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Perhaps it would have been prudent to ask the question before polls had closed and “Leave” apparently emerged victorious. But perhaps that’s also none of our business.
Markets are crashing around the world, Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned, and things have become uncertain for immigrants to the U.K. and U.K. citizens living abroad in the EU. And Scotland will likely take this opportunity to reconsider that whole independence question. How come nobody predicted this?
Oh, wait, everybody predicted this.
“It’s likely that Brexit (and what an ugly neologism it is) would lead to plummeting stock markets and an economic recession, with losses to GDP calculated by the Centre for Economic Performance at up to 9.5%—worse than the 2008 financial crisis,” wrote Alex Preston in Guardian, more than a year ago. The article was headlined “What would happen if Britain left the EU?” and is one of the top Google results for the question.
But hey, that happened. And it happened, in part, due to voters who weren’t necessarily uninformed, but assumed their individual votes couldn’t possibly make a difference.
I voted leave. But didn’t think my vote counted.
I’m stayin in the house today
— Dex (@TimelessDAC) June 24, 2016
Guy on BBC just said he voted leave but now he’s worried because he didn’t think it would actually happen. Great.
— Julia Raeside (@JNRaeside) June 24, 2016
And now that it’s over, Britons are asking themselves one other thing: “What is the EU?”
Oh, god. America, we’ve got a big election coming up in a few months. Don’t let this be us.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.