5 Reasons to Stay Positive After Brexit
1. More young people have become politically active and engaged overnight
A generation of disillusioned voters seems to have come alive and been awoken. Instantly, people are having political debates in a thought-provoking and emotionally charged ways that has not happened in my lifetime previously. Perhaps the closest thing to it I’ve seen was Britain’s entrance to the war in Iraq, which although more directly severe in its consequences, divided people in the same way.
The fact that so many young people, 75% in fact, voted to remain in the EU shows much promise for the future, even though reversing that vote might be very hard to do at the moment. The older generations emphatic leave vote has won but the future is not certain by any means. Especially since the leave campaign threw everything they had at it, extreme propaganda and all, and they still only limped over the finish line.
2. Social media has shown itself to be overwhelmingly progressive, and the old media is dying
Going on Twitter the morning of the results, and searching for neutral hashtags like #EURefResults and #Brexit show them overwhelmingly defiant stance against the Brexit vote with the minority saying that it was a victory.
Prior to this, I had often thought of social media commentary as being in line with bigoted and disgusting comments that I am accustomed to seeing on YouTube videos. However, Twitter’s response yesterday morning was a breath of fresh air and reassuring to know that there were so many people out there searching for answers to this horrible mess that we find ourselves in.
3. Referendum results are not legally binding — protests and activism can still help to delay the process
Although it may seem hard to believe, referendum results are not legally binding in the UK. Now I know it seems like this Brexit movement is progressing very fast, but there are potential solutions to stop it. For example, the UK government petition that has gained over a million signatures in 24 hours to trigger a second referendum given that they state the referendum cannot be taken seriously due to 74% turnout and only 52% of that voting to leave, way off a majority of the electorate.
Some possible protest methods may be direct protest, just as those taking place in London as I write this. Others are joining progressive political parties or movements that you feel may be able to provide an alternative to Brexit. Workers in the UK can join trade unions who, although they were divided on Brexit, still offer solidarity and progressive ideas.
Another option, which is less direct but more subversive, is to buy shares in all the newspapers that supported the leave campaign. For example, The Sun and The Times both owned coincidentally (!) by Rupert Murdoch. Now, before you say ‘I do not want to give Rupert Murdoch any money!’, let me say that, by owning shares in these papers you have a right to attend meetings and and participate in votes. You can therefore disrupt and change the course of their dialogue. If enough people were to buy shares in these papers, they could soon be overrun with people who do not share the current views and ideology that they make so much money from. Shares in such papers are not as expensive as you think and can be bought with relative ease. Try it, it might just work. I’m going to look into after writing this!
4. Scotland will leave, breaking up the UK and hopefully forcing a new UK general election
With Nicola Sturgeon stating that a second Scottish referendum on independence will happen in the near future, it looks increasingly likely that Scotland will vote to leave the UK.
One of the great ironies of this being that David Cameron, who campaigned hard for Scotland to remain part of the UK, used the fear mongering tactic of saying that Scotland would not be able to join the EU if it were to become independent. Now, the same Scottish voters have woken up to a country that has 100% voted to stay in the EU, but with their neighbours dragging them out of it against their will. The United Kingdom seems to be coming to an end, or at least the very opposite of united.
With Scotland leaving the United Kingdom, this will first throw the current Parliament into chaos given the amount of seats for members of Parliament representing Scotland. This should in turn trigger a new general election given that it will be impossible to say that the previous government is representative of the country in the wake of likely Scottish independence.
5. David Cameron’s middle-of-the-road nothing politics are no more — the divide is real and people now have 2 distinct options to choose from
Although I never voted for David Cameron, I didn’t particularly despise him either. Much of his politics was based on middle-ground policies, pleasing as many people as possible style tactics that have been the norm in the UK for the last two decades.
Now with the power vacuum that he has left after giving his resignation, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove look set to run the Conservative Party, both of whom make Cameron look like a peaceful moderate given their further right-wing views and worrying rhetoric.
In light of this, political battle lines have been drawn for the next generation or more. No longer will there be a mild and centre right Conservative Party — this is a win for the right wing and it leaves Labour and other opposition parties little choice but to come out and defend the other side of the political spectrum providing a real alternative, rather than pandering to centrist voters with populist politics.
Equally culpable are the Labour Party of the last two decades, starting with Tony Blair’s New Labour project, culminating in Gordon Brown’s weak run as Prime Minister. Jeremy Corbyn appears to be a man with good ideas but also portrayed in an extremely negative light by the media, mostly about trivial issues that will not affect his ability to run the country. As such, he provides a real alternative to the neo-con elites who are smiling post-Brexit.