This post has undergone several rewrites because frankly there is so much to discuss and criticise, and a mere blog post by some random nobody cannot possibly do this seismic political event the justice it deserves. I have also stumbled over how exactly I would like to convey my thoughts and feelings on the UK’s European Union membership referendum. This post was always going to be about the lead up to vote, and then the aftermath. However, I have changed my mind on how I am going to (finally) finish this post, and I am now going to write it from my personal experience point of view, so take from that what you will…
Describe Brexit in one word…
Infuriating. That is the best word to describe how I found the run-up to the EU Referendum. I remember getting a leaflet posted to the house trying to educate me on why I was expected to vote to Remain. Propaganda paid for by the taxpayer (that only presented one camps views) on behalf of a clueless government, with scruples inherited from a truly despicable Tony Blair. Apparently, educated, good and moral people who encompassed the utopian beliefs of the global community would vote Remain. Stupid, ill informed, racist bigots who simply did not understand world politics (like myself) would vote to Leave. That is how I felt throughout the entire campaign, and that is exactly why I did vote to Leave.
Liars and bullies
And it is because I am NOT any of those things that I knew I was making the correct choice. You see, we have all been here before, and you can thank Tony Blair for really pushing forwards an anti-government sentiment of mistrust amongst what we now know is the 52% of the British public that simply will not trust the government’s motives when they take it upon themselves to think for us. We were told what to think about 9/11, we were told that Saddam Hussain could destroy London in 45 minutes, we were told that the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden were the biggest threat to global peace since Hitler; and we now also know that most of that is not true. Nobody wanted to start two wars that we could never win apart from the organisations that are literally making a killing from it to this day. So when these very same organisations try to bully the British public into voting to keep the status quo you can understand my skepticism. Even Barack Obama had to fly over to tell us not to ‘make a mistake’! Yes, the top echelons of banking and government were not keen on Brexit at all.
My vote had nothing to do with the immigration bogeyman, the rights of British citizens or saving the NHS. It was based entirely on not believing a word that came out of David Cameron, George Osborne or Mark Carney’s mouth (That’s the British Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Governor of the Bank of England at the time, if you don’t know). Through the Chilcot Report we now finally have a wee smidgeon of proof that the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were planned well in advance of what we were led to believe. The EU campaign felt exactly the same as the war campaigns after 9/11 right through until ISIS. And throughout the entire Brexit propaganda campaign we were browbeaten with exactly the same tactics – namely, downright lies, character assassinations, fear mongering and statistical fairy tales. Why would I believe the same establishment that is telling me that the world will end (again) if I don’t do what I am told and vote to remain as servants of ‘Project Super-State’?
My world ended when I lost my business in the 2008 recession, so there is nothing of value for me to lose now anyway. Multiply me by the thousands of other people with similar stories and you have your reason for losing the Brexit vote. The ‘have-nots’ and ‘do-not-believe-you’s’ made their voice heard for the first time in decades. And that is why I voted for a change. Not because I believed Boris and the boys, but because I believed Cameron’s comrades even less. I voted exactly the same way as the Americans who hate Hillary Clinton even more than they hate Donald Trump.
Britain (or whatever version of it you want to talk about) could do with a kick up the bum in the enterprise and ingenuity department, and going it ‘alone’ could be just the catalyst for some great companies to shine through the gloom. And it is amazing how entrepreneurial people and businesses can get when faced with new challenges, and the choice is do-or-die. I firmly believe that the United Kingdom is a vital financial pillar that props up the deluded monolith that is the EU structure, and that they need us far more than we can even imagine. Unfortunately, British leadership is a very timid and conniving species, and as such see the EU as very handy to have – if you have dealings with them or work for them. Ask Peter Mandelson. For everybody else (ie the normal British citizen) it governs every essence of our life and the regulations that we have to follow, but for the good of the top of the pyramid. A bit like a dictatorship, but in an oh, so European way. Very civilised indeed.
Unfortunately, British leadership is a very timid and conniving species, and as such see the EU as very handy to have – if you have dealings with them or work for them. Ask Peter Mandelson. For everybody else (ie the normal British citizen) it governs every essence of our life and the regulations that we have to follow, but for the good of the top of the pyramid. A bit like a dictatorship, but in an oh, so European way. Very civilised indeed.
The ‘i’ word
And the immigration issue? That is a massive red herring, although university students wishing to travel on their gap year will disagree. It is right that a country decides for itself what is right and wrong in the way of controlled or uncontrolled immigration. I was brought up in Zambia and South Africa, and because my family had the skills these countries needed we were met with open arms. That rule is still a fundamental fact across the globe. I mean, do you really think we are going to kick out all of our doctors and teachers because they are foreign? Exactly. If you have what a country needs they are going to let you in, albeit with a bit of bureaucracy.
Am I a nationalist? What, with half my life spent in Africa being accused of being a soft k***er lover, and the other half spent here in the UK being mocked for being a racist colonial? No would be the answer. Am I a xenophobe with a fear and hatred of immigrants? Refer to previous answer – I’ve felt like an immigrant all my life. The fear of globalisation and ‘little Britain’ mentality accusations don’t apply to me either. I think we should accept and embrace other cultures eagerly. We are all human at the end of the day. So I deeply resent the liberal left accusations that were spewed across the debating table during the EU vote, simply because I don’t fit neatly into their demographic model of a Brexit voter. I believe in meritocracy, and if you want to go and live in somebody else’s country then you need to have something to offer. That works for me going to Canada or anybody from anywhere coming here. If you don’t have the skills then tough, you don’t get in. You may just have to do your gap year in Scotland or Ireland instead…
Apocalypse or not?
Project Fear was labelled as such for a very good reason. It was a campaign of fear, and lies and dirty tactics did occur. However, the apocalyptic collapse of Britain has not yet happened as predicted, and we have far more cards up our sleeves as a nation than anybody has realised or is prepared to admit.
Will the pound and the FTSE 100 collapse into a Zimbabwean scenario?
Will every major bank flee to Paris or Berlin?
Will we run out of food (apart from Marmite) and have to start hunting each other in the deserted council streets around Britain, while the liberal left hide behind their curtains in their crumbling middle-class homes, ruing the day we allowed the masses to think for themselves?
Will Mark Carney ever make an economic forecast that we can believe?
Or will Tony Blair become one of the presidents (there are 3-5 presidents, depending on how you count them) of the EU and come back to rule over us again with his ‘acute sense of political acumen and genuine empathy for the people of this land’?
There’s more chance of me voting for the ANC in South Africa…