A nation as great as the United Kingdom has every right to feel proud and carry its self confidence into the world. But emotions should not be the driving force behind politics. Great Britain has plunged into the Great Unknown.
Today and in the coming days, media outlets and broadcasting companies will turn into mad houses; buzzling anthills crawling with experts, analysts, commentators and know-it-alls. Only hours after the first results came out early this morning, articles mapping out what is to come for the United Kingdom and Europe have been published. The truth is nobody really knows what will happen.
And that’s the scary bit. This is not a game; this is not House of Cards. This is the real world. As an EU student myself today I wonder will my tuition go up? Will I’ll be able to work in the UK without a visa? I have no idea. Many Brits living in the EU have similar questions. They don’t know the answer. From Cornwall to the Isle of Skye people are asking themselves, what will this really mean for me, my community, the economy? Nobody knows.
Once the fog of uncertainty has lifted, we may understand the answers to the many questions we have. However, the fog is heavy; this could take years.
What can we learn from the UKs referendum? Certainly EU leaders, but also national politicians will have to accept that emotions and identity are a powerful motivation for political action. A nation as great as the United Kingdom has every right to feel proud and carry its self confidence into the world. But emotions should not be the driving force behind politics. They should have their place and must be respected but not ought to be the sole reason behind decisions as great as the one taken yesterday. What I find sad about the UKs decision to leave the EU is that surely it would have been possible to reconcile British self confidence with the European project. Britain could have become a major player within the EU and as a result in the world. Only if she wanted to. For now, this role has been handed over to Paris and Berlin.
I think. I don’t know.