In June, the British voted to leave the European Union, a move called “Brexit.” The runup to the vote had been marked by dire and probably grossly exaggerated predictions of the disaster that Brexit might cause, so it is not particularly surprising that stock markets reacted badly to the news. Opponents of Brexit claimed that those who had voted for it were overwhelmingly older and less educated. That sounds impressive, but it can be restated: The opponents were those who remembered pre-European Union (EU) days, more than 40 years ago. At that time there were far fewer college or university graduates in the United Kingdom—but the lower-school education that many did have was considerably better.
Those who experienced the pre-EU United Kingdom also are largely retired to affordable places outside London. Those who voted for the European Union had never known anything else; they were voting, as many people do, for the status quo. Those opposing the European Union were uncomfortably aware that through their lives their country had been on a slippery slope away from self-control toward government by Brussels.