Brexit – initial thoughts after the referendum result

Sometimes we just don’t learn until we make mistakes and actually experience the consequences.

We (all 67m of us and the wider world too) have quite a bit of learning to come from Brexit.

I hope as a result of that learning we will end up with a more socially cohesive, globally open, evidence-based thinking species.  The questions are: how much pain we will have to work through in the meantime and how many years / decades it will take to learn the lessons and get better.

It’s still the best time in the history of the world to be alive.  I think we and our kids will still be able to say that in 2040 and will look back on the referendum result as a painful mistake that taught us all a great deal rather than the point at which everything started to unravel irreversibly.

The young people of today will be in charge then.

1 Comment

  1. My thinking about Brexit has evolved gradually since the referendum, and in fact was continually evolving for many years before June 2016. I voted leave and, although I no longer want to leave, I am perhaps paradoxically not one of those who say: “I regret voting to leave”.

    Imagine if the vote had gone marginally the other way. There would have been just as much of an outcry from the Leavers as there has been from Remainers, and the opportunist/populist parties like UKIP and others would have gone from strength to strength. Divisions in the country would be far worse and nothing good would have come out of it.

    As it is, and despite the many differences still existing, a huge national debate has started, and continues still. And the interest in politics has never seemed higher. From my experience, the standard reaction to opening a political discussion with most young people before the referendum would have been “Politics are just boring and I have no interest in who is running the country”. And you can’t blame them – they believe that it would make no difference to their lives whichever party they vote for – and this is the antithesis of democracy. For once they could vote on something where every vote counted towards the result. Although sadly 30% of the electorate still did not vote, this was still much higher than in recent General Elections, and hugely more than for MEPs and local elections. This is surely because the electorate thinks voting in these cases have even less meaning than in other elections.

    This was largely my reason for voting to leave – lack of meaning in casting a vote every 4 years, no meaningful contact with those supposedly representing us in the EU and no real understanding of the complexities of the EU system of government.

    However ongoing discussions over the past 2 years with family (you know who you are) and friends have brought me to a different view and I now believe we should, at the very least, have a final ref. to decide if we want to accept the negotiated terms of leaving, or to remain after all.

    I would now vote to remain, firstly because I no longer have confidence that a negotiated exit would be to anyone’s economic advantage (the UK or the EU) and secondly because of the emergence of the USA as a potential enemy state, working alongside Russia to control Europe and the Middle East. I seriously think this is a real danger that the world now finds itself in.

    Furthermore, I believe there are some decisions that are too important to be left to politicians. Anything that affects the constitution of this country should be put to the people to decide, where the combined wisdom of 40 million plus people is much more likely to produce the answer which is most beneficial and in the best interests of the country as a whole.

    But we need to establish a system for determining when a referendum is appropriate, what the question(s) will be, what % is required to change the status quo, as well as an oversight body to ensure that all relevant information relating to the referendum is accurate and disseminated as widely as possible.

    The first referendum to be held under these new rules (legislation) should be one to determine whether we withdraw Article 50 and stay in the EU, or accept the negotiated terms and leave.

    If anyone objects on the basis that it’s not traditional for our government to work in this way, then consider this. Our parliament was never established to create a democratic state, but simply to enable noblemen and rich landowners to restrict the crown from becoming too powerful. All moves towards democracy since then have been long, laborious and fought for over hundreds of years.

    Only 100 years ago, no women were allowed to vote, and nor were men unless they owned property. Prior to The Representation of the People Act 1918 only 8 million men were allowed to vote. After the act this increased to 21 million – all men aged over 21. Women though, had to be over 30 and occupiers of properties, so only 40% of them could vote. It was not until 10 years later, less than 20 years before I was born, that women were given the same rights as men.

    This was time of dramatic change to our democracy, and it did not come about by evolution – the battle was a hard fought one. It is time for a new battle to begin to establish:
    1. A fair and proper form of PR for voting for representatives in all our forms/levels of government.
    2. A formal system for enabling properly controlled, fact based, referenda to take place when critical changes are being proposed to our constitution; from wherever they derive.

    Of course, remaining in the EU, means the battle will need to be EU wide, partly as it would be one of our levels of government but also to reduce the impact of extremist parties which are growing in strength and influence in many other countries of the EU.

    To begin, make sure at the next election that you vote for a candidate that supports these criteria!

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