Star comment: Brexit vote is a triumph for power of people – (blog)

The electorate of the United Kingdom has ignored the advice of the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, the Labour leadership, the Lib Dem leadership, an overwhelming number of economic and business bodies, foreign leaders, and even assorted respected celebrities, and voted for a future for the United Kingdom which is outside the EU.

This is a triumph for direct democracy but also represents a disastrous disconnect between the people who govern the nation and the governed.

Having been told for years what is good for them, and not having a real democratic choice, ordinary voters have rebelled.

It is a shocking and historic indictment of the performance of those in power who have failed to listen to the people who put them there.

The Leave campaign has not been led by any figure of truly great standing and yet has won the day, because its arguments chimed with what a majority of voters actually think, and with the issues which matter most to them.

It is also a devastating day for the EU itself.


It has brought on Brexit by failing to convince the British people that it is a club worth belonging to.

There has been a lot of talk about British leadership within Europe, but Britain heading for the exit door is a form of leadership which will make a lot of officials uncomfortable in Brussels.

Governments like being in the EU, but the Brexit vote is just the latest and most dramatic indication that people are significantly less enthusiastic.

David Cameron is humiliated and defeated.

What he probably thought was going to be a sideshow became a full-blown circus and now the entire big top has fallen in on him.

Both he and George Osborne have surely written their own P45s through their chosen rhetoric during the campaign.

Their credibility is in shreds. Their dire warnings on the economy have been disbelieved, and voters have had no confidence that they have either the will or the way to tackle levels of immigration which have been shown to be a key concern among the British public.

Britain will now ride a rollercoaster of uncertainty which is going to be the inevitable consequence of the referendum vote, and Leave has its promises to keep.

It promised that the UK would not be worse off, and would be able to flourish and prosper outside the EU.

On the morning after the night before, we have to be braced for volatility in the markets, and it will come with a chorus of “we told you sos”.

But we have to see things as the beginning of a new day and it is going to be a while before those consequences which were unknowable before the referendum become known.

Leave will say it will take time for Britain to relearn the art of governing itself.

The first step is an acceptance that this democratic vote is truly binding and telling the EU, yes, we really are leaving you.

And as soon as possible the process needs to begin of securing the UK advantageous terms in trade, as to regain confidence the shellshocked pro-EU business community needs to know what’s going on.

Maybe the most difficult part now is going to be to look forward, rather than to dwell on, and continue the arguments over, this historic decision.

That is going to be particularly hard because this is going to be a complicated divorce and it is going to be years before Britain can start a new life and a new relationship with its European neighbours and the rest of the world.

And now the big issue is decided, let us hear no more of this being a leap in the dark.

The work starts today of building a new future.

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