Most people wanted to know what would happen on the morning of Friday 24th June.The answer: you get up and go to work, like every other day. It’s the small things that count.
Watching the stories pour in of pessimism and disappointment, we are forced to consider an uncertain future. However, though uncertainty is scary, it can also be exciting. Democratic processes were followed. This referendum had a higher turnout than anyone expected, with a representative vote of 70-80% of the British population. And although voting out brings challenges, it also allows Britain to forge a new path for itself.
Personally, I believe that failure to remain in the EU cannot just be blamed on British nationalism. Where is the accountability from Brussels? By choosing to take negotiations off the table, they have also contributed to the Brexit process. With ever tightening reigns on member states, why has the EU leadership chosen to ignore the warning signs? Personally, I am pro-immigrants, pro-Europe and pro-cooperation, but how can you ask a state to cooperate when the only offer on the table is essentially fit in or fuck off? Nation states are complex- and this vote has shown that.
I would argue that the majority of people that voted out would have voted in with re-negotiation of terms, if anything substantive had been offered. But when it comes down to it, Britons understand that British values and norms have withstood the test of time and that British ideals have never and will never be exclusionary in the way fear-mongers think they will.
So what is left for Britons to reflect on? At this point in time, we are left thinking about a number of things:
1.What is the new Britain going to look like?
2.What do we now stand for and how will we make that happen?
3.Who will lead us towards that goal?
These are big questions, and intimidating processes…but the bottom line remains that Britain is a fighter. This little nation typifies small dog syndrome and the tenacity of the British people is telling. To vote out of the EU is not to vote against immigration. It is not a vote for isolationism and it is certainly not a vote against cooperation. It is, however, a vote in support of our potential, a hope that we can build a better future.
The European project holds an uncertain future, but only to the extent that it has failed to adapt, failed to accommodate and failed to take account of a changing political landscape. My hope is that we can negotiate a better outcome, not because Britain should back track on its decision but because the options available were less than ideal on both sides.
Now is a time of negotiation, of facing truths and of sailing in unchartered waters. I hope we can all hold on to the realisation that yes or no, in or out was always too simple an option. And now, time will tell.
IMAGE: Boris Johnson got his way. Britain voted to leave the EU in a referendum on June 23. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Feature courtesy TSA