Blog: Brexit won, Britain is leaving the EU, now what?

 

The EU referendum was an emotive campaign, based not on facts but on emotions, half-truths, hyperbole, and fear. I’ll try not to fall into that trap here.

But the truth is I am scared because the pound has fallen by record levels, the country’s credit rating has been downgraded from stable to negative, Scotland is making another bid for independence (who can blame them?), hardline Irish republicans are talking borders again, stocks in UK and Europe plunged…I could go on.

I don’t want Britain to face more hardship and be more divided or to lose the United Kingdom.

Maybe I’m being dramatic as I said I wouldn’t be.

But it’s hard to swallow, especially because Brexiters are asking me to accept and embrace change when that is exactly what many of them don’t want to do themselves.

Brookings quote

Some Brexiters don’t want to accept immigration and globalisation, which are both facts of the world we live in. Some Brexiters don’t want to accept that the world looks and works in a very different way than it used to.

Age chart

Some it appears voted for this reason, the older generation perhaps, but many voted as revolt against politics, as a protest, because they have had enough.

As this Guardian article ‘The 10 Faces Behind Brexit’ shows these people were both on the Left and Right of politics.

You know, I understand Brexiters complaints, their disillusionment, their fear. I felt very disillusioned at the last general election. I hadn’t had a pay rise in three years and I was on a very low wage, I felt Britain had become very unfair economically, I was fed up of waiting so long for a doctor’s appointment, I was sad to see people eating from food banks, sad to see some people I knew who really needed social housing to struggle to find any. I struggled to make ends meet in London and lived in my overdraft. I still feel this way about most of these issues and I can only imagine it’s worse ‘up North’.

Britain should be better, more prosperous, with more jobs, less NHS waiting times, fairer. We are all fed up, perhaps for different reasons. BUT I still don’t understand, no matter how I try, and I’ve really tried, it’s consumed me, to see the other sides’ point of view – how leaving the EU changes any of this? Please someone make it clear.

I understand some people wanted to say fuck you to the politicians – I do to – but this vote did not do that. It was momentary satisfaction for years of pain. Like cheating on your partner to get back at them.It has handed government over to more far-right people, like Michael Gove, who has already tried repeatedly, to make people’s lives harder. (I watched as my husband worked 70 hours a week for minimal pay as a new teacher because of his reforms.)

As Caroline Lucas says in this interesting article: “The leaders of the leave gang are about as anti-establishment as the Duke of Edinburgh, but we cannot dismiss the fact that they tapped into something profound occurring in Britain, and the daily dose of fear from some remain campaigners wasn’t enough to sway people towards remain.”

It seems people who voted out are trying to claw back control, which I can understand, but I can’t help but feel they just gave up control for lies and false promises based on ‘getting our country back’. I still don’t understand what that statement means.

The leave campaign preyed on all the things that piss people off in the UK and blamed it on Europe and immigrants.

But I don’t see how the EU is responsible for Britain’s hardships?

Maybe because if you look at the facts, the reality, and not Brexit’s lies, it isn’t responsible for Britain’s hardships. The financial crisis has a lot to do with it – bankers being reckless  – this is why we have a huge deficit and can’t afford to pay for the NHS or social housing (actually you can also blame Margret Thatcher for that one, she sold off all our social housing.)

Cuts

Not immigrants, no. They pay more into our country than they take out. Fact.

But it’s easier to blame your neighbour rather than the faceless billionaires hiding their millions away in offshore accounts so they don’t have to pay tax and contribute to a fairer society. That’s greed. That’s what greed does, it makes the majority poorer, more miserable and angrier. But getting angry at your Polish neighbour won’t change that, and by the way, they’ll still be your neighbour now we are out of the EU. That won’t change. Now it’ll just be a bit more awkward when you bump into each in the street.

 

What about sovereignty, which has played a massive part in the Brexiters campaign – is feeling more sovereign going to make anyone’s day to day life better?  I don’t see how.

Are we going to feel better if the government brings in a law that fucks us over once again just because we can say that the EU had nothing to do with it?  Are we really going to have more say in those laws, when they rapidly revise all our laws after our EU exit? No and no.

In any case, we’re already a sovereign state. That is a fact. EU law never overrides UK law. If it ever does it is only at the express instruction of parliament which it may choose to do for a whole host of reasons. Watch this if you are unclear.

Anyway, who would even know the difference if we kept all the laws we adopted from the EU or abandoned them – I wouldn’t, would you?

