In the aftermath of the historic British vote to leave the EU, openDemocracy is asking for our readers' thoughts on Brexit and what needs to happen next in 350 words. We've had an extraordinary response and you can read them all here.
This has to have been the ugliest political campaign seen in Britain for a long time. In flicking two fingers at the political class, the British electorate have inadvertently sent the country into meltdown.
Many in the Leave camp have hailed the result as a victory for democracy. Instead, to me it seems that populism has triumphed at the cost of democracy. Nigel Farage's victory speech said it all: the winners are real, ordinary and decent people, but what are we to make of the other 48% who voted to remain within the European Union? According to his rhetoric we should think of them that as naysayers who lack faith in Britain's ability to succeed outside the EU. The more important question that arises out of this is whether there is any room for these voters in Farage's vision for British democracy.
The electorate hold their representatives in contempt (we have known this for years by now), and the country is treading closer and closer towards a straight up tyranny of the majority. Remain voters are told to 'get over it,' to accept defeat and move on. It is fair to say that the antagonistic style of British politics has taken hold amongst the electorate as well as our politicians themselves, and what little room for compromise and cooperation that existed before the referendum is quickly shrinking.
On top of these worries, the fate of the union is looking increasingly uncertain. Scottish independence is back on the cards, as is the possible unification of Northern Ireland with the Republic. The United Kingdom, which UKIP are supposedly so keen to protect, is now under greater threat than ever.
Amidst all of this turbulence one would hope that someone steps up to the plate to become a true leader for the country as a whole. However, both Labour and the Conservative Party are going through their own leadership crises, leaving no one at the helm of British politics.
Ultimately, the Leave campaign's bid to 'take the country back' will only result in that country's demise.
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