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Mary Kaldor is Professor of Global Governance at the London School of Economics and Political Science and author of ‘New and Old wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era’ 3rd edition, 2012.
This article was first published on opendemocracy.net on 29th of June 2016.
It is a mistake to assume that the Brexit decision results from a democratic process. The only way to overcome the polarisation and division is through a genuinely democratic process.
The vote to leave Europe seems to have set off a spate of events spinning in different and dangerous directions. The two main political parties are falling apart. Scottish politicians are already a tabling a second referendum on the independence of Scotland. Sinn Fein politicians are talking about a referendum on a united Ireland. European leaders are calling for haste in separating Britain from the rest of Europe – a haste that will not insulate them from what has happened in Britain and indeed may have the opposite consequences from what they intended.
To me, it feels like the disintegration of Yugoslavia or the events that led to the First World War, where every wrong step contributed to the next wrong step. No-one can assume that these processes of disentanglement will be amicable or smooth. Already hate crime is on the rise in Britain.