I awoke this morning confidently expecting to find that the result of the UK referendum had been to ‘remain’ in Europe. I was wrong; I was shocked, and left wondering just what the future held, not just for the UK, but also for Europe. It’s been a long, long day.
There has been an understandable outpouring of emotions throughout the day, compounded by fear of the unknown, but one thing is certain and that is that it will take some while to sort out the wreckage. But putting the emotive issues and blame-mongering aside, we have to accept that the referendum has taught us something. The underlying issues that influenced the outcome of the vote to are not new – but a succession of governments have failed to address these fundamental problems. The referendum provided the perfect opportunity for the nation to express its level of frustration. It’s no good blaming the voters for expressing their opinion: for a significant number of years, our politicians have failed us.
I have no allegiance to any political party or ideology, so when successive governments ignore deep social problems, reduce or privatise the provision of basic infrastructure and health services, constantly mess with our education systems, but openly support wealth creation for the few, I find my respect for the political classes to be heading severely downward. When you add in some of their scandalous financial and immoral behaviours, it amazes me how these people retain office. The entire in/out campaign was a sordid example of fear-mongering, negativity and mud-slinging, aided and abetted by the usual hysteria and sensationalism of the media. With people clamouring for sensible and rational input, we had to dig very, very deep to find anything worthwhile.
So if our political leadership got us into this mess, who is going to get us out of it? Sadly, when we talk about leadership, we’re left wondering just who has the relevant skills, moral values and charisma to lead us. Is there anyone who can take the reins and re-unify the UK, and make our future look somewhat brighter than it does today? If that person exists, the challenge is to take a very careful look at the issues that caused the exit vote, and address them as a priority. As much as I disagree with the outcome of the vote, I respect the fact that the nation has spoken and declared it’s position on Europe, and we should now turn our collective intentions to building a credible future for our country and all of its inhabitants. My biggest fear is whether we have the leaders to take us there.