My heart sank in the early hours last Friday morning when it became evident that the UK had voted to leave the EU. I saw it as a personal loss, as in the months leading up to the EU referendum I had campaigned for staying in, putting forward the pro-EU message on the streets of Islington, North London. Obviously, the pro-EU sentiments and the international outlook I witnessed here was sadly not reflected across the UK. It is now evident we live in a more divided country than I have ever felt in my 16 years in this great country. And I have never before in my time here been so worried about what the future for me and many others will look like.
In the days after the vote, the UK has been plunged into political instability and chaos. We have no government and no credible official opposition parties. The future of the UK's two biggest parties hangs in the balance, and it is a big grey unknown that lurks over this country. In recent days we have seen an increase in hate crimes as if the referendum was a vote on immigration rather than a vote on the EU. It seems that somehow it is now acceptable to discriminate against any ethnic or minority group, and this fills me with great shame and disappointment.
But with the UK having turned into an utterly chaotic country within one week, and with no clear guidelines as to what the future might look like, and with none of our supposed political leaders able to give clarification on anything whatsoever, we must evaluate how on earth we arrived at this mess.
Make no doubt about whom I hold personally responsible; David Cameron. He called an entirely unnecessary EU referendum. Let's be clear, he did this for entirely personal reasons, to protect himself and the Conservative party. He did not want to be seen as the Conservative leader who lost control of his party and in order to stop a migration of MPs to UKIP he decided to give what many Eurosceptics in his party wanted: a referendum on UK's membership of the EU.
And look now where it got him. He has had to resign, and will now be remembered as the Prime Minister who failed to keep the UK inside the EU. There is no doubt that Cameron called the referendum, arrogantly thinking that as the Prime Minister of Great Britain he would go to the EU and easily negotiate such a good deal that Brits would vote to stay in the EU. And it is now clear that he is out of touch with the country, failing to grasp the anti-EU sentiment and how to deal with it. Had he known the feelings across the country, he might never have called this referendum. Instead, some of the very few good things he actually achieved, such as gay marriage equality, as well as at least adopting the view that we need to tackle the reality of climate change, might now be undone by the new Tory leadership.
And for the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn, the situation is almost worse. The socialist reluctantly agreed to back the Labour In campaign, and that reluctance was evident throughout the campaign. He edited out pro-EU statements from his speeches, he failed to give a positive case for the EU and he failed to highlight the benefits, and he even decided to take a holiday in the middle of the crucial campaign. I think he got the result he wanted. He actually wanted to leave the EU but pretended that he wanted to stay in, and did as much to derail the In campaign as possible. As a result, as many as 35% of Labour voters voted to leave the EU. And worst of all, as any honourable leader would do when losing an election (Cameron did it), he refused to resign. And when prompted to resign, he still refused, and when 80% of his MP's voted no confidence in him, he stubbornly still refused.
Not only has the UK just exited the EU but is now thrashing about in a situation of political and economic instability. This is largely due to disarray in the Labour and Conservative parties, both of which are swinging to the extremes of left and right. As a Labour member it pains me to say, that if you are disheartened about the UK exiting EU, the best thing you can do now is join the Liberal Democrats. They are the only party that alongside the Scottish National Party (SNP), offers a true coherent positive European vision and agenda