May I, on behalf of the near-half of the UK who voted Remain, plead with the European Union’s political leaders not to be eager in their demands for a swift end to Britain’s stay in the EU?
To begin with, the referendum itself was flawed constitutionally. As much as I admire and respect Paul Mason’s views (Britain is not a rainy, fascist island… Guardian: 25/06/2016), I cannot agree with him on the legality of the referendum result. A margin of 52% to 48% on a 72% turn out should not be allowed to dictate and steer an event with such profound and impactful possibilities.
Most of my friends voted Remain and seethed at the incredulous injustice and blatant stupidity of the result while Adam was being interviewed on the BBC and stating he supported Leave but was now “worried”. Which begs the question: how many more ‘Adams’ are out there?
As I write, a petition raised calling for a 60-40% split on a 75% vote rule has attracted nearly 3 million signatures (by Sunday morning), and as the UK government’s website states, this petition should be debated in the House. Perhaps Mr Cameron should have considered this ‘rule’ when calling the referendum in the first place.
The post-referendum economic reality is stark. Washington has re-stated that the UK would slip to the “back of the queue” in new trade negotiations and Moody’s has placed a negative credit rating on us. A trader friend of mine told me the recent drop in the pound’s value against the dollar was nothing compared to what will happen.
Boris Johnson stated that there is “no need for haste,” in triggering article 50. Certainly not when the country faces an uncertain future. Perhaps Mr Johnson wants to see how the leaves lie now the tree’s been shook. Perhaps there’s a way back down the ladder after all?
Most of my colleagues voted Leave. That was clever. The company we work for just happens to be owned by a corporation based in Paris. True, they could set up a regional HQ in the UK (or whatever’s left). But why go through all that effort for what is essentially a failing business? It might be easier to sell up their spade-and-pick-axe-handle racket, and move on. Then where would we be?
And where would I be? At my time of life I would find it difficult to even replace the low-paid drudgery I so lovingly endure, much less get “something better”. However, I won’t be alone. With rising unemployment from the economic fall-out the neoliberals in the Tory government will not only see this as an opportunity, but also out of necessity be required to drive wages down further and force workers to work longer hours. This may be the only way they would attract inward investment.
It seems the blame for Brexit’s win is being piled on “traditional Labour supporters”. The working class. The uneducated, who are constantly and consistently failed by an Ofsted-motivated education system. That social demographic squeezed tightly by austerity, and crushed by lack of opportunity and dwindling hope and who believe politicians have abandoned them.
These “traditional Labour supporters” have been fed stories of ‘foreigners’ taking their jobs, their homes, their wives (probably), while simultaneously getting hand-outs from a PC-corrupted state (yeah! Go figure…). From the point of hopelessness comes fear. From fear grows hate. And that hate has been encouraged towards ‘foreigners’.
The real causes in this blame-culture land of ours must be the atomisation of society where cohesive communities have been torn apart and replaced by empty shells with low-paid, de-skilled employment. The old cadres trade unionists, of thinkers and discussers, have gone and been replaced by soulless social media and news outlets fuelled by vitriol, xenophobia and Islamophobia.
Since the cessation of referendum hostilities and the UK’s entry into a state of near civil war, many of the hollow promises of the prominent Leave politicians that attracted that disillusioned demographic have proved to be duplicitous drugs. There will none of £350m per week made available to the NHS, for example.
The referendum has created political turmoil for the major parties here. The Prime Minister has resigned and Jeremy Corbyn MP is facing a challenge to his leadership of the Labour Party. Neither, I suspect, were totally enamoured by Britain’s EU membership and the lack-lustre Remain campaign seems to bare that out.
But there is a chance. Maybe someone can emerge from this maelstrom, particularly on the ‘left’, who can show leadership and, backed by a population eager to see their country not to go the way of Yugoslavia, call a halt to this coasting calamitous chaos.
So, hold your fire Mr Juncker, et al, and give us time. As the reality of a post-Europe dawn shines on blinded eyes, maybe a new mood can foster a desire to re-visit past mistakes, and a re-run of the referendum may see a different outcome. There’s always hope, Mr Juncker. There’s always hope.