Patriotism isn’t a flag, an England tattoo, shouting ‘we want our country back’ in the street. Patriotism is a feeling, it’s a quiet sense of pride, it’s going abroad and knowing that when you say you’re British you’re welcomed because the British are known as polite, respectful and down-to-earth people. Our sense of humour and self-deprecation are well-known.

The definition of Patriotism is: devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty.

Some of the definitions of Nationalism include: excessive patriotism; chauvinism; the policy or doctrine of asserting the interests of one’s own nation viewed as separate from the interests of other nations or the common interests of all nations.

I’d say our patriotism has fallen into this definition of nationalism. It’s lost all reason. It’s forgotten that our woes are also our neighbours’ woes and we are stronger, more equipped to fight these woes together.

fdividee

Post-factualism and misinformation has dominated the Leave campaign and scaremongering the Remain, though as I say, I’m scared so maybe they weren’t wrong!

Brexiters have been called ignorant by those on the Remain side. Well, now isn’t the time for name calling.

I do know some people who voted out because they thought Syria were going to join the EU. I assume they jumped to this wildly wrong conclusion because they were scared to death by what Farage was telling them about Turkey joining the EU (also wrong) and with his anti-immigration propaganda posters depicting people who looked a bit like Syrians queuing to enter Britain (if that is actually what they were doing, who knows?).  Either way that’s how fear works, it makes you make decisions based on lies and misinformation.

But then I guess the Leave camp could say many Remainers voted remain not because they were better informed but simply because they were scared. I bet they did.

Either way we were all manipulated one way or another, but I don’t understand why so many people have suddenly shunned academics and experts, those that have no agenda and have dedicated their lives to the study of a subject for everyone’s benefit.

“People are fed up of ‘experts'” Gove shouted. Are they? Why?

To me this is the most astonishing thing to come out of this referendum.

Digestible sound bites such as ‘Take Our Country Back’and ‘Breaking Point’ may be quicker, easier and more emotive to take in (to me they don’t make any sense, but whatever) however, I don’t think you can boil a decades old institution that works on many layers into sound bites and slogans and one or two issues.

I can only see it as the experts disagreed with what half the country wanted to believe so they simply decided to not listen to them.

quote-i-could-not-dig-i-dared-not-rob-therefore-i-lied-to-please-the-mob-now-all-my-lies-are-rudyard-kipling-244295

So, now I am more confused about my country and fellow Briton’s than ever. Obviously, half of us identify being British with different characteristics from the other. We’re different and divided. I hope this doesn’t form into resentment and hate. I don’t want to be angry (believe me I was) I want to understand how to make this better.

But now we’re divided and have so much work to do. We  have to revise every single law we currently have, negotiate trade deals with the EU, who quite rightly hate us now, and the rest of the world, manage our borders, and the million other things we need to do now we have divorced the EU (the academic in the video above says this could take 10 years at an optimistic estimate, that the UK only has the capacity to negotiate one or two trade deals at a time). How do we do all this and also unify ourselves?

How do we do all of this and also deal with the bigger issues, such as fighting global warming so we have less climate change refugees in the world? How can we also go about making policy reform, such as abolishing tax havens, in order to create a fairer society and share wealth beyond the 1%? How do we fight privatisation of the NHS so we can continue accessing free healthcare? How do we do this and fight terrorism, from both abroad and at home? How are we stronger now to change all those things that made people angry in the first place?

The government weren’t doing a great job before, how is it going to do any better now it has all this on its plate?

I don’t feel stronger. I feel weaker, diminished, wide open, out in the cold, like Britain’s bargaining power and former powerful influence on the world has been diminished, and I still don’t understand what for?

Ricky Gervais

And if we don’t get what we want, what was promised by Leave, (their promises are already falling by the wayside), the only people who are going to suffer are those that go to work every day to support their families.  My friend who has a second child on the way and works hard every day, as does her partner, now has to worry about whether her partners’ job will be safe; another single mum I know, who also works hard, is facing the same worries. Not Boris Johnson, not Farge, not Michael Gove they aren’t worried, they have millions in the bank.

If we wanted more say  we should have voted in the AV system in the last referendum and then when we vote in general elections our votes will actually account for more instead of a party winning with only 36.1% of the votes as the Conservatives did in the last election (the Scottish National Party won 56 seats with only 4.7% of the votes compared to the Liberal Democrats who won 8 seats with 7.9% of the votes ).

But I’m trying to stay positive as people keep telling me to. I really am. Maybe in a year or two I will look back on this blog and think how silly I was, how dramatic I was.

I really hope that will be the case.

From the FT
From The Financial Times

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