Britain Votes Out: How Did We Get Here?

24/06/2016 10:33 | Updated 24 June 2016

When asked over their sway on the EU referendum, the consensus among most voters I know was: "I'm a reluctant remain". Reluctant because Europe isn't perfect, and because David Cameron's renegotiated 'better deal for Britain' wasn't spectacularly in our favour. But In, ultimately, due to the fear of the unknown, the concern over another likely recession and the reality that without European ties, Britain's trade is limited.

For camp Remain, the cause to stay within the EU was about security - foreign, domestic and economic. Britain, as one of the strongest nations in Europe had the ability to influence the Eurozone and safeguard the communities' interests. Trading was easy, the US still saw us as a close ally and Britain benefitted from immigrants working across the country, not least in supporting the NHS and our education system.

That security has now gone. President Obama openly warned that the UK would go to "the back of the queue" in any future trade deal out of the Eurozone and an economically declining Britain is not an ally that particularly suits American interests. In terms of the economy, there will now be an 'emergency budget', as warned by George Osborne, if Britain dared to vote against the government. This, one assumes, will almost certainly include dramatic spending cuts and a considerable rise in income tax. Domestically, sure, Britain will now have more jobs available for Brits who want to work, but what will happen to wages and the average individual annual income is unknown.

Although Boris Johnson's charisma was a clear attraction to camp Leave's advertising, many voters had already made up their mind to join Out. Immigration was clearly the biggest concern, and admittedly, not a factor that Cameron could offer any reassurance on. However, other influences came into play. Norman Lamont and Nigel Lawson, both former chancellors who served in Margaret Thatcher's government and recall the 1975 EU referendum well, were adamant that Britain should leave Europe. When leading figures who have previously controlled the British economy speak out on such significant matters, it makes some un-deciders think twice. For those who remember the problems that Europe brought to both the Edward Heath and Thatcher premierships, hearing the news that Lamont and Lawson were backing Vote Leave only reinforced their beliefs.

However, regardless of whether you chose to leave or remain, after months of campaigning we now know that Britain has voted to leave the EU. We also know that there will be no going back. Love or loathe Cameron and Osborne, for now, they need to stay to fix policy in the short term. Stabilizing the economy and ushering in a few Brexit figures into cabinet should be their first moves. After that, by October, another prime minister will be waiting in the wings ready to take over the reins.