No one could have imagined a referendum that would become so divisive, nor could anyone imagine a Referendum, that over a year later would plunge Britain into a bottomless pit of political antipathy. Indeed in the last year alone, the relationship between Britain and Europe has voyaged from strong, to dichotomous. The tawdry deal between the Democratic Unionist Party and the Conservatives emphasises an unrestrained desire to pedal both an aggressive and isolationist Brexit strategy that will not only test our country to its limits but consign years of cooperation and unity to the dustbin of time.
One cannot help be anything but scathing and sesquipedalian when writing about a matter such as this. Indeed, for a student like me, Brexit, especially in its ‘hard’ form, ultimately risks impinging the hopeful futures of so many young adults. It is important to remember that the referendum of 2016 has sought to divide the nation; forcing our country’s youth into an unbreakable political straightjacket. Yet more significantly, it has sought to damage Britain’s once notable relationship with the EU, a referendum that for David Cameron seemed to be the panacea to internal Conservative squabbles. And whilst Britain becomes deadlocked in the labyrinthine ‘divorce process’, many people- I included- will be questioning the purpose of holding such a destructive vote in the first place. Indeed, resonating through the minds of so many will be that famous phrase: “short term gain, long term loss”.
Throughout the process, many people have tended to focus on the domestic impacts of such a single-minded withdrawal from the Union: economic downturns, business effects, and immigration. Whilst, of course, credence must be paid to these valid observations, it is worrying to think how Brexit will impinge on the great camaraderie between us and our European counterparts. The most disappointing outcome of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU will be how our experience of Europe will change and maligned. For me, the appeal of our membership of the EU was that it provided a plethora of opportunities in both further education, and career prospects, but now this hangs very much in the balance. Indeed, it would seem that we a not furthering our image of a global Britain, but instead embarking on a voyage to inglorious isolationism.
For Eurosceptics, Brexit signals the rejection of a common identity, the Europeanisation of British politics, and heralds the return of unhindered parliamentary sovereignty. Yet, in times of growing global uncertainty, the need to remain united diplomatically is an intrinsic component of both stability and security. For the Conservatives, it seems worth jeopardising our economic and political standing for the pursuit of ideals that were of limited in their impacts on our democracy and society in general. Indeed, as I make the progression from secondary education into further education, the effects of Brexit are already being felt. Those effects being that strong feelings of uncertainty tend to pervade my daily existence.
As for Britain’s trajectory after negotiations, well, that remains unclear. However, what is certain, is that before 2016, my future was not blighted by a seemingly avoidable political saga of duplicitous, cloak and dagger from the politicians tasked with providing us with a stable future. What disappoints and worries me the most, is that, despite an outcry of public opposition, there seem to be no hints of a mea culpa from the Conservative Party, who alone have plunged the country deeper into the pit of unpredictability than ever before.
A melancholic image, perhaps, but clearly there are lessons to be learnt from this political impasse. Namely, that we should not be waving goodbye to Europe, but instead offering a firm kick up the backside of ‘hard Brexit’, whose very existence, as has been demonstrated, offers no prospects of an amicable relationship with Europe, and provides not a ‘brighter future’, but a bleak and murky outlook of Britain’s imminent seclusion.