Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'europe'.
I realise that this is a bit like shouting into the void, but on the off chance that it might prompt a discussion or if Edric or Wolf drop by to see if there's any word, I thought it behooved me to provide some commentary in this, the place of fencepost-pulling. I loathe the term Brexit, but it's become ubiquitous enough that not to use it seems to be disconnected from the debate. So the dominant mood among my peers is one of shock. My peers, for background's sake, are mostly between 22 and 35, highly educated and comparatively low-earning (that is, there are few lawyers or dentists but plenty of scriptwriters and museum technicians). We didn't expect the Leave vote to win. And if anything that has been the defining message of the referendum: the UK is united in name only. The division between Leave and Remain was so great that the two barely see each other. I had no idea that the fury felt by working class English was so great, or so misdirected. There were some correlations. The older the voter, the more likely they were to vote Leave. The lower their level of education, the more likely they were to vote Leave. The more money their area received from the EU, the more likely they were to vote Leave (...). And in a way that makes sense. This was a story of angry, disenfranchised working people ignored or overlooked by an urban elite, an elite who like myself were complacently confident that blame would fall on those who ACTUALLY caused their shitty situation, rather than scapegoating the EU. The only areas in which poorer, less educated people voted in high numbers to Remain were Scotland and London. This exposes another issue. Though the margin was narrow in places, Scotland's majority was overwhelmingly Remain: the calls for a second independence referendum have been loud and many. For those who voted No last time, the choice is no longer so clear-cut. For those who voted Yes, like myself, Scotland's independence is now no longer a desirable option but an overriding necessity. The England (and Wales) that is emerging from this debacle is not a place we want to be part of. Northern Ireland, for its part, appears Remain-leaning but too divided to take any clear action right now. And the consequences for the political establishment have been breathtaking. Heads are rolling even now as the two lead parties, Conservatives and Labour, turn on themselves and each other in recrimination and panic. The Prime Minister is resigning, his potential successors are all deeply unpopular, the leader of the opposition is sacking people and facing calls to step down. The SNP are the only one that seems remotely stable or statesmanlike, and they are busily setting out terms for Scotland remaining in the EU, with or without the rest of the UK. The pound plummeted, the young are furious that the old overrode them, incidences of racism are on the rise, even daesh are celebrating. I like to make jokes about it, but in truth I don't think I've ever actually wished harm upon England or its people, but now I must. The sad fact is that it's not enough that England is likely to suffer, it must suffer. The consequences of this foolish decision need to be dramatic and severe enough to shut down Marine Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in The Netherlands, et al. The working classes of England and Wales voted against their own best interests and if they do not suffer for it then they will not learn. I am in the privileged position of being able to call this a mitigated disaster: mitigated by the fact that Scotland may be protected from the worst of this by virtue of our already strong independence movement. No such luxury exists for my friends and colleagues in England, and for that I am truly unhappy. But to protect the EU, and in turn combat the rise of proto-fascist movements across the continent, this must serve as an example. The consequences must be a shattering of economic prosperity and indeed national identity. There is an alternative. The referendum is advisory, not binding. The government could, in theory, choose to ignore the result. The SNP, in theory, could block or veto the necessary legislation to leave the EU, or so they claim. The voices of regret from those who voted Leave and are only now realising the consequences are multifarious. The process of actually leaving the EU, of dealing with rewriting trade deals and laws and borders and dealing with international healthcare and the currency and Scotland and the corporations who will flee as soon as they lose access to the single market... this could yet prove insurmountable to whoever is foolish enough to attempt it (as David Cameron has most decidedly abdicated that responsibility). This could yet turn into a return to the status quo, in which we teetered on the edge of oblivion before finally coming to our senses. I find it unlikely.