Howdy all, I realised it had been ten weeks since I had last posted something on here. My only excuse is that I’ve been a little busy, what with a new baby and all. Still we are getting there and Grace slept from 7-4 the other night so lets see more of that! Cancer is currently fine (I guess) and although all the lifting of Grace hurts my spleen at times, it’s totally worth it :).
There is only one topic that has been on my mind in the last week though, and that’s Brexit, which sounds like a funny washing product but actually isn’t (for those of you who haven’t heard about it…). For all of those who know me, you know I’ve talked of little else. For those who don’t, I have at least done some reading around the subject and am not just making it up :).
I want to firstly say that I was in camp Remain and voted accordingly. I also want to go out there and say that this is the result of a referendum and although I didn’t get my way the electorate have given their opinion. There should be no second referendum, otherwise we devalue even further the voice of people who have often been unwilling to speak, as shown by how many people voted compared to other elections.
I feel pretty split about the whole thing as over the last week we have seen both the best and the worst of people. The best was the sheer level of engagement, the discussions and the, by and large, well-meaning debate. Even though both campaigns were run badly, people cared!
The worst was after the vote was taken and the results were counted. Then the cracks showed. Remain voters (myself included) were shocked and upset, many started posting negative comments about Leavers. Leavers responded with a ‘It’s happened, just get over with it.’ Which is tough to do when yo feel so strongly in something. This dismissiveness didn’t help as the media then started to publish stories of people who voted leave and now regret it.
Some of the Remainers then began to lump all the Leavers together as racists. Now a small percentage of them will be but people voted leave for a whole host of reasons. Less bureaucracy, they didn’t like a big federation due to bureaucracy and bribery, immigration’s impacts on services, and the desire to have law making as a sovereign issue. Many Leavers are hurt by this accusation of xenophobia and racism and frankly they should be.
That said there has been a large rise in Racist incidents and outspoken racism. There is no avoiding that a small but vocal group of Leavers are using this as an opportunity to let their feelings known. Very few leave voters are racist, but all racists are leave voters. To my mind this intolerance is the most shocking of results. We have been a liberal country for many years, with Gay Marriage, and other very positive steps having taken place in my lifetime. This rise in racism is abhorrent. It should go without saying that people should be respected no matter the colour of their skin or their country of birth, but the fact I do have to say it is very sad for me. I would ask for everyone, the leave voters and remain, to unite against this and to stamp out any racism they see. I intend to get involved if I see anything happening, and at the least we should report it. Whatever your view on immigration it is not acceptable. The biggest irony is that having had a world spanning empire many of the people effected are third or fourth generation Brits, who settled in the UK through our attempts to take over the world. Even people who are concerned about their jobs, or the impact on services should view immigration as a large issue, not take it out on individuals.
I personally am pro immigration. 26% of the NHS staff comes from the EU, and we all know that many others nations make up our NHS. We could do with more hardworking, tax paying and generally law-abiding immigrants to help build this nation up against the baby boomer pension and retirement issue. Lets just accept that if we get control of immigration as many of the leavers want, we don’t take it out on individuals.
Take the time to reassure people you know who are from Europe or abroad. they didn’t get a vote and this hate will be getting to them. It’s no good assuming they know, make the effort to talk to them. They come here to live in a peaceful first world society and I personally want it to remain as much.They shouldn’t be made to feel unwelcome, or worried, just because of a small group of bigots.
We need to stop sharing World War two memes, just because more older people voted to leave doesn’t make it about World War Two. Frankly to have been alive and conscious of World War Two people have to be at least 77 or so and to fight they would have to be 90.
Equally if the European Union existed in the 1930’s, would there have even been a war? Germany would not have been left to rot in squalor as they’d have received aid and beneficial trade deals, so there would have been no resentment for the Nazi party to exploit. The EU is the latest step the nations took to prevent such wars from reoccurring.
We have to make sure we stop talking about World War two, as it will only piss off the EU, if we compare them to Hitler. We need to trade with them and deal with them. Lets be sensible about this and try to get them onside, when at the moment they feel like we’ve betrayed the hell out of them. Equally we should hope the EU doesn’t break up. if it does the crash of 2008 will look like a blip in the markets.
Finally on that older people had a right to vote, just as much as younger people. No more, no less. What people fought and died for in the 40’s was not whether we should be part of the EU or not, so its irrelevant to the discussion.
