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
Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/70023venus2009/27780187162
What are your thoughts about the Brexit vote? Were you surprised by the results?