On June 24 the World was awaiting the results of the nail-biting EU Referendum Election. The previous day, 72.2% of the British public voted on whether to leave or remain in the European Union.
I watched with bated breath as David Dimbleby announced the earth shattering result, 51.9% of our nation had voted to leave the EU. Time stopped. It wasn’t soon after, that the financial markets were torpedoed by the ‘Leave’ victory, consequentially the value of the British pound plummeted, the lowest it has been since 1985.
Inevitably democracy has spoken, but the question on everyone’s lips is ‘what now?’. For those 48.1% of us who voted to remain, we have a lot more to fear from the unknown. It is justifiable to say that the Referendum has marked a watershed moment in our history.
There has been a seismic shift in British politics, with the majority of London voting to remain in, compared to the rest of the country (excluding Scotland and Northern Ireland). It is with despair that I say that we are now a country with ever gaping cracks.
London is now seen with even more suspicion as it voted with a majority, for economic stability. We can no longer disengage from the fact that there is a concerning disconnect between the South, namely London and the rest of the country. There are those who criticise, that those living and working in the Capital, know nothing of the hardships of austerity, especially when compared to their working class counterparts in the North. Yet it is also true to say that London has been a City which has accepted the influx of immigrants and enjoyed all its boons.
Not soon after the results were declared Nigel Farage declared a ‘war’ on immigration, calling for June 23 to be renamed ‘Independence Day’, a victory for real and ordinary people. He said, and I quote, “today honesty, decency and belief in nation…is going to win”. So what about the other 48.1% Nigel? What about all those people who will inevitably lose their jobs because we have an economy that will undoubtedly shrink? What about the younger generation who trusted overwhelmingly that remaining was the best prospect for their future, one which now looks set to be bleak and gloomy.
Our decision to become part of the European Union was in part to heal the rifts and divisions born out of war. The EU was more than a mere organisation, more than a single market, it was symbol of peace. A symbol to show the world that we could move beyond centuries of division and work our differences out together, for the collective interest of all involved. It is sad, that instead of choosing the path of tolerance, we have now decided to turn our backs on our neighbours who once were our enemies.
Democracy may have spoken, but David Cameron still resigned. Yes, it may be three months from now, but given the current turn of events, we now have an even bigger problem on our hands. I shudder to think that we have given men like Boris Johnson a mandate to run our country. I am no lover of the Tories, but it seems like for many, a vote for ‘Leave’ was a vote against the establishment, and it has gone horribly awry.
This is not a moment to make prophecies about the future, though I have indulged myself in a few, however it is a cause for concern that as we head into the next few months and possibly years, we face an existential crisis, what is our place in society? With a nation divided down the middle, and with a likely second Scottish Referendum (possibly Northern Ireland too), on the table, we head into a dark future with disturbing possibilities.