Jun. 25th, 2016

millionreasons: (marnie)
I dreamed that the Referendum result was too close to declare a winner and it had to run again in three months' time. The dream woke me up so I turned on my phone to reassure myself that all was well and Remain had edged it. After all, the bookies had declared Remain, the British people prefer the status quo (otherwise how would they have sold so many records?) and the election of Sadiq Khan had proved that the electorate don't always listen to the racist lies of the tabloids.

It felt like 2015, or 1992, all over again.

I, and many others of the left, were also put in the rather odd position of not wanting Cameron to go. His position seemed untenable after Coulson, after the Panama papers, in the light of the electoral spending malpractice, but he seemed untouchable, unbreakable. I therefore assumed, in the event of a Leave win, that Cameron would be the one doing the negotiation of leaving the EU and it'd be in his interests to keep things much as they are. I expected his party to force him out pre-2020 - I didn't think he'd quit at the first available press conference. So now it's likely to be a Boris Johnson-led Tory party doing the negotiations. The only hope is that Boris might be a giant narcissist whiff-whiff playing baby, but he is a pragmatist. As London Mayor, he didn't try to part-privatise the tube, as Gordon Brown wanted. He actually spoke out against social cleansing. Politicians always renege on their promises and given that Johnson only joined the Leave campaign as a leadership campaign gamble, he might see the point of keeping a lot of what we get out of the EU, maybe dropping a few inconvenient employment rights on the way. Whatever happens, it's going to dominate the political landscape for two, if not five, if not ten years, whilst Stephen Crabb (or whoever) brings in more welfare cuts, which will slip in under the carpet as the media concentrates on exactly how many Romanians will be allowed into the country under the new rules.

It does seem though that Cameron has pretty much paved the way for his rival: supporting his campaign for Mayor of London, giving him a safe seat when Boris was bored of that, calling this suicidal referendum (which was, in my opinion, Cameron's way of seeing off his rivals, both inside and outside of the Tory party, and nothing to do with his being pro-EU), and then resigning, leaving BoJo's passage clear. It's almost as if a Granita-style pact was made - they were both Buller boys, after all.

I have to say that 22nd November 1990 was much more of a fun day.

It's easy to predict doom and gloom, especially when the pound immediately tanks, but maybe economics won't change that much, at least in the short term, but people will. Europeans living here may choose to quit before they are kicked out. There are already reports of people googling "Irish passport". If Scotland secedes, people will flock to get in (there's still Gibraltar, guys!). There will be Brexit marriages - I've already heard of one Brexit divorce.

Worse though. Someone on twitter reported a man flicking the Vs at the playground of a predominately ethnic minority school. The Iraqi-born scientist, Jim Al-Khalili, started retweeting racist abuse that he's received since the result was announced. Of course there have always been racist idiots, but this one that stood out: "Guilt, shame & bigot labels no longer work!" The racists feel emboldened now. They no longer feel guilty about thinking bad thoughts, they won't accept "bigot" anymore because it is now 'normal' to think that way. "Racist" will no longer be an insult, but a badge of pride, like the gollywogs people buy, carry, wear as a symbol of "free speech".

Most people who voted Leave aren't bigoted morons, I have to assume. Some are daft ("I didn't think my vote would count"), some were doing a protest vote and now regret it, some are genuinely against the EU for leftist reasons. It's these lefties I have a problem with. I'm all for optimistic voting (it's what got Corbyn elected as Labour leader), but it seemed extremely pie in the sky thinking to assume that we'd be on the way to a Socialist utopia on leaving the EU. The EU provided funding for the poorest regions - you think the money saved by not paying into the EU will go to them? Under a Tory government? You're insane. The EU pumped money into Northern Ireland, helping along the peace process.

One of my oldest friends voted Leave, not through ignorance, he had a lot of arguments why (this kind of thing), but now I don't know what to say to him. "You've aligned yourself with murderers and neo-Nazis?" "You've handed us a Boris government?" "You've caused the right of the Labour party to go after Corbyn - again?" "You've made Nigel Farage an extremely happy man? Well fucking done!"

I realise that I'm in a privileged position of having grown up in a household that talked about current affairs, of having gone to university (not necessarily a prerequisite for an intelligent viewpoint, but you do learn, or are encouraged, to take into account all opinions and come to your own conclusions, yes, even if you're doing a degree in Business studies) and I live in London, home of the brash, outrageous and free: the liberals, the multi-culturalists, the eccentrics, and free-thinkers. My home town, which always returns a Labour MP, voted 69% to leave, the highest in South Yorkshire. UKIP came second in each of its three constituencies in 2015. They had a English Democrat (UKIP-lite) Mayor. But because it's in the north and because the media says UKIP are a threat to the Tories, not Labour, it's ignored. People there have felt ignored since New Labour won power and the mines didn't magically re-open. I don't know what the solution is to convince people that immigrants aren't the cause of their problems. It feels as if they're living in the past just as much as the Tory wanting jolly old England to return to old maids cycling to evening communion and a white face in the village shop.

I don't know what the solution is. But I know it's not this.

January 2017

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