In case you were sleeping, prepare yourself:. On Thursday night, Britain voted to leave the European Union, with a relatively narrow majority backing the "Leave" side of the national referendum. And while it's still not a guarantee that the British parliament will allow the withdrawal to happen, there have already been steep consequences ― David Cameron has resigned as Prime Minister, and the value of the British pound has spectacularly cratered in less than 24 hours. And yet, some people seem a little confused: Fox News said Britain left the United Nations early on Friday morning, making it clear that all the Brexit brouhaha flew a little over the cable news channel's head.
OK, OK — to be fair, it was probably just an embarrassing chyron flub, and those happen to all the cable networks at one time or another, on a variety of topics. But still, on the day that one of America's foremost European allies ― scratch that now, I guess? ― decided to cut ties with the EU and go it alone, triggering instability and panic throughout European and global financial markets alike, you'd probably hope to avoid some hapless graphic causing any U.N.-related panic too.
And yet, as Talking Points Memo detailed, that's exactly the snafu the news outlet found itself in.
Needless to say — or maybe not, judging by the confusion — the European Union and the United Nations are two entirely different organizations. The U.N. is an intergovernmental assembly of member states around the world, broadly aimed at facilitating international cooperation, collaboration, and peace, whatever quibbles its bevy of often-conservative critics might have. The EU, on the other hand, is an economic and political union that unites together 28 ― or 27, rather, if Britain ultimately does work out an exit ― nations in and around Europe, from as far south as Italy to as far north as Finland.
While it's unclear what global consequences the United Kingdom withdrawing from the U.N. would have triggered, it's fair to suspect that it wouldn't have brought about quite this degree of economic chaos. Before a majority of the British voting public chose "Leave," according to FiveThirtyEight, the British pound was worth $1.50 in American dollars. Since the referendum, it plummeted to $1.32 in American dollars, the lowest it has been in 30 years.
In short, the effects of the Brexit vote became apparent in very short order after Leave's victory was assured, and now it's up to the country's parliament to consider how to proceed. And, of course, up to the "Remain" voters to wonder, "What the hell just happened?" But don't worry, no matter what you see ― there are no plans, as of yet, for the U.K. to ditch the U.N. as well.