Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

Reblogging: Great Britain, RIP by Al Lane

The result of the Brexit vote/referendum in the UK has shocked the world and its impact is global and immediate.  The Brits regrettably (and regrettingly?) have decided to leave the EU.  We all suffer because of it. I am disheartened by the way politicians misrepresent the truth and by how people don’t think critically and for themselves anymore. I fear for this right-wing trend to continue everywhere and hope the US, among other countries, will learn from the UK’s “mistake”.

My blogger friend Al is a writer, poet and citizen from the UK, who did an interview with me for his Dirty Dozen series recently.  He put his sentiments in words that make total sense. I have decided to reblog his post from yesterday on Roaming About, because of the insights it presents, and because I stand by his side. My intended bog post for today about visiting the biggest mountain in Massachusetts on Sunday will be postponed until later this week. You can see Al’s original post and comments here.

This great video by British comedian and HBO television host John Oliver also hits the nail on the head…

 

Great Britain, RIP

The vote is done
Leave has won
The lies they spun
Now come undone…

This is a rant post. There is no poetry here. Feel free to move along if this is not your thing, but I am angry, and grieving, for the death of Great Britain, and much of what I thought it stood for. I have weighed up whether to post this at all, as calmer heads are calling for people to put aside differences and move forward positively. A reasonable position, perhaps, but one I cannot yet share.

On Thursday, there was a referendum in my country, my beautiful but flawed country, on whether to remain members of the European Union. The choice was unusually clear for a popular vote – In, or Out. To the EU, Yes, or No.

The campaign was long and draining, with a barrage of lies from Leavers being met with hyperbolae from Remainers. Lies won the day.

Honestly, I never thought the Leave vote would win. To wake up to the news on Friday was a genuine shock – my wife’s first words as I picked up my phone from the bedside were simply :”Don’t look. It’s bad.”

Boy, was she right.

To see that gurning shitweasel Nigel Farage arms aloft in victory nearly made me bring up my breakfast. And that was just the start… Stock market slumping… Pound dropping… Prime Minister falling on his sword (yes, Mr Cameron, this one’s on you)… Opposition in disarray… Immigrants suddenly feeling a lot less safe… Scotland talking of a second independence referendum… Spain wanting to fly their flag over Gibraltar… Calls for Northern Ireland to merge with Ireland…

This vote delivered a fatal blow to the body politic of Great Britain. She may survive a while longer on the operating table, but her days are numbered.

Things will settle. They always do, eventually. A new order will emerge. But why bring this on ourselves in the first place? What have we actually gained?

That clarity of choice was deceptive. Voters rarely get offered a chance to vote “No”. Democracy is based on choosing between the available options, however limited and flawed they are. Accountability is provided through general elections, at least in a broad sense. Where is the accountability, if voters make the wrong call?

To vote “No” was to bring down a government elected just over a year ago, replacing them with a right-wing cabal with no manifesto or mandate, and likely led by someone described as “a sentient haystack”, Boris Johnson (suddenly I can see how Trump becomes your President, my American friends) ;

To vote “No” is to make Scottish independence inevitable, thus ending the Union (this time I’ll be cheering the Scots on) ;

To vote “No” is to side with the racists, the xenophobes, the hate-mongers, the little Englanders with their outdated mindset EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THEM;

To vote “No” is to reject internationalism, the ideals of cooperation and mutual benefits from pooling resources; to choose isolation over integration ;

To vote “No” is to kick the wheels out from under the economy for the next few years, at least…

I could go on. I probably will elsewhere. But what’s the point? If you’re with me, you’re with me. If you voted Leave then you may well be looking at me blankly, not understanding my anger, or perhaps even what you’ve voted for. It’s like shouting at the cat after it shits on the carpet.

If you believed the lies from Leave about this freeing £350m extra a week for the NHS, you’re an idiot. This unravelled within 90 minutes of the referendum result (Farage claiming this was a “mistake”…) Surely some record.

If you believed leaving the EU would “Take back control”, you’re an idiot. When we have to pay into the EU budget to keep access to their trade markets, without any say over policy, congratulate yourself on that control.

If you believed this would reclaim sovereignty from a corrupt and unelected elite, you’re an idiot. Sovereignty has always been ours. The corruption is, too.

If you agree with Michael Gove that you “are sick of experts”, then you’re an idiot. A dangerous one.

If you didn’t even try to understand the arguments and still voted (either way), you’re an idiot.

For the sake of some semblance of balance, if you signed the petition for a second referendum, then you’re also an idiot. The result of the referendum has no legal status, other than telling Parliament what the people want. I don’t see the point of keep holding the referendum until the result is different. Doesn’t feel very democratic to me, however much I’m out of love with the concept of democracy at the moment.

In short, I think the referendum was the greatest act of constitutional and economic vandalism in history.

So yeah, I’m angry, and powerless, and uncertain about the future. (Ironically these characteristics may well have described many Leave voters, pre-Thursday.)

The task of rebuilding the house begins next, but don’t tell me I don’t have a right to be angry today, as the housefire you started smoulders around us. And if you voted Leave, for whatever reason, idiotic or otherwise, please at least try and understand why people like me are angry, rather than dismissing it as a tantrum.

I’ve said my piece. Soap box away. Normal service to be resumed.

Great Britain, RIP

 

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Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/70023venus2009/27780187162

 

What are your thoughts about the Brexit vote? Were you surprised by the results?

18 Comments

  1. I knew it would be close, but I was surprised that the vote went the way it did. I’m still in shock to be honest. There’s definitely a lot of #regretix going on as seen in the number of people who have signed the petition already to have another referendum. I think it’s unlikely that it will happen, but it would be interesting to see how many people would change their vote now that they realize what they’ve done. Great post by Al.

