As the UK continues to reel in shock at the outcome of the EU referendum, Nathan Manning shares his thoughts on what it has revealed about the state of the country and the implications for democracy…
Britain’s referendum on EU membership has been an ugly affair. Jo Cox MP was brutally murdered in the street en route to her constituency surgery. Both sides of the campaign routinely reduced public debate to sloganeering and sustained misinformation, half-truths and flat-out lies.
Once again, political elites tended to ignore young people and were patronising when they did address them. It did get people talking, but public debate was a long way from the inclusive and public-spirited conversations we needed to help open up the political possibilities of the decision before us.
The Leave campaign offered no clear indication of what Brexit might practically mean and Remain rarely offered more than the status quo or the abject fear of the alternative. There was precious little space in which citizens could ask new questions, create new meanings or inspire one another.
Mark Twain told us that ‘if voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.’ Continue reading ‘Dejected, disgruntled and divided: Britain’s EU referendum’