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Front Page Talking Points


Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

British exit: Voters favor quitting the European Union, an economic-political coalition formed 24 years ago


1.gifPick any news update on this topic and summarize key points.

2.gifFrom that article or other coverage, share a quote showing the impact or emotional side of this issue.

3.gifNow find a U.S. viewpoint talking about how the big change in Europe could affect Americans.

A national vote in Britain last week still is front-page news. Its importance is hammered with words such as "historic," "stunning" and "momentous." Citizens voted to leave the European Union (EU), a 24-year-old coalition that now unites 28 countries in free exchanges of goods, services, investments and people. (Britain isn't among the 19 members using the Euro as a common currency.) The decision to pull out of that 1992 treaty – a British exit called Brexit for short – is "sure to reshape the nation’s place in the world, rattle the continent and rock political establishments throughout the West," The New York Times said under a headline spread across Page One. People around the globe reacted with shock and confusion.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who led the losing campaign, immediately announced that he’d resign by October so someone else can oversee exit negotiations expected to last at least two years. "I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination," he said the morning after the referendum tally showed 52 percent of voters want to quit the EU. The victorious side, which says the outcome marks "independence day," won by more than 1 million votes as more than 72 percent of eligible voters cast ballots – a far higher turnout than in all U.S. presidential elections since 1900.

Opponents of EU membership say it lets their country be governed partly by bureaucrats at the organization’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, and forces Britain to accept too many foreign immigrants. "The dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom," says Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Independence Party. Cameron and others wanting to stay in the EU predicted economic turmoil from a devalued British currency (which already has lost value in world money markets), higher taxes, reduced government spending and job losses. Some observers fear a "domino effect" of other members holding votes on whether to follow Britain’s lead. In Washington, President Obama pledged that the United Kingdom and the EU each would remain “indispensable partners of the United States” and that Britain's "special relationship" with the United States would endure.

Prime minister says: "The British people have voted to leave the European Union, and their will must be respected. . . . Let me congratulate all those who took part in the 'Leave' campaign for the spirited and passionate case that they made." – David Cameron

Vote outcome backer says: "There is simply no need in the 21st century to be part of a federal government in Brussels that is imitated nowhere else on Earth. It was a noble idea for its time, but it is no longer right for this country." – Boris Johnson, Conservative Party member of Parliament

U.S. critic of outcome says: "The worst is not inevitable but it is plausible. Britain . . . faces serious, long-term political and economic risk." – Roger Cohen, New York Times columnist born in London

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for, Copyright 2016
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