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Picking Up The Pieces Post Brexit

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The voters have decided and they have decided that Britain should leave the EU. It is a historical and momentous time in British politics. There has already been major fallout: we’ve lost a prime minister and could possibly lose the leader of the main opposition party. The vote has illuminated that we have a fractured country with major fault lines between young and old, between London and the rest of England and between the member states of the United Kingdom itself.

We must now move on from this to try and pick up the pieces and build the consensus that is greatly need. There is no use in grieving or chiding older voters for pulling us out of the EU. What we must now do is accept that there are people in this country with legitimate grievances that need to be addressed. People who feel left behind by the forces of globalisation. Regardless of whether or not you believe immigration is an issue worth debating, clearly a majority of the people in the UK do. The tendency among the privileged to condescend those they feel are not fortunate enough to view the world in their terms will not do any favours in the coming months

I voted remain reluctantly but I did hope for it to be a close count. This would not settle the issue, which in my mind would be great for addressing the real problems that underpinned people’s disenchantment with the EU. The good thing about this vote is now the EU scapegoat has been freed. Our national politicians can be fully held accountable for decisions and promises they make. No longer can things be blamed on Brussels bureaucrats anymore.

A case in point of this is immigration. We can now have a sensible discussion that isn’t encumbered by politicians claiming immigration is something they would rather not prefer but because of the EU, their hands are tied. Britain has full control over NON-EU migration – we even have a point’s based system – yet those levels are higher than migration from the EU. This lays bare a simple truth, that the UK economy is dependent on migrant work.  So even where the government has full control, net migration levels still run at about 188,000. This decision has now pushed us to have a much needed conversation about the sacrifices we are willing to make to lower migration levels or whether we could actually cope with better housing and public service policy in place.

 

 

The insidious side of politics

Immigration won this campaign. I do not wish to reduce the case for leaving the EU to a singular argument but that is exactly what the leave campaign have done. It’s a hard truth to accept when you see Britain as an outward facing cosmopolitan nation - but there has been a mandate from the people. We must not err on the side that laments "too much democracy"; the majority have spoken. We can only move forward by engaging with them from the position that we all voted for what we thought was right for this country. Now even though that may have led to us on to different paths we must still strive for convergence and consensus. If we follow this referendum with contempt for our fellow citizens then the political alienation and distance felt by those who voted to leave will only increase further.

We have to answer questions about what type of country we would like to be, what our relationship will be with our European partners, and how to unify and move forward. This can only be done when we listen to one another instead of trying to suppress and muffle societal dissatisfaction. Post Brexit Britain can still be outward looking and tolerant, now that we have to renegotiate our place in the global landscape maybe we can do so without leaving anyone behind.




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