Apologies for the title, but I’m angry because my country has been stolen by liars.
It feels like there has been a coup. There are no tanks on the streets, but the prime minster has resigned because he tried to campaign on facts and was defeated by bare faced lies told by liars.
I’ve seen a lot of posts telling remain voters like me to get back in their box. That we are cry babies, unable to accept democracy. I’ve used similar arguments myself in the past talking about general election results. But there’s a difference: there will always be another election where people can choose a different outcome – there is no such possibility here; and, at all the elections I’ve ever voted in, the Labour and Conservative parties ran on manifestos and promised to implement them. What they promised had at least a factual basis. The leave campaign at the EU referendum lied, and lied again until they were blue in the face – but no one seemed to mind. They lied about the NHS, about EU funding, about free movement of workers, about the economy, even about leaving the EU. In case anyone is any doubt, the UK remains part of the EU and will do for years to come. The vote in the referendum was advisory, not binding. Lets look at some of these breath taking lies and the related issues for a moment.
NHS Lies: The bare faced admission of lies began early as Nigel Farage admitted in an interview that the claim that £350 million a week that was paid to the EU could be diverted to the NHS was a mistake.
Compare this with his pre-referendum comments that the EU contributions should be spent on “schools, hospitals, and GPs” see: Farage does a U turn on health spending
Prices will rise: Simon Wolfson, the chief executive of Next and a prominent supporter of leave has admitted that the price of food and clothing will increase as the value of the pound falls on international markets in response to brexit. See: Wolfson admits prices will rise
The Daily Mail and Sun, both UK papers supporting the leave campaign, respectively published columns admitting the consequences of Brexit include buying goods or services from other countries will become more expensive and prices/inflation will rise. Holidays, flights, alcohol and food will be more expensive. The cost of phone calls abroad will increase because it is the EU that caps these charges.
Free migration will continue: Free movement of people will continue: In a startling admission for the leave side, Daniel Hannan MEP (a Conservative leave campaigner) has admitted that free movement of people will continue. So the central premise of the leave campaign, that to vote leave would lead to controls on migration, was entirely false. I’m beyond gobsmacked. I’m incredibly angry. I never wanted controls on free movement in the first place, but a vast number of people voted on the basis free movement would end.
Britain remains in the EU indefinitely: While stating that work will have to begin on giving effect to the will of the people Boris has stated he is in no hurry to give an article 50 notice. So, in effect Britain remains part of the EU indefinitely.
Many leave voters didn’t really want to leave: All of that is before you get to the people who voted to leave and now regret it. They thought they were registering a protest vote, not realising there is no protest vote in a referendum.
This article from the Washington Post makes it clear that people didn’t know what they were voting for.
What next: The country is in chaos. The prime minister has resigned, leaving no clear plan for the future. It seems clear the politicians who will form the next government have no clear plan either. Our children’s future is threatened by a decision they’ve played no part in.
Leaving all of that aside, at the time of writing this, 2,699,234 people have signed a petition demanding a second referendum on EU membership. I encourage UK readers of this website to sign the petition. Protests are planned on Tuesday in major cities across the UK. I plan to join the protest in Trafalgar square. It seems the devolved executives in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have a veto on an article 50 notice, such that serving it will result in a constitutional crisis.
I can only hope the wider population realises that they’ve been sold a big lie before it’s too late. None of this is easy. In fact it’s horrible. But that’s the point. In the words of the manic street preachers: “If you tolerate this, your children will be next”. Not in my name. I won’t go quiet into that long night.
From my viewpoint here in the US, leaving seemed to be a proposition of know-nothings and similar to the lies and racism spouted by Trump here. I thought Brits would be more circumspect and considered in their choice. Why was a choice/referendum needed in the first place?
The Prime Minister (David Cameron) was worried the hard right anti-Europe party (UKIP) would steal votes from his party at the last election. So he promised a referendum he thought he could win to unite his party after the election. He was stabbed in the back by senior members of his party who wanted to bid for the leadership, so joined the leave campaign as a vehicle to end his leadership. Sadly, their lies were told convincingly and the majority of the public bought them, to the extent areas which benefit disproportionately from EU funding like Wales and Cornwall voted to leave. Now we will be lucky if we have a country in a few years and people who voted to leave are justifying what they did furiously, but to no avail.
Please share this story with friends and relatives. It doesn’t have to end that way in the US.
I agree with everything you say. I have never been more frustrated and disgusted with this country. You forgot to mention also that it has almost certainly heralded the break up of the union. It is a victory for the panderers of culturism, i.e. the more politically acceptable replacement of racism where people are discriminated against by their culture. We must always remind the politicians that although the leave campaign won, almost half the population wanted to stay. A lot will ride on who will be the next prime minister. If it is one of of brexit champions as is likely I can see things getting more divisive not less. Through my anger, however I have to accept that the Rubicon has been crossed and we are not going back. My only hope is that we can reach an agreement which maintains the advantage of EU membership, but I foresee some tough years ahead. I felt I had to apologize to my children, that I fought the fire but obviously not well enough
Tony, I really appreciate the comment because it’s important to know people other people also feel like me. I found it hard to look my son in the eyes when I came home from work on Friday.
To the point around no going back, I’m not sure. The country voted to leave, but in a non-binding referendum. It has no constitutional status. It would be perfectly legal for parliament to overturn this vote. It would take brass ones to do that, but sometimes politicians have to face down the public. Further, it seems an effective veto to the article 50 notice (that would actually set the clock running for the UK’s departure) for all of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is baked into the legislation establishing those bodies.
A great timing opportunity is presented by the great length of time a departure could conceivable take. Until the article 50 notice is served, the U.K. remains part of the EU. Until the notice is announced I would anticipate indyref2 in Scotland will be provided for in legislation, but not acted on.
So things aren’t as bleak as they could be. I believe that if there’s a will, there’s a way. Perhaps this time next year, a general election could be forced. Between them, the opposition parties could achieve this if the conservatives fragment. We shouldn’t assume the referendum result translates to UKIP winning the next election. Once people realise they’ve been sold a lie, the backlash will begin.