Brexit has forced us to redefine our society. Existential crises have hit the two main political parties, with talks about Cameron’s replacement and a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn dominating the newspaper headlines. Attitudes in Britain have changed because of the decision to leave the European Union, to an extent where we don’t completely know what politics, or being British is anymore.
After a leave vote, the electorate is fed up with lies and political propaganda. Corbyn’s promising ‘straight-talking, honest politics’ line he said last year would have worked wonders in a post-Brexit Britain, but not when his ‘half-hearted’ attitude led to an unsuccessful campaign from Labour for us to remain in the European Union.
“At a time where the Tory government is fractured, a dominant opposition could make monumental changes to government policy.”
It is this which has prompted rebellious Labour MPs to trigger an attack against Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party – a move completely unnecessary when he has overwhelming support from unions and the party members, who would obviously vote Jeremy back in again should he be unseated. At a time where the Tory government is fractured, a dominant opposition could make monumental changes to government policy. Instead, we are challenging all aspects of British culture and politics. It something which prompts so many questions that we simply don’t have the time to answer – there is no clear schedule or anything which is keeping British politics alive.
David Cameron was right to resign and create a stalemate across the whole of the political spectrum – not just his own party – to save his career. By delaying both the election of the new Conservative leader (and Prime Minister) and Brexit negotiations until around September, David Cameron will still be known as the Prime Minister who brought about a vote to leave the European Union, but he won’t be the one to actually do it. It’s up to his successor to live with that label, and to move Britain towards an independent state.
With that in mind, Boris Johnson made the right decision to turn Vote Leave’s post-Brexit plans into something which sounded like a manifesto. His idea of an Australian-style points-based system was one of the main policies which of course could only happen should a Vote Leave politician ever get close to the door of 10 Downing Street. With Michael Gove standing in the leadership contest, Vote Leave could see their plans for an independent Britain enacted through Gove as Prime Minister.
“The race to be the next Tory leader may be the vote which determines how the UK plans to leave the European Union, and whether the Conservative Party spirals over to the far-right or continues Cameron’s ‘legacy’.“
After all, there’s no doubt that the Conservative leadership contest will be about what each individual candidate plans to do with our relationship with the EU, rather than their manifestos being about new party policies. Earlier this week, Jeremy Hunt proposed that the general public should vote for a Brexit plan in a second referendum, but the race to be the next Tory leader may be the vote which determines how the UK plans to leave the European Union, and whether the Conservative Party goes in a completely new direction under Gove or continues Cameron’s agenda under May.
It’s a referendum which has seen both of the main parties shift in their political stance. The Labour Party is desperate to run away from Corbyn’s far-left attitude, and the Conservative Party is on the verge of a far-right uprising. If Labour and the Tories are both leaning off either side of the political spectrum, then the time may finally come for the Liberal Democrats to take centre stage.
As much as the vote to leave has highlighted Britain’s current attitudes towards the European Union, immigration and many other policies, the next Prime Minister will also have a huge part to play in defining Britain’s society and its politics. Questions about racism, xenophobia, the stigma surrounding immigration, the conflict between the younger and older generations are just some of the concerns that will need to be addressed as the country moves forward.
Politics always demands structure and definition, and after a vote to leave the European Union, this has broken down the foundations of British politics, and what it means to be British. It should not be up to far-right political parties, obsessed with nationalism, to decide our country’s new values.
Already, we’re seeing young people unite to show support for the European Union – and rightfully so. The statistics constantly cited prove that most young people backed the remain vote and now the opposite has happened, young people are more engaged than ever.
There’s no doubt that most people only pay attention to politics when it affects them, and the EU referendum’s ‘vote in a generation’ has impacted the young people of today.
They are now more engaged than ever, but in order to maintain that, political parties must clarify their stance, so young people know where to stand.