Great Britain shocked the world by voting to exit the European Union last night. The effects of the Brexit, as its been dubbed, are already being felt and will continue to be felt for some time. The Pound is in free-fall and Prime Minister David Cameron, who opposed the effort to leave the EU, has announced he will soon step down. A good deal can be said about the backstory to referendum and the dynamics in play, but I will leave that to those who are experts in British politics.
Greece held its referendum on whether or not to accept the terms of its bailout from the European Commission, International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank. For years, Greece has gotten billions in bailout funds with conditions heavily rooted in austerity: deep social cuts and tax/fee increases. For the last several years, Greece has been forced to cut public works, pensions, and social programs. Meanwhile, Greece has been forced to raise taxes and fees on working and middle class voters; while proposed cooperate tax increases were not allowed by the IMF.
On May 22nd, Ireland became the first nation in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular referendum. The vote for approval was 62%, amazingly high considering Ireland’s reputation as a more conservative, Catholic nation. Polls constantly showed a major lead for the YES side of the referendum; which had the backing of all major political parties and prominent celebrities.