Whether we like it nor not, Britain voted to leave the EU - it’s time to move on

Votes are sorted into Remain, Leave and Doubtful trays as ballots are counted during the EU referend

Votes are sorted into Remain, Leave and Doubtful trays as ballots are counted during the EU referendum count. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Repercussions from the historic EU Referendum have continued for days and will do so for a long time to come.

Some observers suggest the country emerged divided, but that was not so much down religious, ethnic or cultural lines but an obvious London/Scotland split with the rest of the mainland.

We shouldn't particularly be surprised – Scotland seems determined to go its own way and should be allowed to now, while London is an inward-looking capital that has little in common with the rest of the nation.

So in essence, large parts of the country actually shared a common view.

What has been disappointing is the amount of vitriol in the wake of the Leave result and a bizarre petition seeking a re-run of the vote, already signed by around three million people.


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Meanwhile, the speculative scaremongering continues – perpetuating a shameful campaign from both sides packed with dubious and confusing claims amid a few mistruths.

This left the average voter having difficulty accessing hard facts and many duly placed their X in the box on gut instinct.

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There have also been accusations that older people have decided the future for the young – even 'ruined' it – but that is also not borne out by the data.

With only 36pc of 18 to 24-year-olds voting, young people who are not happy with the outcome should be pointing the finger at their apathetic peers, not those aged 30 or 40 and above who bothered to vote.

It is a disappointing indictment when younger people fail to exercise their democratic right to vote on such a crucial issue, and then complain at the outcome.

What is also possible is that an older generation that has lived with the EU for 40-odd years voted Leave because they felt it had delivered them little in that time.

While the Leave camp's message was hardly compelling, Remain did themselves few favours in a campaign delivered to an electorate in a patronising and condescending manner, lining up academics, the finance sector, business leaders and politicians telling the electorate with a 'we-know-best' attitude that the UK should stay in the EU.

That self-centred call failed to connect with huge areas of the electorate.

Most shameful were BT and communications unions writing to 81,000 employees in the run-in urging Remain. This was virtually a throwback to the union block voting scenarios of General Elections in the 60s and 70s.

This approach may even have triggered a backlash among voters in the provinces, ultimately leading to the Leave majority of 51.9pc to 48.1pc. Of the 33,551,983 who voted, 1,269,501 more people voted to leave than stay.

But let's be realistic: it was never the straight in-or-out vote that it was portrayed. It was either out, or let's 'stay' in a little bit – we won't have the Euro, and we'll negotiate 'special' concessions, so we were never going to be proper EU members anyway.

The petition for a re-run may let Remain voters air their frustrations – but whether we like it nor not, Britain voted to leave the EU and that is a bed we have made and must lie on.

It is time to respect the democratic process, move on and focus on opportunities.

I recognise SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon may have a point about it being 'democratically unacceptable' that Scotland should be ousted from the EU on an English vote

Scotland voted to stay within the UK by 55.3pc to 44.7pc on the premise it was remaining part of Europe, so there is an argument for a second independence referendum north of the border.

Equally though, English voters have for years been subject to the whims of Scottish MPs in Westminster influencing purely English matters with their parliamentary vote. You could say the West Lothian Question has finally answered back.

Europe, which does not love us and has never really done so, is now somewhat fearful that exit movements may gain momentum in France and other countries.

European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU-UK split would not be an 'amicable divorce', but pointedly remarked it had never been a 'deep love affair' either.

In Britain, we have heard the phrase 'divided society' carelessly bandied about and over-used in the last few days.

I suggest that it is not down to new divisions, more a case of long-standing differences being vividly illustrated on a blue and yellow map… perhaps further enhancing the case for regional devolution.

Europe will not abandon us as we will not abandon Europe – the relationship will just be different.

But if we are worried about divisions in society, we need look no further than Europe – Austria where a far-right presidential candidate narrowly missed being elected (49.7pc against 50.3pc), Greece split down the middle on austerity measures, France with a strong right-wing faction, and Scotland divided on independence.

Ironically, the UK is now truly European, a continent where divisions in society are commonplace.

As a nation where we are allowed to express our views, having done that we must all come back together and magnanimously live with the decision.

So, let's have a 'quickie' divorce and become amicable former partners who continue to work together for the sake of the children.

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