Letter: Referendum - What it was really about

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I am very pleased that our own district voted to stay in.

But let’s face it, the referendum was largely about issues other than the EU and indeed immigration--in particular: gross inequality in our country; how austerity has created winners and losers when it comes to many cities and regions; and the opportunity this represented for people to punish the political elites.

But time to dissect the politics and ponder the political landscape after this momentous decision. Who is fit to run the country both during this period of massive division and after the dust has settled?

First, the Conservatives. I hope most people are seeing now that the referendum was brought about solely because of a Conservative party problem.

They were and still are deeply divided on the EU and Cameron thought it worth the political gamble to have a referendum to keep part of his party content (and also to keep Ukip at bay during the last General Election).

We can see that he lost his bet because he felt he had to resign—at a moment when the right thing to do would have been to stay on and try to sort the mess out. This is very poor leadership, to say the least.

Osborne disappeared for three days when the markets were in turmoil and prominent Tory Brexiters were left at a loss for meaningful words, apparently because they did not think they would win.

It emerges that there was no plan from the Brexit camp or the administration, despite what Osborne has said since, for the situation we now find ourselves in. I find that totally unacceptable.

Who will next lead the Conservative party? There is a need to have a moderate leader and someone who can unite the party and country. (Also, there is a need to have a leader who is not from London or the southeast)

Then there is the issue of competence. Just as the Conservatives have long claimed that the Labour party left the country in a financial mess, it could now be claimed that the Conservatives have left the country in a political mess. But who is going to call them out for this?

Labour are in disarray and engaged in an internecine war. This has been a desperate moment for party politics and has shown it in its worst light.

There needs to be a realignment of the way we do politics, focused on how politicians can best serve the country. It feels like seismic shifts are afoot.

It is difficult to see how what have been the two main political parties in this country for around a century can return to “business as usual” after this crisis is over.

Helen Flynn

Low Lane,

Darley