Well the result is in.
As someone who voted Remain, the result is devastating.
I was in Stockholm during referendum week taking part in an EU Erasmus Plus funded project working with organisations from Sweden and Germany; a cross-country/cross-project initiative looking into peer to peer learning. (If you are interested please visit the website www.sharetoknow.net). Knowing the cultural and organisational benefits that have accrued from this project already, I am horrified that the vote will take us out of a structure that has made this possible. During the trip we were all talking about how we might develop the work we have been doing, submit a further bid for funding and broaden our collaboration. I cannot see how the door is not now closed on this for the London based team.
I started the referendum campaign listening to coverage and shouting ‘liar, liar pants on fire’ (amongst other things!) at most of what was coming out of the Leave campaign. Towards the end I simply could not listen to it any more, and it was at that point I reached the conclusion that the Leave campaign would win. Even believing that this would happen, did not make the actual news any easier to handle. I feel I am in mourning.
A few ‘Leavers’ have spoken to me and they say things like “well we will see what happens”. Well quite a lot seems to have happened so far: £200bn wiped off stock value; the pound falling to an all time low; Scotland looking to revisiting the independence issue; the DUP’s Ian Paisley Jr – son of the most staunch Unionist that ever walk this earth – advocating getting an Irish passport. And that was all in the first day post the vote.
And we also have the spectacle of Nigel Farage confirming what many of us already knew, that the £350m per week we send to the EU is not really £350m because of the money we get back, and the campaign strapline that it could be used for the NHS was a ‘mistake’. Click here to see the interview.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has resigned leaving the Conservatives to look for a new leader who will then become Prime Minister supposedly to steer us through the Brexit arrangements. But given that this person, whoever they will be, will have no legitimate mandate, how credible their leadership can be is open to question. But then holding a general election to confirm their manifesto is yet another de-stabalising factor, as if we have not got enough going on. To plunge the country into a general election would hardly help the situation in my view.
There are people reporting that they voted Leave but now they know the result want to vote Remain. How they can not have understood the nature of the Referendum beggars belief, but they somehow failed to understand the enormity of the question they were posed and the consequences whichever way they chose to vote. It was not some sort of mid-term by-election that you can use to deploy a protest vote.
What this referendum has done not just through the xenophobic rhetoric that was used by many during the campaign, but through the result itself, is divide the nation.
I have heard so many people talking about getting our country back; there was an 80 odd year old man on the TV crying and saying how glad he is “to get my country back”. But what sort of country has he got back. The referendum has put the divisions into sharp focus, indeed much of the campaigning was predicated on creating division between people and institutions. The regional differences, the age of those supporting Leave and Remain and far from the vote being decisive it was in fact very close. And as I write this over 1.7m people have signed a petition calling for a second referendum.
May we live in interesting times.