Brexit is the manifestation of a hidden process of global change that has been ongoing since 2012. It was time for the shift to be felt, and now it has happened.
The unravelling of the British political system that, rapidly, is accompanying the decision to leave the EU, is paralleled, though not so obviously, in Europe with repercussions for the continent of Europe and the rest of the world, as the implications off Brexit threaten the status quo in countries hitherto dominated by small elites of the wealthy and powerful. Leaders are flocking together now to work to prevent any further challenge to their authority from citizens who want their voice to be heard and their concerns recognised, as has happened in the UK. The leaders are likely to fail.
The result of the EU referendum on Thursday came as a great shock to David Cameron and the Remain camp, who believed that promoting economics-based fear stories would win the day: in itself this demonstrates how out of touch and disconnected they were from the real concerns of “ordinary” people, and how much they underestimated the ability of those people to see behind the rhetoric.
Analysis of the results shows starkly the great gulf between the haves and the have-nots, those with money and those without, those whose communities have changed unrecognisably as a result of immigration, and those for whom immigration is a useful supply of labour, often though not always, cheap. Above all, it shows the divide there is within the UK, one half that has benefited comfortably from EU membership and the other half that feels alienated and forgotten, and unrepresented by any of the major political parties. The weak links of the political, economic and social systems in the UK and far beyond are exposed, and this may be the most significant result of Brexit.
While this period of change is disconcerting, because of its extent and potential, it is important to see it in a positive light, as a time of opportunity to confront the cracks that are exposed and to heal them. I am sorry that so many predictions of catastrophe following Brexit are being made, accompanied by political opportunism, when this is a time for acceptance, altruistic leadership, and uniting parties and the country together as we look ahead to a future that can be successful and peaceful, if this is what we want and are determined to achieve.
Many countries in the world have much to learn from this British, Brexit, experience, for the need for healing is everywhere. Hope is the Answer.