Sunday supplement

The first in an occasional series of weekend posts. Like you don’t have enough to read already..

blame_med

I can hardly let the weekend pass by without some mention of the momentous decision recently taken by roughly half of the population of my home country. No I don’t mean whether to have curry or pizza on Friday evening. I mean the surprise vote for the so-called Brexit – a farewell to the European Union.

It caught many of us by surprise, since although there has always been a strong anti-EU sentiment in the UK, few thought it would actually result in us getting ourselves unhitched. Sure we’d bitch and moan about it, but not actually file for divorce.

Most of us Brits had some reservations about certain aspects of the EU. There were few fans of the unwieldy bureaucracy of this lumbering machine. It certainly got no love from the right wing Press who waged a campaign of hate against it from the start.

But despite our many issues with it, I thought most would see the sense of being in the league and working to improve things, rather than storming off the field in a hissy-fit and refusing to play any more.

In the aftermath of Europageddon, some people are only just waking up to the reality of what they have just done. A number of voters expressed surprise at the result and regretted voting out on the grounds that ‘I didn’t think it would actually matter.’ Others, mainly readers of that popular xenophobes guide to scapegoats, The Daily Mail, are only now discovering the various negative implications of their choice. ‘If only the paper had printed these facts before the vote,’ opined some. ‘We had no idea.’ Doh!

The age of voters seemed quite telling, with most of the leave support coming from the over 50s, and most of the younger generation firmly in the stay camp. Many young people feel they just got shafted by ‘racist nan’ and her chums from the social club.

Of course it would be very unfair to claim everyone over fifty voted leave, or to paint the exit camp as largely xenophobic morons, voting whichever way they were told by the writers of the Mail and The Sun ‘newspapers’. A lot of working class voters felt it was a blow for freedom and democracy. A massive middle finger to the wealthy and powerful elite.

Sadly this was misguided, leaving will bring few benefits and many huge disadvantages, as many leading economists and thinkers have pointed out. It feels very much like we’ve just voted to cut off our nose to spite our face. This referendum has largely been a victory for propaganda and little Englanders, not for democracy or common sense.

It has also sparked open warfare among both Tory and Labour camps, as rival candidates and factions seek to gain control of their parties, and of the good ship Britain. While potential captains slug it out below decks, the vessel steams (or drifts) into unknown waters filled with rocks, icebergs and other potentially hazardous metaphors.

The future of the ‘United Kingdom’ seems more uncertain now than at any point in recent history. Scotland didn’t want this divorce and nor did Ireland. And London definitely didn’t want it. Who knows how things will pan out, with the UK torn asunder by such a silly blunder..

With many expat citizens denied a vote through postal or local government incompetence (luckily I was not one of them), and millions more angry that such a momentous decision could hinge on such a tiny majority, the fallout from this debacle will continue for months or years to come.

It seems many Brits have tended to follow the mantra: ‘Keep calm and blame the EU / immigrants’, but maybe now they’ll have to face some responsibility for the nation’s problems. Or just find a new set of scapegoats.

As for me living across the choppy waters of the North Sea in little Denmark, I’m gonna have to start practising my Danish like my life depends on it. I’m not keen to return anytime soon to the increasingly reactionary shores of my homeland, I’m much happier over here with the sceptical but (hopefully) more pragmatic Danes. Vi ses!

 
© Copyright Jason Lennick 2016. All rights reserved.
 
Cartoon © Copyright Chappatte / International New York Times 2016
 
 

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “Sunday supplement

  1. It’s not just the Brit’s that will see negative consequences. Thanks for nothing Brexiters – I’ve already taken a hit. I wonder if, after enough time has elapsed for repercussions to set in, your countrymen will lobby for a revote? Sound like you’ve got a couple years before the divorce is final…

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a huge amount of support for a re-vote Dave, the Gov petition has 3.5 million signatures so far. It seems a lot of people didn’t realise the implications of their votes and perhaps not enough younger voters turned out. I think if they did (seems very unlikely) hold a second referendum it would be a far clearer result and probably in the other direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said! It’s appalling seeing the Conservatives and Labour scrabbling around now that the reality of Brexit is upon us. How is the EU viewed in Denmark? I know there are calls for referendums in a number of other countries now that we have voted to leave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Tom. It is a bloody mess back home. Despite a fair degree of EU disgruntlement, I don’t think the Danes will be going down the same route anytime soon. In some respects the UK just became a guinea pig, and how it fares outside the EU will either strengthen or potentially wreck the union.

      Like

  3. Seriously, how can people vote out and then be surprised when it happens and claim that they didn’t think their vote would matter, that is just laughable. Also in an anonymous ballot how are these hard and fast stats for the age range coming out? Surely that information is not obtainable if the option that you chose is known only to you.

