Over seventeen million people voted to leave the EU on 23rd June, making it the biggest democratic mandate in British history. Yet there’s clear unease amongst many about what this means, what happens next, or if the referendum should stand.
On the Remain side, many are claiming that the people were fooled by the “lies” of the Brexit camp, and are looking to overturn the result. Millions have signed a petition urging a second referendum; some MP’s want a parliamentary vote on the result; others threaten the vote with lawyers and bureaucratic challenges. Meanwhile, on the Leave side, after being urged to vote, many are now angry with the way in which they have been castigated and criticized by some Remainers as ignorant or xenophobic. Worse, they fear their vote will be fudged, if not overturned, and have also signed a petition calling for Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to be enacted immediately, triggering the process of leaving the EU.
This is the most important moment in British politics for decades. It should be a moment that feels pregnant with possibilities. And yet many feel scared — genuinely scared – both of the consequences of the Brexit vote, and the implications for democracy if that vote is not implemented. How should we interpret the vote for Brexit? And what should happen next?