Keep Calm and Brexit

Putting her own political views aside, Oriana Bevan calls for calm and pragmatism in this uncertain post-Brexit world.

Brexit has been a Pandora’s box, unleashing a whole host of new crises for British politics. Most people at the forefront of the Brexit and Remain campaigns are now gone, the Labour Party is in meltdown and the Tory cabinet has changed swiftly and radically.

All of which has challenged my own beliefs. As a Remainer I’m angry, but at the same time I have to respect the decision made by the British public. The people have spoken and this is how democracy works. We all have to come to terms with the new reality that is a future outside of the European Union.

Some argue that Theresa May’s ‘coronation’ is undemocratic, that she became Prime Minister with no real opposition and not via a proper voting process like the one taking place in the Labour Party right now. We might also call her a hypocrite since she slammed Gordon Brown for doing the same thing in 2007.

Also, now that Brexit has happened, we can question whether the Conservatives still have a mandate to lead the country given that Cameron was not a Brexiter and neither is May. But it’s not as clear cut as that – the Tories were the most divided out of the parties as 138 of their MPs voted for Brexit. David Cameron and Boris Johnson as figureheads of opposing campaigns represented the deep divisions within their party about the EU.

Some people have called for a snap election, but others – even those, like me, who are opposed to the Tories – feel this would be constitutionally and logistically tricky. The 2011 Fixed Term Act was designed to stop the government of the day calling an election at any given time just to cynically take advantage of their popularity. The Tories have not completed the five year term they earned at the 2015 election so, regardless of the referendum and a change of leadership, they have the right to stay in power unopposed until 2020.

So, while I’m distraught by the result of the referendum and the re-birth of the Tory government, I believe we must look forward rather than back to the Brexit negotiations and what Britain leaving the EU will actually mean.

But I suspect that the deal we will end up with after however long it takes to negotiate the terms of the exit will not live up to the claims made and the expectations established by the Leave campaign. We must now, as an electorate, place as much pressure as we can on our representatives to get the best deal for Britain as we withdraw from the European project.