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The EU Referendum Shows We Must Urgently Build a More Representative, Inclusive Democracy

24/06/2016 09:55 | Updated 24 June 2016
ASSOCIATED PRESS

It's difficult to be hopeful this morning. The cloudless blue skies are at odds with the disappointment I'm feeling for our country. Because whilst the people have spoken, and I respect their decision, this referendum has deepened the divisions, borne of years of neglect and alienation, that rend our society. And there's a cruel irony in the fact that the dispossessed who have been part of this people's revolt, will likely be the ones who will be disadvantaged yet further as our economy crashes and more empty promises about a better future are broken. Apparently we live in a post-truth world now, and barely are the results in than the lies are already being conceded, the brave new world exposed. Make no mistake, the establishment might look and sound a little different but they are still in control.

It's difficult to be hopeful this morning but it is our responsibility. Because giving in and giving up is not an option when we still have a climate to protect, workers' rights to uphold and our broken politics, as well as our broken communities to mend. So those progressives who campaigned passionately and positively for a Remain vote must draw strength from the knowledge that there is a broad consensus about what Britain thinks is important- from reclaiming democracy and finding ways to live better side by side, to protecting our public services and building an economy that works for everyone. We must recognise that in our love and our anger, we affirm, rather than deny our fellowship with one another.

We have seen things over the past few days and weeks that have raised difficult questions about who we are as British people. And if we are to take Britain forward rather than back, I believe that the time is right for progressive political parties on the left to unite - and to offer a credible alternative to the unholy trinity that is Farage, Johnson and Gove. If Brexiteers are serious about handing control to the British people, then a proportional voting system has to be a priority. And if we are to set about healing the deep divisions in our society which this referendum has revealed, then we need to urgently build a more representative, inclusive democracy.

We must do so for the sake of the 16-year-old who has just sent me a message that reads "I had to rely on others to make my decision for me. It is now my future which will be destroyed" and for the many others who feel like she does, and who deserve much better.

This is a wakeup call, so let's respond by working to deliver real power to the people via a fairer voting system that enables their voices to be heard. Let's honour it by rejecting xenophobia and the narrative that says you are either us or them. Let's rise to it by pledging to share the economic benefits of migration more fairly.

The wakeup call is ringing loudly - let's hope we all hear it.

Caroline Lucas is the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion

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