So what to do with Brexit a few days on….

I remain devastated by last Thursday’s decision, which I believe not only to be a momentous mistake at the time but also that my conviction is being confirmed daily by the exposure of Brexit deceit and the complete lack of any firm plans on what to do next – to say nothing of the present dangerous economic and political upheaval.  At the moment, it seems that mssrs Cameron and Osborne have being doing what mssrs Gove and Johnson have abjectly failed to do, and that is prepare as best they can for the road out of the EU.  It is quite scandalous really and underlines the feeling of being duped now felt by many Leavers and Stayers alike.  It’s also very disconcerting to hear today from the Police about the substantial increase in racial assaults since the 23rd.

However, though my head longs for a technical way out, my heart tells me that that would only exacerbate the divisions that threaten to – and may already be beginning to – let loose something extremely ugly in our society, and that is the last thing we need right now.

So I would like to suggest three areas for starters that need to be attended to if we are going to make the best of where we are and where we are going, and stave of the worst of the political and social unravelling that appears to be happening now.

First, we need leadership to lead us forward that represents us all, NOT just the Brexiteers. This is vital.  We need to get the best out of the forthcoming process of disengagement with the EU, and that means wide representation.  That needs to be cross-party, cross-national, ie. with representatives from the home nations, with at least clear consultation with both business and unions, as well as minority ethnic groups and young people who might feel completely disenfranchised by this whole exercise.  For me, Boris Johnson is the last person in the world to lead us through this next process, because of his ‘Johnny-come-lately’ opposition to Europe and his evident lack of craft to do the job.

Two, we need some party or coalition to hold the government to account.  The lack of an effective opposition is unacceptable.  Whether that is based around the Labour Party – given the dramatic unfolding events there – or some progressive coalition I don’t know. But someone needs to stand in the gap to represent an alternative, more progressive view to the Tory mantras – which can only be good for democracy.  For those of us who believe that a right wing Tory ideology is a greater threat to the UK than the EU ever was, it is important that there is a voice that challenges effectively those in the seats of power.

Thirdly, I know personally EU nationals and other immigrants who feel extremely fearful about the future since last Thursday – some experiencing intimidation (like the EU national friend of mine whose boss ‘joked’ to their workers that they’ll all soon be being sent packing back to their home countries).  So we ALL need to make every effort to reassure the young and the many minority groups, especially European residents in the UK and third-world immigrants, but also many small businesses, that they have a future here and that their voices are valued, ie. heard and acted upon.  That will take some doing and won’t happen by accident, but by a determination to build the necessary bridges and channels of communication.

It’s still only a fortnight since the death of Jo Cox, but her witness to a better, more honest and compassionate way of doing politics mustn’t be forgotten. We need a politics of love, respect and inclusion more than ever now.  We need everyone of good will – however you voted and whatever you feel now – to commit to that, or God help us all!

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