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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

A shock to the system

June 23rd 2016 will be more than a footnote in history. At least in Britain it will be remembered as the day when a majority of the British voting public stuck two fingers in the air to the leaders of all political parties - save one. Having been given the rarest of chances to exercise their opinion in a binding national referendum on an all embracing issue - they took it.

The faultlines between the capital and its environs and the rest of England were laid bare as far as faith in the UK government and its policies were concerned. Every voting district in Lancashire overwhelmingly determined to exit the European Union - from the University cities of Lancaster and Preston, to the rural areas of the Fylde and Wyre - and of course Blackpool. Voters of all ages and political leanings placed their crosses in the Box marked 'LEAVE'. I was witness to the resulting upset in Blackpool when by a factor of over two to one - the voting papers piled up in the Exit boxes. Attending the Blackpool Count as an official observer for the 'Leave' campaign brought home on a memorable night the power of real democracy.

Not only in Britain but across Europe the fundamental questions of the viability of the political construct which has gradually emerged from those bland offices in Brussels over the past ten years - have now been put to the test and found wanting. When the political theorists, academics, corporate lobbyists and the wealthy get control or overriding influence over the levers of real power - there is bound to be an unhappy ending in a world where the rich get far richer and the rest of us struggle even more with receding opportunities.

Thus the familiar faces on our television screens now struggle to rationalise the outcome of the UK Referendum - seemingly bewildered at what they woke up to on Friday morning. A morning which obliged the Prime Minister to resign in short order and the Leader of HM Opposition to face a challenge to his competence next week. Nothing will ever be the same again in British politics - for better or for worse. In Blackpool where the details of the tram extension have finally been placed on display and approved by the Labour controlled Council this week - there is indeed a sea change in the air (no pun intended). Local Parties are examining their respective tea leaves to divine the immediate future and the probability of a General Election in which a still angry electorate will remain unwilling to be spoon fed the same mantra as defined by a Westminster elite and corporate lobbyists.

Interesting times ahead for all of us, as well as our local transport system !

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