So I have had a week to get over the shock and digest the media new and old. I still don’t feel positive. I am not going to talk about what this result means for the UK’s relationship with Europe there is a more pressing and fundamental problem that must be addressed. The Uk’s relationship with itself. It is possible that by the time this has all shaken out in 5 to 10 years there is no longer a United Kingdom. We lost an Empire, we could easily lose the separate nation states, nothing is guaranteed here. Britain has some deep problems that need to be dealt with. Trying to avoid the self reinforcing bubble of social media I can see that both sides have a great deal of animosity. While us remainers are still computing how anyone can still think this was a good idea ( we are no longer the 5th largest economy in the world…. surprise ), those in the majority are still playing the victim card and accuse us of being spoilt elitist bad losers. I’m not. I’m just seriously worried, especially as those who brought us here seem to have no idea what they actually wanted, with many of them being surprised that the predictions of so called ‘project fear’ are coming true. There can be no second referendum I don’t think Europe wants us any more. Just like passengers on a white water raft there is no jumping off, for better or worse we are stuck with each other.
It is apparent that large swathes of those who voted to leave did so because they thought immigration was a problem. It’s not surprising really when they have been told this every day for years and years, anybody who has tried to challenge this has been told that they are belittling peoples justified fears and they are part of the liberal elite. I don’t think this follows, liberal I may be but, I could never be considered elite. You should see how badly paid I am. It was a narrative that suited many in Westminster who wanted to score easy points and justify unpopular decisions without the need to do any difficult explaining. They are now stuck with the problem of selling immigration back to the public they have whipped up into a frenzy. If they had been honest from the start we would not be in this mess so … slow hand clap for leaving it too late you twats.
Not all of those who wanted to leave did so because of immigration, some had a real understanding that this was not the problem. Many spoke about lack of control, about unelected Eurocrats, not realising that they had been electing the people who appoint the beurocracy in the same way as they do in the UK. Whenever I tried to point this out to people I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about and was viewed with suspicion. Ears are shut and mental walls come down. All of this could have been explained to the public over the last 10 years but bollocks, that might have been a bit hard. The people in Westminster were quite prepared to hide behind European politics, and nothing makes people rally round your cause like a common enemy. It’s easy, why explain and do what you are supposed to do as a politician when you can cop out for an easy life. Underlying both of these is another reason people voted to leave, a general discontent with the political class in this country and, that is why it took me so long to make up my mind on this before the vote.
Yes, up until about 2 or 3 weeks before this referendum I was seriously undecided, I do not like the way economics seems to be the only thing to be considered in politics nowadays, and I do not like the way that politicians of all stripes have forgotten that their job is to lead. Listening to focus groups and feeding what they tell you back to the public to gain power is easy sure, but it is a quick race to the bottom. At best it is disengenous at worst as we have seen divisive especially when you have an altogether different agenda. The free market is a new religion we must all worship and it’s priests are the, the bankers and business men who generate the capital, with ‘it’s the economy stupid’ as it’s creed. There is a huge divide which is getting worse between the haves and the have nots in this country and, I am sure that the upset I feel about this is one of the reasons we are where we are. This is what we have to fix and come to terms with before we can consider what our new relationship with Europe is going to be like. Behind immigration and a perceived lack of control is a deep and brooding sense of injustice.
So we all have a choice here, possibly a bigger choice than the referendum. Potentially the biggest choice since the end of the 2nd World War. Unfortunately those in Westminster still seem to be concerned about scoring points and their own internal power games while the country falls apart around them. It’s almost as if a burglar walked into the Westminster living room and started taking stuff. Instead of stopping them, the inhabitants of Westminster start arguing about who let the burglar in. They need to pay some bloody attention because there is one character who has been driving this agenda for a long time, nurturing and manipulating that sense of powerlessness and injustice. Time will tell but I don’t think UKIP is going anywhere and the last 20 years of their project fear will continue.
We have a choice, we can go with a vision of the future that suits the right wing. A country where if you have enough money and power you can have a very comfortable life, but if you have nothing it is almost impossible to climb your way out of a crappy worklife, shitty housing and poor education. Where if you are unhappy about your position it is made easy to sit back wallow in your misery and blame others for failings you have created. The other option is to build a country where people feel more equal. Where they feel they have real opportunities and a stake in the society that they live in, a tribute to the people who built a welfare state after winning the last World War. Yes it is a hell of a lot harder and attitudes will have to change but I really thought we were up for a challenge.
Before we can decide though we have to be honest. The leavers are going to have to acknowledge that whatever future we build it is not going to be the one that their leaders told them they would get. They also need to accept that they may have opened a particularly nasty Pandoras box allowing some very unpleasant people to give vent to frankly unpalatable opinions. When someone is racist it is not up to us in the remain camp to police them, we tried and failed, it is up to those of you who voted leave to make the world understand they do not share your values. Cheap and nasty propaganda is just that, and the project fear that has been conducted for the last 20 years must be abandoned. We on the remain side must understand that many people had reasons they believed justified leaving Europe. They are not racists and bigots and they will prove to you they are not by challenging those who pretend to speak for them. We as a nation have made a choice and we must live with it and try to understand what we have been told. The past is dead, the Empire has gone, the Commonwealth a faded shadow of past glory. We have now said goodbye to more of our power and influence in the world. The future lies before us, it can be petty nasty and divisive leaving us all ultimately poorer, or we can build the fairer more just society that the War generation believed they were fighting for.