Brexit is happening, and this is what you voted for

Our allies pleaded with us to remain and we ignored their call. Now Britain stands alone

Liam Young
Friday 24 June 2016 16:09 BST
Boris Johnson is tipped as the next Prime Minister as British voters opt for Brexit
Boris Johnson is tipped as the next Prime Minister as British voters opt for Brexit (PA WIRE)

'If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal', goes the well-known saying attributed to Emma Goldman. I don't think a single election has passed without someone uttering this sentiment. But perhaps we have heard it for the last time. The European Referendum was an industrial-scale act of democracy. In voting for Brexit, the British people have opted for radical change. But what sort of change have they voted for?

Above all, they have voted for a change of Prime Minister. David Cameron's position is now untenable. After risking his reputation for a Remain vote, Cameron will now go down in history as the Prime Minister who accidentally brought us out of Europe and began the slow process of breaking up the United Kingdom. But the sniping began long before this result.

Tory infighting throughout the campaign would obviously culminate in anger, one way or the other and Cameron will feel the brunt of that. Having handed victory to Boris Johnson's Leave campaign, voters have legitimised his claim to leadership. It will only be a matter of time before the former London Mayor picks up the keys to 10 Downing Street.

Follow the latest updates on the EU referendum

While the people of London rejected Zac Goldsmith's campaign of fear, in voting for Brexit, the British public have done the opposite. In fact, this election may serve as proof that such campaigns of fear and scaremongering can work. From Boris Johnson's barmy claims about bananas, Vote Leave's naming of Syria and Iraq on leaflets, to Ukip leader Nigel Farage's infamous Breaking Point poster there have been many examples of this approach. Rather than rejecting these campaign tactics, the British public appears to have endorsed them.

6 ways Britain leaving the EU will affect you

After sterling plunged on the currency markets this morning, warnings of economic recession can no longer be classed as scaremongering. No one is quite sure how long it will take, but we are now in the position where the Treasury, the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and numerous leading economists would all need to be proved wrong on the economic question if we are to avoid financial ruin.

The British public has, in a sense, voted for the recession it is about to suffer the pain of. We live in a democracy, so the public are entitled to vote for whatever they wish, but now Brexit and its very effects are a reality, Leave campaigners will have to face the music.

Trade unions made similar warnings about the future of employment rights. Upon our exit of the EU, British workers may no longer have a statutory right to paid holiday, there will be no legal limit on the number of hours employees can be asked to work and there may be fewer laws in place to prevent discrimination at work, on the grounds of disability or sexuality for example.

I have never claimed to be some great patriot, but this morning I also feel as if Britain has lost part of its greatness. For me, Great Britain symbolised acceptance and tolerance in the modern era; a part of this has now been lost.

In pulling up the drawbridge and shrinking into ourselves we have diminished our standing in the world. Though we live in an evermore interconnected world we have chosen isolation, not cooperation.

From Barack Obama to European leaders across the continent, our allies pleaded with us to remain. We have ignored their call. Now, Britain stands alone. The question is, can it ever stand tall again?

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in