The controversy that has surrounded Brexit presents an interesting case study for democracy. In any democracy, carrying out the will of the people is crucial but events within the past months have put the concept of democracy to the test. One question that rings through is: if democracy is said to be the will of the people, can the people decide to change their will? Is the collective will of a people carved in stone once a vote is cast?
Brexit has changed British society in ways that both Brexiteers and Remainers never imagined and after all the turmoil and heartbreak it is clear that British politics will never be the same. Brexit has brought with it vast divisions in our politics, social fabric and within our families and at a time when the threat of terrorism looms large, this division cannot be healthy for societal growth and cohesion. The objective of terrorists is to create fear and panic in a society, and after each terror attack healing is crucial but how easy will this healing be when the society has vast divisions?
It is easy to argue that the British people decided to leave the EU during the referendum, but leaving the EU swiftly has dire consequences for the government, businesses, families, the security apparatus and the justice and legal systems. Being able to trade without restrictions with nations outside the EU may be a great idea but it is unimaginable the UK can gain the same level of momentum in partnership within a few years. As someone rightly observed: “people trade with their neighbours”. And as the case in a messy divorce, each party ends up with grave losses and causalities. No one breaks away unscathed.
This is the stark reality of the Brexit situation and it is perhaps an overwhelming reason for the UK to leave with a deal. It is simply not possible to imagine a paradise after extricating oneself from a partnership of over 46 years. Laws were jointly formulated within the four decades of this partnership and business relationships were built through slow and painful processes. Crushing out of the Brexit deal will naturally damage the systems that have been built and will negatively impact small businesses who trade within the EU.
For those who are adamant that leaving without a deal promises a paradise after Brexit, the question is this: which of you would remain seated in a train that is bound to crush? Some of the famous billionaire Brexiteer businessmen have already fled the UK in anticipation of the consequences of Brexit. If they, with all their millions, do not believe in Brexit, then why should you?