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Is there anything for Bangladesh to learn from the UK’s recent referendum onits EU membership and its aftermath?

DMr David Cameron was not bound to hold EU referendum. He did this because he felt as his party and country leader being prime minister of the UK that Britishpeople wish to have their says on rapidly changing EU matters. By understanding feelings of the country men he made a promise in last general election that British people would be given a choice by way of a referendum.

As everyone knows the outcome of the referendum was not expected by Mr. Cameron who along with all living prime ministers of the UK urged British people not to vote for leave, but people werejudging the matter by applying their common sense approach, they analysed everythingindependently by applying theirowninherent judging power. They voted for UK to leave the Union defying the calls of all prominent leaders including the president Obama.

We people of Bangladesh can learn these lessons;People should apply their judging power in supporting any particular act of any political party. Unfortunately, people in Bangladesh continue giving their loyalty to a particular party, no matter whatever wrong it does. They betray their conscience and common sense by being advocate and supporter of a wrong doing political party. As a result political party does not care about the mass opinion when it does a particular act,it feels its party people will back it.

Immediately Mr Cameron after the announcement of Brexit’s win confirmed his resignation by October 2016 when his party will have conference and a leader would be elected to replace him.

Mr. Cameron has no legally binding reason to resign following the defeat in EU referendum as he was mandated by the British people 15 months before to run the country for a period of 5 years, but he decided to resign because he felt his calls for stay in EU was not accepted by the British people, which means Britishpeoplemay not have confidence any longer on him. To respect the will of his countrymen he decided to leave the 10 Downing street, he was not told by anyone to leave, rather 84 fellowMPs including Bexit campaign’s main two leaders – Mr Michael Gove and Mr Bros Johnson who is likely next prime minister-wrote urging him to stay and continue to serve the country as the prime minister. There is another reason for Mr Cameroon not to resign which Brexit is won the referendum very narrowly, That means more than 48% of British people wanted Mr. Cameron to win referendum and continue serving the country as Prime minister.

David Cameron confirmed his resignation and confirmed that the will of British people will be respected by being out of EU. In order to do so he is making way for a fresh leader who can start negotiations with EU by invoking article 50 of Lisbon treaty- the mechanism of starting negotiations of divorce from EU.Again he is not bound to implement the result of the EU referendum. The Referendum act 2015 does not say anything about the binding effect of the EU referendum result. This act merely says that the result of the referendum is advisory only, not mandatory. Tostart departure process from EU, UK parliament has to repeal the European Communities Act 1972. Mr Cameron did not wait until that time to try his luck, he confirmed well before about his resignation by October 2016.

There are lessons here to be learned by the country like Bangladesh where the will of country men are not respected, rulers are not concerned about the will/ desire of the people. In last general election in Bangladesh people could not exercise their voting rights properly. Government may argue it was due to the fact that opposition parties’ strike prevented people from coming out to vote and election was in accordance with constitutionalrequirement. In my opinion government may be right by the virtue of the technical point of constitutional necessity, but the constitutional requirement that government has to be elected by the people directly was not met from the point of purpose of its requirement. Government therefore can take a go to validate it by holding a referendum.

The good thing of Bangladesh government is that it has set a target to make the country as a developed one by 2041. But what do we mean by development?.To be a developed country rule of law, access to justice for every one and a fair and credible system of transferring power has to be institutionalised. Only material development cannot make the country as a real developed country. Mere material development cannot sustain in the long run unless ideological development is made.

Ideologicaldevelopment unlike material one cannot be achieved over a short period of time. It is a long process. A culture of respect for each other, tolerance of other opinion, accepting co-existence of other political parties, fighting intellectually with each other to win the hearts of the masspeople, not by wiping out each other have to be exercised in order to build a real developed country.

We have to be developed nation as well. The words developed country and developed nations are related. To be developed nation independence of judiciary in real sense, freedom of press and freedom of speech are fundamental amongothers have to be guaranteed. if people cannot exercise intellectuality by writings, speaking of what they think a   sharp intellectual generations would not be made up, that means slow slowly we will turn into as intellect-void nation and as a result Bangladesh will not become as a developed country.

Politicians and other authorities concerned should paly their parts in order to have a real developed country ensuring Bangladesh is a good place for their kids and grandkids they are leaving behind. Politicians and authority concerned may not be affected right now by the current turmoil in Bangladesh as power is in their hands, but power cannot last for ever and they will not live for ever, their beloved children and grandchildren will be the subjects to such turmoil. They therefore should play their parts to ensure safe country for their children at least.

Developed countries like Britain is a most civilised country where everyone has respect for law and order and obey law no crimes go unpunished. Every citizen is treated with due respect and dignity. David Cameron was born and brought up in such an environment where people automatically turn into civilised, respectful to law and order. Concerned for others, become patriot etc.

Finally I hope Bangladesh will follow UK model democracy to become a real developed county and will care about the will of its people.

Written by Barrister Jahirul Islam