Tom Richmond: Keep calm and carry on after Britain's wake-up call to the world

NOW listen to the British people '“ and put in place the building blocks that enable Britain to extricate itself from the European Union and secure the country's economic future as a proud and sovereign country fully in charge of its future destiny.

What now for David Cameron and Boris Johnson?

This is what the electorate have decided. Defying decades of political convention, and ignoring the expert advice of everyone from world leaders to global economists, they clearly have far more faith in the UK’s ability to punch above its weight than their own elected leaders.

And this is what they not only expect but have a right to expect after constitutional historians indicated this morning that the sovereignty of the British people takes precedence over the sovereignty of Parliament where a majority of MPs were in favour of the status quo.

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This should not be a day of retribution and reprisals, although it remains to be seen whether David Cameron and George Osborne have sufficient authority and trust to remain in office after their Remain recommendation was rejected, but acknowledging and respecting the will of the people after the UK voted to go it alone 41 years after joining the then EEC, the forerunner to the EU.

Perhaps the words of Boris Johnson in Leeds, on the first weekend of campaigning, were the most prophetic of all. The former London mayor, and the face of the Brexit campaign, stressed that his argument was not with Europe – he had the greatest respect and admiration for its people – but an over-bloated European Union bureaucracy which had become too meddlesome, too powerful and too undemocratic for its own good.

Two months later, and after it became clear that the EU was proving to be a hindrance rather than a help to domestic issues like the North’s flood defences and the future UK steel industry, Mr Johnson has been proven right after the Leave campaign, lacklustre throughout, failed to make a positive case for the status quo and instead resorted to desperate scare tactics that were unbecoming of the Chancellor in particular.

This is not just a wake-up call for the Government. It is also a disastrous result for a London-centric Labour party which has also been punished by working class voters across the North whose legitimate and genuine concerns on migration, housing and jobs were ignored because globalisation, the mass movement of people, was not working for them.

It’s a wake-up call for the European Union after Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, effectively sealed the outcome of the referendum on Wednesday when he said Britain would not get a better offer than the grudging crumbs given to Mr Cameron during February’s renegotiation and to ‘take it or leave it’. Talk about arrogance. His bluff has been called and the whole concept of European integration is in peril.

And it is a wake-up call for the rest of the world. As Donald Trump’s insurgency continues to demonstrate in the most polarising US presidential election in history, electorates can no longer be taken for granted. They are prepared to trust their own instincts rather than the supposedly reputable economic experts who failed to foresee the 2007-08 global banking collapse.

Yet, while this is without doubt one of the greatest political and economic challenges to face the UK since 1945, some perspective is also required as the financial markets plunge into freefall: Keep calm – and carry on.

Yes, it is a short-term crisis but this momentous decision also offers a long-term opportunity for Great Britain plc, still the fifth largest economy in the world, to build new trading alliances and prove that it can not only survive, but also prosper on its own two feet, after the real everyday experts – the people - spoke and shook the political establishment to its foundations.