I do think some of the Leave voters didn’t quite realise what the result would mean. Short term it means we are taking a hit economically, but its the mid-term that is more worrying with a recession looming, and the EU in a feisty mood. I expect the market fluctuations to settle in the next few weeks, but the uncertainty and the actual triggering of the leave will hit all our industries hard.
People should expect (according to a number of sources, BBC, FT and the Guardian):
Holidays to cost more.
Petrol to go up.
Food in the shops to increase in price
Mortgage rates to go up by about 1% and rent to increase accordingly
Mobile Roaming to go up.
Unemployment to rise as firms cut back due to uncertainty and some foreign firms reduce investment.
People who export will be able to get better prices.
House prices will likely drop some (although I’m not sure if this will do more to compensate the mortgage rates going up)
Another concern is the EU itself. If it accepts it needs to change by becoming an EU state that’s one thing (although I’m not sure its component countries are ready for that), but if it collapses it’s quite another. Both would be bad. A fragmented series of countries, all putting in place new currency, having to draw up a series of new laws and trade agreements, and no one to lead them (as in the UK when the result came in, our leaders are changing).
I sense this could cause greater conflict with a possibility Putin might try take advantage with the Baltic states and their large percentage of ethnic Russians (As per the Ukraine situation. Denial, whilst active invasion occurs). It would also set off an economic bomb which would be considerably worse than 2008 with a global impact.
It’s tough to predict this though and Europe might just continue on as before.
Back to the UK I worry that a leave vote will swing the politics to the right. David Cameron for all his flaws is a liberal Tory. if Boris gets in, he will do so on a wave of UKIP supporters who like him after his leave leading, as well as the leavers of the Tory party, also more often than not their right-wing side. With Labour combusting around us, they could easily win an election if called, and have a mandate for extreme change.
Leavers seem to forget that Boris, Gove and Iain Duncan Smith have all been pro privatising some of the NHS, and a government formed with them would actively look at those options. Gone would be David Cameron’s appeasement (which wasn’t great at times, for example the disability cut debacle.)
My two biggest problems are that A) we don’t have a plan. leave didn’t have one, the government didn’t have a plan, and the uncertainty is whats hurting people. If the government called the referendum they should have known what could happen, and the Leave campaign waited until Monday to speak and then basically denied the concrete promises they made. (£350 million to the NHS (No), Control of immigration (no, as they now want to stay in the common market) it being easy to make trade deals (expect a lot of time and effort needed for this to happen with all of our trade allies).
Boris’ talk of greater EU interaction was frankly ridiculous. he has a mandate to Leave but doesn’t really want to use it, even though he led that party that asked for it.
It seems like the Leave campaign was run by people ill prepared for a win, and swayed by lots of promises that can’t be kept.
B) A referendum was always going to split people apart. If Remain had won Leavers would be protesting the election was rigged, and Remainers would just be saying, ‘Get on with it, its done now.’ Scotland is a great example of where a referendum pitted families against each other. David Cameron should have known this and had plans to deal with it. Whilst he was quite within his rights to step down rather that push something through he didn’t believe in, he should have been prepared for this.
In my mind what needs to happen is Theresa May (and I never thought I would say this) needs to take over the Tory party as PM. She needs to bind it together as someone who didn’t take sides, and get the Tory cabinet functioning again. Then, after serving notice, she needs to have productive and varied talks, putting in place notice to quit.
At the moment our two options are A) leave and stay part of the common market. This means we will have to have unchecked immigration and still end up paying the £350 million we currently pay into the EU, but without having a rebate or getting anything back. Europe won’t budge on that as they already have a few people in this treaty. Or B) leave the common market, control immigration not pay the money to have access but suffer the varied and many trade difficulties.
It has to be A). It isn’t as good for the remainers as staying in Europe, but its better than leaving it altogether. Sure we have to pay and have no say, but that was always known by the lave campaign, whether it mentioned it or not.
What we need to do now, us, is to join a political party if we feel aggrieved, one that best represents us. We need to stop racism and intolerance wherever we see them and prove that as a people we are still worthy of Europe’s trust and support, even if someone like Farrage rubs their collective noses in it time and again, as he has today.
Ultimately, lets not keep this as an us versus them of leave and remain, but move towards a, how do we all come together after this and keep the country we all care about liberal and free.