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

83 thoughts on “Great Britain, RIP

  1. Your Brexit vote, made me shudder and think oh my, Donald Trump could very well be my next President. The world is a very scary place. Yet, I’m still holding out hope that the American populus will come to its senses before the vote in November. Otherwise, the words President Trump will leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I’ve been ranting, in much the same tone, for the past two days.
    The far right have done a masterly job on the poor, giving them their five minutes of fame in the ballot box – five minutes that has damaged Britain beyond measure, and for generations to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s hard to believe that such a major step could be governed by a popular vote that wasn’t even overwhelmingly in favour…the country is clearly divided. I share your concerns … Dividing up into sovereign little realms is not the way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re right to let go in whatever way you need to, Al. Your blog, your rant. I’ll leave you to go through the 7 stages if grief in your own way. I’m determined to move on as quickly as I can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Geoff. I did even think about structuring this post as the stages of grief (the petition for a second referendum an example of denial). Acceptance will come in the end, as the reality of making things work and getting along will take over

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The far right only has its day when the actual powers that be don’t do their job right. There are loads of things wrong with the EU – but Cameron’s job was to fix them, not pass the buck down the line. Referendums seem to be the modern politician’s weapon of choice – pass on the responsibility. It’s just too sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This should never have been a referendum issue – Cameron only promised that to appease the rabid right of his own party. If he’d squeaked a win for Remain, he could perhaps have shuffled off with a reasonable legacy for a Tory… not now

      Like

    • There’s lots of fear about, and I understand that. The modern, complex world does not fit easily with a representative democracy model, and many people feel disenfranchised and powerless

      Liked by 1 person

        • We perhaps have the opposite problem here, with the BBC trying desperately to stay impartial and neutral… this sometimes means giving equal weight to experts with non-experts, because there isn’t actually a second side to the argument. We saw this with the referendum debate

          Liked by 1 person

          • No easy answers. I don’t think the media does us any favors by being neutral regarding what is fact and fiction. To me, good journalism should be about digging for and reporting the truth, even when it’s nuanced or appears to take sides (sigh).

            Liked by 1 person

            • I agree… part of the problem here is that the BBC has been attacked for years by the Tory Party for bias, and they’ve been trying to shut it down/drastically reform it, hence what I would call “over-cautiousness” in their reporting

              Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel like I’ve been actually physically robbed of something precious, by someone who simply doesn’t understand it. As an EU citizen I have rights and privileges that some other person wants to take off me.
    Nothing will appear to change on a day-to-day level for the next five or ten years. There will still be immigrants, we will still trade with the world. But… we will be financially and culturally poorer than if we stayed in. And the UK is disintegrating, becoming less and less attractive to foreign investment. So what the hell have we gained?
    David Cameron, you’re a twat. Calling a referendum on a subject that people don’t understand, just to get elected (and Christ-on-a-bike, political parties abandon manifesto promises all the time, why stick to this one?), and then fail to ensure that any change needed a minimum of 66% majority… Just mind-boggling ineptitude. Never assume you’ll win a referendum against flag-waving ‘patriots’, no matter how stupid their argument. Gah.

    Liked by 2 people

      • If it had been in the rules from the outset, and Leave had still won, I would still be angry and appalled but it wouldn’t have left the country split practically 50-50 and at each others’ throats. Plus, less likely to have had a Leave win in the first place.
        I mean, bloody hell, to get women accepted as members at a sodding golf course requires 66% – why is that harder to achieve than wrecking a country?

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I have an Australian acquaintance who was telling me she thinks this move will be beneficial as far as trade goes because of lesser taxes, etc. I hope I’m saying what she said correctly and hoping you can explain that to me? I would have asked her, but it was a card playing evening and she’s rather brusque if questioned so I didn’t want to ask…

    Liked by 1 person

              • Mark Carney has been through the Quebec Separation Referendum and knows how a referendum splits families and communities, let alone communities and countries. Fore-warned is fore-armed. Having suffered through that referendum (Quebec Separation), and having worked with students on both sides, I am oh so aware of the emotions and the divisions involved. The UK has a chance at a sober second thought on what was, more than anything, in my opinion, a protest against the current economic and political situation, not only in the UK, but also in Europe, and in the Western World. I see the UK as world leaders … where it goes from here will be very interesting. This is the beginning … not the end. My advice: Be bold batsman: bash bouncing balls bravely.

                Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m proud of England. You have chosen sovereignty over a bank cartel in Brussels. You have chosen self determination, and have chosen to be leaders in the world as you were in the past. Others will follow your bravery.

    Like

  9. It made me so proud as an American to watch Trump drag the press corps around from golf hole to golf hole for more pontificating from the little hand tyrant. Not. Our only saving grace is that the bitter old white men dreaming back to the “good old days” make up a smaller portion of the electorate.

    Rule Britannia!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonderful stuff Al. As I said to you earlier Murdoch the evil was a key player in all this, he finds the lowest common denominator then digs deeper into the mire of lies, and filth. Is there any work going in Scotland for you?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I feel your pain, anger and frustration, Al. You expressed your feelings and reality very well. I am disheartened by what happened in the UK and fear for the rest of the world. I still have a hard time believing Trump can make it here in the US, but then again, after what happened in your country, everything seems possible. Misrepresentations combined with stupidity and a pack animal mentality is what seems to work these days. Regret comes too late. Why did people not inform themselves better???

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many did, and made a choice that I find unbelievable, but that is their right. For others, years of right-wing demonisation of “immigrants” as the cause of all our problems (from the Tory government as well as much of the popular press) has obviously soaked into the psyche

      Like

  12. Reblogged this on Roaming About and commented:
    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 gives, 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Reblogging: Great Britain, RIP by Al Lane – Roaming About

  14. This is happening here in the U.S. and has been for several years. This next election is going to be a humdinger. I am bracing myself for the results, either way the people lose. So here across the pond and all over the world this is happening. The big question for me is. Where in Gods name is this world going. The only answer I can come up with is; Hell in a handbag.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. In retrospect, considering that everyone of the leaders who backed the Brexit vote has bailed on their party, I have to believe that they never thought they would win the vote, they intended the entire enterprise as an act of political theater and they planned to use their loss to spend the political capitol saying “I told you so,” and “If only you have bailed on the EU” afterwards. Unfortunately for them, too many people believed the bullshit they were selling and they had nothing to deliver for their promises, so they bailed and left the voters with the bill.

    Basically it was a reverse bluff at the poker table and never believed the voters would fold on them.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Well, I finally caught up with this post! It’s been at the back of my mind ever since you mentioned it in your comment under my own ‘despairing’ brexit post…it’s taken a while but I got there in the end 🙂
    I guess I don’t have to tell you I agree with all of this, it’s been a while now and we’ve all calmed down…but I am still incredibly disappointed with this turn of event. I still find it hard to believe it’s happened at all, I find it hard to comprehend what a mess the whole pre and post referendum were. I get the feeling a lot of people have no idea even now what they voted for. Oh well, it’s done now, we can only get on with it.
    Have a nice day, it actually happens to be summer at the moment and we all know that British summers only last a couple of weeks 😉 lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, the sun’s sort of shining, so that’s a win! I completely agree about the whole post-Brexit feeling. It’s shaken by feelings about democracy, to be blunt. Even to this day, I fail to see the big pull of Brexit

      Like

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