When I woke up Friday morning to the news that the United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union, my phone was already buzzing with notifications and messages from my friends here in England who were devastated by the result. One friend told me that he feels “like my country has imploded.” Still, if every cloud has a silver lining — and if we try and assume that 17.4 million Britons can’t be wrong — then there has to be some upside to Brexit… right?
Granted, I haven't heard too many cheers for the Brexit firsthand. I’m living in the liberal hotbed of Brighton, which is sort of like the San Francisco of the United Kingdom (in terms of gays, vegans, and liberal politics) and have almost no day-to-day contact with the Leavers, so it was hard for me to understand that there was anyone in the nation who might be celebrating this outcome. Unsurprisingly, this question of if there's anything good about the Brexit is pretty subjective and depends a lot on your political leanings, but there's arguably some potential for good to come out of it.
The first possible positive is that this will cause a massive shake-up of both British and EU politics… for the better. It’s far from certain that this will happen, but with the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and the potential for a general election before the United Kingdom begins the process of extricating itself from the EU, Brexit may serve as a wake-up call for the 28 percent of the eligible voters who did not cast ballots.
Moreover, one of the chief complaints of the Leave campaign is the obfuscation of the structure and functioning of the European Union Parliament in Brussels, often described as a monolith due to its unclear practices and seeming inaccessibility. But given how surprised the EU was by the referendum’s result, it’s possible that there will be some parliamentary housekeeping and restructuring in order, especially as other countries consider their own exits, including a “Nexit” by the Netherlands and a “Dexit” by Denmark.
The one seemingly unequivocal upside to Brexit for Americans is a simple one: With a weak pound against a strong dollar, it's never been a better time to visit the United Kingdom, monetarily speaking. And while the worst fears of the Remain campaign may not be realized anytime soon, it might be a good time to see the Houses of Parliament, before they figuratively — or literally — crumble.