A lot has been said on my Twitter about the EU Referendum result and so, without flooding it further, I thought I’d write a blog…
Most of you know I’m incredibly upset about the result, and what it means for Britain. For me, it’s not time yet to just forget what’s happened. The wounds are still raw. We have a nation divided by this result, and some are already regretting their ‘leave’ vote within 24 hours of the result. And it’s frustrating – for many of us on the ‘remain’ side we could see through the politicians, but it feels some of the public couldn’t. Perhaps on both sides we were caught up in a hysteria.
Let’s look at what has happened in the past 24 hours.
All of this talk about David Cameron still being the man in charge, he isn’t. He won’t be implementing Brexit in October, he has barely control over his party now. After six years of wanting to see the back of the Prime Minister, I fear we’ll end up with something worse come October. The posh boys are rallying together to take over the country, we’ll be ruled by a new (possibly undemocratic) elite. Nigel Farage could even end up in the government through the backdoor. The man who unveiled posters over the past few weeks reminiscent of 1930s propaganda, and who talked about no one getting shot during the referendum campaign without irony.
It only took him two hours after the result to claim the NHS would not benefit from the £350m per week so many believed it would benefit from, a fact that became so central to the Leave camp’s campaign. He said it was “a mistake”.
With regards to immigration, I suppose I’m one of those people some claim that just doesn’t get the anger. The problems that go on in this country, they’re not the faults of immigration or the European Union, they’re the fault of governments. The crash was the fault of greedy bankers. I was accused of not caring because I own my own home – I don’t and I don’t blame immigrants for that fact. However, those who treated this as a referendum on immigration are going to be very disappointed. An Australian points based system isn’t going to solve any perceived problems, it may even increase immigration. High profile Tory Brexiter Daniel Hannan told Newsnight within 24 hours of the vote the public had misunderstood what they were intending. “We never said there was going to be some radical decline” he said.
Scotland is already talking about another referendum, meaning David Cameron will have not only presided over a break up of the European Union, but that of the United Kingdom too. Northern Ireland could reunite with Ireland and leave us too.
The Leave campaign didn’t want to listen to experts, they believed they had some sort of agenda. So their words on the economy were not heeded. But on the day of the result billions have been wiped off pensions and ISAs. The pound has suffered the largest currency depreciation of any currency ever. We’ve lost more money in a day than we spent on the EU in nearly a decade.
It’s an ugly picture.
The EU referendum seemed to get those voting who previously had not. They may have believed if they voted with a pencil their marks would be rubbed out, or that MI5 had some control over the election, but I can’t belittle them for doing what us in politics have been urging them to do for a long time. My main concern is these people who have put their trust in the result will find the lies are already unraveling.
From my own perspective, I genuinely thought in the last few days that this was going to be won by ‘remain’. I was told by one ‘outter’ that I’d spent too much time in a social media bubble. While I do live my life moaning on Twitter, I believe that sentiment is untrue. I’m all too aware of the mistakes of believing the trends on Twitter (it happened with Ed Miliband a year ago). I had spent four months in North Norfolk campaigning for a remain vote – spending my Saturday mornings running street stalls, leafleting ahead of the vote, and talking to so many who were undecided yet were swaying to the remain camp. Apathetic young people were actually going to vote. It was the real world, not Twitter, that made it harder to stomach.
Now the hysteria that Brexit would lead to an Armageddon was never going to ring true, but the main prophecies are coming true. The political uncertainty means the news will be filled with stories about both Tory and Labour infighting, and no doubt we’re heading to a General Election before the end of the year. The country is so divided, not by left or right politics, but by issues far more complicated. Bigger divides between age groups, views on immigration, and whether we want to be inward looking Little England or outward looking Great Britain. We now live in a country that is anti-intellectualism (at least with regards to politics) where their advice is ignored. It is hard to work out how this will all pan out. Anything now seems possible in the US elections too, when we once laughed off the threat of Trump.
On the plus side, we’ve made it through the referendum campaign. Who thought it would ever end? We’re now also just six months to the day from Christmas. Hopefully by then we’ll have worked out what the hell we’re going to do when we finally leave…