Thanks to all of you.”

“Let June 23 go down in our history as our independence day,” Farage said, promising the nation the chance to wrest control from Brussels and stem immigration.

“If the predictions now are right, this will be a victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people,” he said triumphantly after earlier in the day conceding, retracting and conceding again.

Carnage on global markets

As the Brexit vote firmed, the British pound sold off at an extraordinary rate, dropping more than 11.4 per cent on the day’s high against the US dollar to reach a 30-year low.

The FTSE index of top 100 shares, which has closed up 1.23 per cent before the vote result became apparent, is expected to sell off heavily on Monday, with futures pricing down 8.7 per cent.

The US dollar appreciated against every major currency except the Japanese yen, as traders sought safe-haven assets.

The Australian dollar fell 4.2 per cent against the US dollar by 2.15pm AEST, and Australian shares fell heavily with the ASX200 index closing down 3.3 per cent at 5113.2.

As investors retreated to safety, the gold price surged more than 8 per cent in Australian dollar terms, or about $130, to almost $1800 per ounce. Gold shares also rallied on the Australian share market.

Source: Twitter.
Source: Twitter.

Gold prices jumped sharply, with the US dollar spot price rising 6 per cent despite the surge in the US dollar itself. 

Commodity prices also fell, with one-year futures prices for oil down 2.3 per cent and iron ore down 0.5 per cent.

Much of the British media commentary pinpointed immigration as the key issue that swung the vote to the Leave camp, particularly in traditionally strong, Labour, working-class areas where people had expressed concerns over immigration and its effect on jobs.

James Groves, a spokesman for the In campaign, told The Telegraph: “There’s no doubt that the big swing was in wards which are solid Labour. It was all about immigration and jobs and I think we have to look at why that resonated so much.”

Scots could revisit independence

Meanwhile, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that a second independence vote is now “on the table” following the vote.

“The option of a second referendum must be on the table and it is on the table,” she said, adding that legislation for another vote following the one held in 2014 would be prepared when the Scottish Parliament approved it.

“I want to make it absolutely clear today that I intend to take all possible steps and explore all options to give effect to how people in Scotland voted,” she said.

“In other words, to secure our continuing place in the EU and in the single market, in particular.

“To conclude, this is not a situation that I wanted Scotland or the UK to be in today. For my responsibility, in a climate of uncertainty, it is to seek to lead us forward with purpose.”

-with agencies

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