    I was surprised at the result too, I would have thought that the remain camp would have won it, and the margin of the win was pretty small, it is pretty much half and half so I think that has escalated the… well I’ll say passionate responses from some quarters.

    I’ll admit that I voted out, I voted that way for a number of reasons, none of them racist, or little englanderish, the main one being that Brussels is a meddling, out of touch and out of date monstrosity. If the whole EU thing had been about trade and making it easier to trade with members of that union then I would have been all for it, but they meddle in our laws and pretty much take away our sovereignty, I disliked the way they went about things.

    I knew that there would be some volatility afterwards but in a few months that will (I hope) have settled and things will be at a new normal. And I’ll point out at this stage that I am no fan of Boris Johnson and especially Nigel Farage.

    In saying that, I didn’t think all this racist crap would occur and that stuff needs to stop, yes I think that immigration needs limits and the EU prevented that, but I am not a racist and I disagree/am disgusted with all these people that are. Also whilst I listened to some of what the leave people were saying I don’t really appreciate them coming out after the event and saying “oh this wasn’t actually accurate” or “this isn’t actually correct” which basically means we embellished the possible end results to get our way, as such I think that there should be a 2nd referendum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think many thought they were voting for greater democracy and independence, and less bureaucracy. But many are starting to feel they were hoodwinked by the leave campaign’s lies and distortions. I see a lot of backtracking going on, and a lot of regret.

      I really hope the UK hasn’t just made one the biggest blunders in recent history with this vote. Whether it will go ahead or result in an (unlikely) second referendum remains to be seen. But I think it’s going to be chaotic for a while and it is always the poorest and most vulnerable who suffer the most during uncertain times and economic instability.

      Perhaps the silver lining may be to make people more aware of how politics affects them, the power of voting and the opportunity to say ‘no thanks’ to the racists and xenophobes.

      Like

      • I think you have summed that up pretty well with greater democracy and independence, and less bureaucracy. and yes now the leave campaigners are backpeddling furiously I would say a lot of leave people are feeling hoodwinked. I must admit I am feeling slightly that way.

        Although whats happening at the moment I think is a natural occurrence of the result, we have been ingrained in the EU for so long that any step away from that would be painful and with periods of uncertainty.

        But really, I think as long as we get decent trade deals set up again then i would still rather be out of EU control than in it, but yeah the backpeddling isn’t make me feel confident.

        Like

  4. I didn’t vote, I don’t care. Because neither option would change how big business, the banks, and the pro-capitalist politicians determine the means by which Western societies function. And it was a misguided version of this that led to Brexit.

    People thought the ‘establishment’ needed a good kicking, because capitalism isn’t working for the ‘great unwashed’. It was a protest vote that the pro-EU capitalist establishment failed to address, because they don’t have to live with the failures of capitalism.

    I sense that given the same choice, many other nations inside the EU, including Denmark, would also choose to leave.

    There were lies and distortions on both sides – the ‘remain’ campaign claimed Britons would all be £4000 worse off by 2030. Our chancellor has got every single 3 month economic forecast wrong since coming to office, yet he knows what it’s going to be like 14 years in the future?

    By the way, the Irish didn’t vote – Northern Ireland voted along predictable sectarian lines. And apparently, of the 3.5 million online signees on the petition for a referendum re-run, only 65,000 are eligible UK voters.

    Like

    • Whether you care or not, the decision still may negatively affect you and millions of others in lots of ways.

      There are certainly forces here on both the hard left and hard right in favour of a referendum and a ‘Dexit’. The PM is firmly against, but if the UK were to survive Brexit fairly unscathed and even prosper outside, then the Danes might find themselves facing a similar choice at some point.

      I’d like to know how people arrived at that claimed figure re the online petition, sounds like BS.

      Like

  5. I was stunned by the result, Jason. As far as I could work out from what I read online, there were basically no very compelling arguments for the UK to pull out of Europe and a lot of very convincing ones for staying in.

    The day after, I saw a clip of UKIP leader Nigel Farage shouting something about Britain’s Independence Day, which did surprise me a little. I hadn’t been aware that the UK was being held against its will, a powerless pawn with no voice or influence in the EU’s jackbooted empire of unspeakable wickedness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Incredibly sad, misguided and divisive. I think the repercussions will continue to be felt for years to come. It’s a stark warning to you guys – don’t let the bigots and the right wing media poison people’s minds with a racist agenda built on fear. You gotta fight da power!

      Sorry, I went all ‘Public Enemy’ for a moment there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I keep reading that if the multiverse theory is true, everything that can happen actually does happen somewhere or other (and an infinite number of times to boot), but that some outcomes are far less frequent than others.

        I always wondered what it would be like to live in one of those bizarre, quirky outlier universes, a universe where, say, the UK voted to leave the EU and Donald Trump was elected president.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s