Brexit: The failure and future of a divided nation

By Frankie Newton

The decision of the British public to Leave the EU has left a fractured and isolated nation in it’s wake.

Although the future is uncertain, the immediate aftermath has proved our elite institutions in Britain have been naïve to the underlying social condition of a country they profess to lead.

For the UK to progress, we all need to step back and look at what the process and outcome of this referendum has exposed.

Waking up on Friday morning to see Farage’s smug grin and to hear his calls of “Victory for ordinary and decent people,” felt like the final blow from a campaign built on delusion and deceit.

By lunchtime the pound had hit a 31-year low, over £200 billion has been wiped from the UK’ stock market value, Sinn Fein was talking of secession and Scotland were debating independence. We were quickly dividing.

Public confusion grew rapidly throughout the day as the shameless and incontrovertible lies peddled by Farage and Johnson were starkly revealed.

There will not be £350m extra a week for the NHS, a promise still being pushed on polling day. Any votes based on the campaign’s stance over controlled immigration were equally misled.

Dan Hannan and Boris Johnson announced that those expecting the immigration numbers to fall will be “disappointed”.

For some, the truth behind the Leave Campaign’s twisted rhetoric will not come as a surprise but for those who were convinced by the headlines and the warped idea of what “getting your country back” looks like, then this is a pretty big kick in the teeth.

In reality the referendum was never solely about the unaccountable powers in Brussels. It was about those who feel disenfranchised and betrayed by the current political system.

Looking at the numbers, there is a clear correlation between strong Brexit support and those areas worse affected by the Conservative Party’s austerity measures, but it goes further than that.

These regions have suffered since the industrial decline and been both economically and culturally left behind.

They have watched politicians pour resources into the pockets of the financial and economic elites both at home and abroad, while former thriving industrial cities crumble as unemployment and public cuts increase.

This referendum was used as the platform for a working-class revolt, but it is not likely to be a working-class victory.

Without the referendum, Westminster and large swathes of the UK could have continued to ignore these forgotten vacuums in society. Equality and economic imbalance is a conversation that has been sidelined for too long and this needs to change.

If only these voices could have been heard before the nation’s prosperity and the younger generation’s future became collateral damage, before the vulnerable had their parochialism preyed upon by the right and before xenophobia became legitimised by David Cameron’s selfish gamble. But they were not, and we must deal with the consequence.

I feel like I’ve woken up in a dystopia I did not choose, but one inflicted by over half the nation. I know a lot of people feel this way and the petition calling for a second EU Referendum emphatically proves this, with over 3 million signatures.

However, this new reality is set in stone for the foreseeable future and we will achieve nothing if we fail to look forward.

We must decide how this historic decision can be used to progress social justice and open minds.

The only way we can climb out of this mess is by rejecting homogeneous politics. It is time to bring someone in that will put the country before their old Etonian rifts.

Currently, the hope of this is looking dim as our political parties are disintegrating just days after Brexit.

Two Labour politicians submitted a motion of no confidence in Corbyn and Labour resignations have begun in earnest.

It is vital that the right do not harness the narrative of the nation as we move into negotiations. This referendum has shown that our traditional conception of politics and the mentality that has existed, almost unquestioningly, cannot easily take us forward.

It is time for the Left to look to each other to find answers and to collaborate in a way they have not before. They must prove to the British public that they can unite under strong leadership in order to halt the continuation of a backwards and discriminatory rhetoric.

Westminster needs to provide a voice that supports progression for everyone in society and explain that we are better together than we are divided.

Uncertainty and change is guaranteed but the outcomes are not. I am truly scared about what might happen next but I hope that our politicians can step up in a way they have never done before.

When we are seemingly faced with interminable dark days, idealism can be the light that keeps pushing us forward.





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