After the referendum

By Hilary Burton

23 June 2016


Like many of you, I guess, I felt shocked when I woke up to the news of Britain’s decision to exit the EU and I almost (but not quite) felt sorry for David Cameron as he saw his dreams shatter outside 10 Downing Street.

It’s easy to descend into ‘the people have got it wrong’ or ‘didn’t understand properly’ but this is a political decision and people have come to the vote from very different situations and with different hopes and fears. There is no single ‘right’ viewpoint.

To me the results are yet another example of the Great Yarmouth test. Whilst Cambridge (and the other golden triangle communities) have profound vested interests in research, clinical developments etc) and don’t want to destabilise things it will have come as a shock to them that Great Yarmouth folk ‘could not care less’ and have very little to lose. Until we have a society where the benefits and opportunities are more equally shared we cannot and should not blame or criticise those whose decisions are based on a quite different set of parameters.

What matters now is how we move forward. As citizens we must make sure that there is no lurch to the right and that a coalition of competent, moderate and fair leaders is empowered to create the society we want, including a set of constructive relationships with Europe at many different levels. And at PHG Foundation we should be humble in our opinions and convictions that w e are right (and others are wrong) and redouble our public health efforts to make sure that modern medicine is used quickly, responsibly and fairly for the benefit of all.

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