The results are in: the UK has voted in favour of leaving the European Union (with a very small majority) and for many of us, myself included, it has come as a shock…
This is not the outcome I would’ve chosen, but it is not the Armageddon some would like us to believe.
However, irrespective of how you voted, this entire process will hopefully serve as an eye opener as to how party politics and flagrant politicians drive their own agendas (on both sides of the fence!) and how fearmongering and misinformation can change opinion and sway power.
Yet, despite the outcome of this referendum, I’m not a fatalist and I believe in the power of democracy. And in my view, democracy is always in the hands of the voter.
While I believe Europe was used a scapegoat for many to express their utter dismay with the state of our government, politics and leadership, Britain has cast its vote. And Britain has made its choice (well, 51.9% of the country made the decision for the rest of us).
And today is new day.
I embrace change. I believe in unity. I believe in common sense.
Do I also believe Britain can be a great independent global power?
Yes! Without a doubt.
But not unless there is a political paradigm shift and overall political reform, as part of our exit to independence.
We no longer can afford to look at the current political parties and “leaders” for guidance to bring the change we want to see in Britain.
And let’s face it, whether you voted Leave or Remain, based on the manner in which the referendum debate was handled by both sides of the argument, only a fool would not want to see radical change (or realise the urgent need for it).
David Cameron’s resignation this morning (talk about a fall from grace or escaping through the backdoor) is the first step towards this change.
But be wary of him being replaced by one of the current political scarecrows all too anxious to enter the spotlight – like Boris Johnson who has been sitting eagerly in the wings, waiting for this moment to step up as Britain’s hero and saviour. He is not!
What we now need is for honest and trustworthy leaders, who act with integrity, to step forward. So, not Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage or Jeremy Corbyn.
We can no longer tolerate British politics (and this country) to be governed by individuals who have been selling us the same dead horse for too many years.
Because we’ve not seen a measured and reasonable political agenda from politicians or leaders in decades. Instead we’ve been suffer through divisive inflammatory political campaigns and party infighting, causing disarray and discontent – not just among ourselves but also among our European neighbours.
In fact, Labour and the Conservatives cannot be allowed to dominate the political stage for much longer.
We cannot afford any longer to be blindsided by the rhetoric of a stale dominant two-party political system either… And, god forbid, we cannot allow ourselves to be courted and deceived by the extreme and backward views of the likes of UKIP.
This new and independent Britain needs new political parties fronted by strong leaders with fresh voices, fresh political and economic strategies, and with believable and plausible manifestos, which they will and can deliver.
The hard truth for all of us is that this referendum was not won by a large majority vote.
The country stands divided.
This can either be a bitter pill to swallow or it can be a window of opportunity.
I choose the latter.
I choose radical political reform for the sake of lasting long-term prosperity.
And to achieve this, we should make every effort to undo the example set by our fallen leaders and flawed party politics.
And as individuals, we can start by counting need our words – taking heed – in the conversations we have around our kitchen tables and in our streets. We need to change our language and steer clear of engaging in damaging and hateful rhetoric. We are better than this.
Words can easily be misunderstood and twisted and turned into something hurtful and hateful. This can lead to tragic actions being taken. Look at the fate of Jo Cox.
If we want unity and progressive change, we cannot engage in language that hints at division, hatred and separation – not among ourselves, not when we talk about our neighbours and not when we speak of foreign nationals who are living among us – contributing to our growth and economy.
Through my eyes, there is certainly hope and the potential of finding a middle-ground: one that is measured, intelligent and fair, creating equal opportunities and prosperity for everyone – taking care of the wellbeing and welfare of everyone in this country, including EU citizens who have chosen to make Britain their home before the referendum took place (and even those who choose to make it this beautiful country their home in the future).
As we strive to unite again (and we will) and learn the lessons from this experience, we will hopefully realise that the future of Britain’s greatness is really in our hands. And our success won’t be achieved by building walls, bullying, discrimination and promoting fear and intolerance – because it can easily rear towards that direction.
Instead, we will build strong bridges – form better relationships. We will be good neighbours, upholding the values that have always made Britain one of the most forward-thinking, diverse and multicultural countries on this planet.
So, if you voted Leave remember in the coming days, weeks and months why you made your mark: You were tired of how this country was run. You were tired of broken promises by self-serving politicians – whether here at home or in Brussels. You were fed up with the wealth-divide. You wanted your voice to be heard. You wanted change.
If you voted Remain, then you are part of the 48.1 % of Britain who stood strong in favour of our global and European economic participation and success. You too believe in Britain’s ability to be a force to be reckoned with. You know that we are a global leader that can achieve so much in the areas of economics, trade agreements, global peace and human rights.
We cannot undo the results of this referendum. The decision has been made.
All we can do now is to stand together, enforce reform and to say: Yes we can. Yes we will.