Brexit? Perhaps rather "Untied Kingdom"?
I get the feeling that the once United Kingdom is now the Untied Kingdom. Yes we might not be tied to the EU, but like a shoe that is untied it is much easier to trip and for the shoe to be left behind.
Why was this ever put to a referendum? A referendum is where the government hands over decision-making powers on a specific topic over to the electorate. This can be seen as the ultimate form of democracy, however it is not without its drawbacks.
We as the electorate in a democratic country have power over our government in many ways, the biggest of course being that we can decide as a whole who will run our country and our local areas. This is a decision that we are all obliged to make and we owe it to ourselves to learn as much about the candidates as possible in order to make sure that our votes are given to the right parties. This is where, personally, I want my country-level decision-making to end; I have elected the best party based on my research and I am now paying, via taxes, for this new government to do their best to run the country. This new government is a large group of experts who we are all paying to do their respective jobs as well as possible. If they do not do a good job, we can choose to elect another group next time. Simple and effective.
I am a computer programmer. I am not an expert in economics, foreign policy, the education and health systems, public transport, etc. The government has experts in each one of these fields as well as many others, so I want these paid experts to make decisions in those areas that are best for the country. Certainly they can ask my opinion if they feel the need to, but I should never be asked to make a decision on the running of the country in any of these areas. A referendum does just that; we are all asked individually to make an extremely complex decision. The only way we can make a decision of this magnitude effectively is to become an expert in each field that is important; in the case of the EU referendum this was all of them. I certainly do not have time to become an expert in any aspect of government, let alone all of them, and nor should any of us. This is the purpose of the government; they are a collection of these experts that can make this decision for us! The exchange rate of Pound Sterling is dropping against the US Dollar, so what should we do about it? I have no idea, I am not an economist. Ask an economics expert and you'll get much better suggestions than you will from me or anyone else who is not an economist. If the best economists cannot figure out the problem then by all means ask my opinion, but do not ask me to fix it!
The results of the referendum indicate the opinions of the entire electorate. This can be interpreted as asking a single overall decision-maker to give their opinion on a matter in the form of a percentage. The result of the EU referendum showed a 51.9% vote for leaving the EU. If a single decision-maker was asked for their opinion about leaving the EU and they responded saying that they feel that the UK should leave with a certainty of 51.9%, surely this would not indicate a strong desire to leave? What it does show is that there is a clear dissatisfaction with the UK's EU membership, however without a stronger certainty this should merely initiate a debate about the UK's EU membership rather than a radical reform -- leaving the EU based only on a 1.9% majority from non-experts.
It is probably quite clear from this article that I am opposed to the UK leaving the EU, however this is not the primary reason that I wrote it. While I think the wrong decision was made, I am more worried about the way in which the government tackled the issue. It is very dangerous to put the country in the hands of the electorate alone, who are not experts, completely and utterly, for such huge decisions. I am certainly in favour of polls to indicate public opinion, but this should only be used by the experts as a way to judge public opinion. This whole EU referendum should have been an opinion poll, and the 51.9% result in favour of leaving the EU should have caused the experts to question our role and to try to address problems that we have. If these experts did a bad job of this, we have the power to elect different experts next time.
To the government, please do not let this happen ever again. I want to feel secure that experts are running the country, not conflicted public opinion.