Now for Britain's next big task: 'Uniting with itself'

© Toby Melville
The decision to leave the EU has divided the country almost down the middle with such a campaign of fear and hatred that it is going to be difficult to heal those deep rifts, Salman Shaheen, editor-in-chief of the World Weekly news site, told RT.

Surprisingly, perhaps, it was the young who voted in greater numbers for Britain to remain in the European Union, while the older generation opted for the country to go it alone.

RT: Many in the Remain camp woke up to find out their hopes for the country's future within the block has been shattered. This is almost half of the country's population. Will it be possible to overcome this divide?

Salman Shaheen: I shall not mince my words. First of all, I think this is the biggest political disaster of my lifetime. It is a disaster for the economy, it is a disaster for workers’ rights, it is a disaster for migrants’ rights. And it has divided the country almost down the middle. And there’s been such a campaign of fear and hatred whipped up around it that yes, it is going to be difficult to heal those rifts. Now it appears that we are not going to be united with Europe anymore. The next task for Britain is to unite with itself.

RT: 75 percent of young people voted to remain, but the older generations won the day. Does Britain face a bitter demographic split now?

SS: I certainly know from a lot of young peoples’ posts on social media I’ve seen, they are blaming the older generation for making this choice for them that the younger people are going to have to – to put it bluntly - live with it a lot longer. This is the future of the country that’s being decided for generations to come.

RT: The Brexit also sent shock waves across the financial markets, with the pound plummeting. Is that an over-reaction? Britain's still one of the world's biggest economies?

SS: I can’t see many positives in immediate situation. The markets reacted exactly as you would expect them to. All the leading economists were all lined up behind the Remain camp because simply they were right. Brexit is bad for the British economy.

RT: The Financial Times described the vote as the most-damaging blow for the liberal democratic international order since World War Two. Is it?

SS: It is a serious setback for the European project and for a liberal democratic international order. The European Union let’s remember is founded from the ashes of World War II to bring a continent together in peace and harmony. And this is the first major step back from that that we’ve seen. This has never happened before. No country has ever left the EU before. We are certainly in uncharted territory now… Hopefully we will not be drifting into irrelevance.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.