    • Yeah… I had a feeling it would turn the way it did (since this referendum was presented in the first place) and don’t think the petition will make a difference. Funny thing about the petition initially being started by someone who thought the vote would turn out to stay in the EU! In a “sick” way I am curious to see what happens when all these “idiots” get it their way in the world, as in “Look now what you have done and bear the consequences”, but then again… too many people would suffer from it and most Leave voters as well as Trump voters would be totally fine with the way their countries will/would be run, despite some regrets. So weird…

  2. David’s British and we plan to return one day, so Brexit held a lot of interest for us. We knew it was going to be close but expected calmer heads to prevail. To see the break down of the leave vote was disheartening and makes me even more concerned about the upcoming election in the US.

    I thought Al’s post was insightful and right on point — thanks for sharing it.

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    • The Brexit result sure is shaking up the world, Stephanie, and I fear with you about what will happen here in the US as well. I can’t help but think that it all boils down to education… Mark and I will “just” travel or try to move to a country we like (I have an EU passport), but not everyone is this flexible and I understand the sentiment of the people who voted to stay, especially the younger generation. Did the older generation not think about their children/grand children? It truly baffles my mind. Not sure what to hope for in the UK at this point, but it is a country to avoid living in for now, probably. I hope you will have many more exciting cruising years ahead! 🙂

  3. I’m really sad about it, although I admit I still don’t know enough about how it turned out this way. There’s so much anger and hatred and sadness in the world right now. We’re living in frightening times.

    • I totally agree. Too much of that everywhere, for sure. And, (instilled) fear as well. My theory? 1) It all starts with education at a young age, and 2) People are too spoiled right now. They have everything their heart desires and still, they want more, or they want change. Are they bored? Are they selfish? Did you know that the two most googled questions after the results became known were “What does it mean for the UK, now that we leave the EU?” and “What is the EU?” Not kidding. The third one was probably “What is Brexit?” Bottom lime, a lot of people didn’t really know what they were voting for/against or what the consequences would be, and, the politicians got away with all their lies… A sad world, indeed. 🙁

  4. Shocking result that is for sure! The impact will be huge, no doubt of that. Too bad people often vote without realizing the implication of their vote… until its too late.

    • That’s exactly it, Peta. If only people would do their research (or think for themselves), and politicians would get fired when lying… Pretty tough to live an life of integrity, positivism and tolerance when all we see spread over the media is the opposite. What a weird world we live in.

  5. What I found most interesting (disturbing?) was the deluge of European political experts who suddenly appeared in my social media feed (one especially, who tried to argue with me that Ireland was part of the UK). I never knew I was associating with so many *well rounded* individuals. As I was pretty much clueless, I chose to listen to those affected and those who actually lived in the country and continent affected by the decision. From them, I gather this is a disaster, the consequences yet to be understood or seen.

    • Ryan, the amount of “experts” on the internet is amazing, really! 🙂 We especially love it when people tell us how to run our business or pretend they know what they are talking about (not listening to us trying to help them on the phone), while in fact, very obviously, they do not. I value the opinions of people affected by the situation as well, even though the whole world is already feeling the Brexit outcome. Especially, if you have (retirement) funds invested in the stock market… All very sad. I hope the UK will come out of this all right, and the EU as well. And, I hope that it is a lesson for what could happen here in the US if people believe everything they see and read in the media, and refuse to think through it all – the present and the future.

  6. I feel sad, sorry, angry – all sorts of things. It seems clear that the Brexiteers did not expect to win and had not planned for it, which basically leaves us up sh*t creek without a paddle. I’m also fearful at the increase in racist incidents since the vote. Finally, I feel proud that Scotland voted overwhelming to remain and that our First Minister seems to be the only politician showing dignified leadership throughout this whole, sorry mess.

    • Oh, Anabel. I so hope that there is a “second chance” for the UK somehow, although that would not be very democratic. What a pickle! A referendum is usually to get the opinions of the citizens, so I guess there is still a chance that parliament will decide to remain in the EU. I am proud of Scotland as well and am glad that is where you are living. When you look all around you in the world, violence, hate and displeasure seem to consume a lot of people, while, in fact they are living a good life! Narrow mindedness is one of those personality traits I have a problem with. And, the fact that people don’t appreciate what they have or realize that they are so much better off than other cultures and nations. Sorry for the rant!

      • To be fair, I think many of those who voted out didn’t have a lot and were conned into thinking that would change at a stroke – that fewer immigrants = more jobs = more money. That’s not going to happen which will add severe disappointment to the toxic mix we have already. Finding it hard to be optimistic at the moment!

  7. Shocking result. I fear that critical thinking skills will become a thing of the past… much better to make important decisions based on emotion, speculation, and hyperbole.

    • I love your sarcasm, Janis. Let’s just hope this will not be the global trend and that the whole UK conundrum encourages critical thinking again.

  8. I am appalled Liesbet. Although I’m a Brit, I couldn’t vote as I’ve lived too long outside the UK. I feel ashamed to be British, and it’s given me a push towards taking Belgian nationality. Yet at the same time, until it’s set in motion, I still hold a (maybe stupid) glimmer of hope that the new UK government will come to its senses and refuse to take it further. Unfortunately, I lost confidence in the new prime minister when she appointed the oaf Johnson as Foreign Secretary.

    • I am totally with you. I held hopes that parliament would revoke the results (especially based on how many “leave” people regretted their vote) and use their senses, but now, I think the glimmer is indeed gone. I hope the British people (many our friends) will be able to manage their new economic future and that violence and hatred will not be a result of the new political tendency everywhere.

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