So, the people of Great Britain have spoken. They have voted in favour of leaving the European Union. A decision that came as a surprise to many, especially to the Union itself it seems, with messages of huge distress in the headquarters in Brussels.

I have to admit that I am not all that surprised, it’s been in the cards, and what seems to have started as a little turmoil in the political ranks ended up as a referendum where the people spoke their minds.

I’ve read a lot of feedback on the matter since the final count was official, and I’ve seen mentions that such matters should not be open for a public vote but left to people better fit. What a load of nonsense – last time I checked, we lived in a democracy and the cornerstone of a democracy is that it’s the majority that decides.

In this case, the majority of the people of Great Britain have said that they are not happy with their current relationship with the Union. Whenever you are in a broken relationship, you can either make the effort to make it worth it if you feel it’s worth saving, or you cut your ties and losses and move on, and that’s what Britain has done now.

The idea of the European Union was great back when it was born, but over the years it has become a powerhouse where only power and money seem to matter, and the needs of the common man seem to be of lesser importance. Corporate greed seems to be the governing factor, and tons of money is spent by enterprises around the world to sway the minds of those in power, by pouring sweet honey into their ears.

This honey is poured, alongside mountains of money, in clandestine meetings and utter secrecy, as they are removing basic democratic rights and removing the power from the people over to major corporations. TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) has had most of its meetings behind closed doors, and there is little transparency on the matters discussed. It’s only been through the words of whistle-blowers and the likes that the public has been made aware of what goes on in these meetings.

When you live in a democratic community, you vote for people whom you want to take care of your needs and rights, but when you see that they end up more or less as tools for the already rich and powerful, the common man ends up infuriated. Please, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the rich nor am I jealous, I’m more than happy with what I have – I have far more than many people, but I do not care for rights being taken away to ensure that corporate greed thrives and flourishes.

Many fear that Britain will leave a huge wake of economic unrest, and yes, in the weeks to come we will see fear wreaking havoc on the international markets, and companies in the UK with ties to the rest of Europe being uncertain about their futures. However, what many people seem to forget is that the process to leave the Union is not something that is done overnight.

Britain is still a member of EEA (The European Economic Area), and the British government I’m sure will do its very best to ensure that trade with Europe won’t suffer too badly because of them leaving the Union. The world is a lot smaller now than it was once the Union was born, and ties already established are often not broken overnight.

There will be a process for all involved parties to adjust to a new reality, and change isn’t a bad thing, change is necessary. The people of Britain have sent out a clear message to the rest of Europe, and the world for that matter, that they are not happy about the state of the Union, and for that, they have my utmost respect. Wanting change is one thing, working to change things takes courage.

I just hope that the ones in power don’t use the exit from the Union as an excuse to instil fear into the public, because if they do, the global economy will suffer greatly with the common man ultimately ending up as the victim. I hope they all act responsibly, and I also hope that the rest of the world doesn’t consider the people of Britain as selfish.

The only thing that leaves an uneasy taste in my mouth in all of this, is the rhetoric used by some of the people involved in the movement against the EU. One name comes to mind especially, namely, Nigel Farage of the UKIP (UK Independence Party), whose rhetoric is filled with what I only consider as mild hostility, alienation and mongering for trouble. It sends shivers down my spine when I hear the word “war” used in the context of a political movement to move out of a political and economic union.

It’s not a war, it’s a political process, and it’s what democracy is all about.

Anyway, I tip my hat to Great Britain for their courage and for sending a loud and clear message.

There is something in the wind – for the times they are a-changin’!

By Jostein Elvaker Haande

"A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular" - Adlai Stevenson

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