Writing is great for many things. It is great for communication, for sharing, for expression. But it is particularly great for catharsis. And that’s what I’m planning to use it for in this blog post, because I can’t get on and do the things that I need to do until I’ve released some very strongly felt emotions. Like all the people I know, I am completely gutted at the result of the EU referendum. In fact, more than that, I am furious. I am not furious at the people for expressing their opinion; I am furious at the politicians for trashing our country for their own short term political gain. The idea that I would simply accept what has happened, see it as the democratic will, roll up my sleeves and get on with things, like I did after the General Election result, is anathema to me. Not because I think that all leave voters are racists (although the ones on Twitter who told me to “sod off to Europe” for expressing an opinion probably are). I am furious because it is my opinion that we have been sold a lie, and that things are going to get very nasty and chaotic from here on in.
My fury is particularly keen for David Cameron, who is smiling his way through the whole ridiculous situation. He should be ashamed of himself for promising a referendum to secure himself a second term, and then simply walking away from the mess he has made, with barely a backwards glance. I am furious at Nigel Farage, with his ever present smile and his casual appeal to racist attitudes, and for the fact that he opened a Pandora’s Box of hatred for the ‘other’. I am furious at the Labour Party, because although it is not their fault that Cameron was stupid enough to make this promise, they have singularly failed to reach out to their supporters and explain the truth about what leaving the EU really means. I am furious at Michael Gove and at Boris Johnson, for the claims that they made during the campaign, claims that fell like a house of cards as soon as the result was in. And I am furious at both the Leave campaign and the Conservative Government, for the complete absence of a plan for what would happen after their referendum, and for leaving the country in a state of complete indecision and chaos while they decide what to do next.
But my fury is nothing compared to what is going to happen now, because it will not be long before people realise that they have been sold a pup. Like waking up after a great party with an almighty hangover, people are starting to understand the real implications of the decision that has been made (or rather, of the decision that we are now faffing around about for months and months to come). Already, the markets have tanked and Sterling has crashed. The Union is on the brink of collapse. A recession is not only likely but, I would say, inevitable. Companies are starting to pull out of the UK; the banks are in melt down. EU funding will no longer be available to the poorest areas of our country. EU funding for cutting edge science that was happening in our country will go. The people of Calais are already saying that the border controls will have to relocate to Dover. The millions that we were told would go to the NHS, will have to be used to prop up our failing economy. And now there is talk of us staying in the single market, which means that we will have to retain freedom of movement, one of the main tenets of the Leave campaign that many people voted on. (And yes, I know that some people voted Leave to claw back sovereignty rather than to stop free movement, but you are fooling yourself if you think that most people did.)
I’m not really sure what happens next. Another General Election? A hung Parliament (if Labour can get themselves sorted in time)? A second referendum on the terms of any deal that the Tories can secure? A second referendum on Scottish Independence? But whatever happens now, we are in for a long period of bitter recriminations, divisive politics and openly expressed hatred. A vote in which almost half the people of our country completely disagreed with the other half is never going to end well. And that is the main reason why David Cameron was a fool to call it – because he should have thought of the future of his country, over the future of himself. I’m not sure what happens next for me and my family, because I’m finding it hard to think clearly through my fury. But we’re already thinking about the possibility of dual nationality for our children, so that they have the same access to Europe that we have enjoyed all our lives. Do I sit on the sidelines and nod sagely as our country falls apart, muttering bitterly “I told you so” and “see, we told you what would happen”? Should I accept the “democratic will” of the people, whatever the damage to our country? Or should I just pack up my family and get us the hell out of here, while we still can, like the trolls of Twitter advised? For now I’m going to hunker down, avoid the Internet and (oh the irony) concentrate on finishing Road School. And all the while I will be mourning for the lost opportunities that our people voted to throw away, as they drew up the drawbridge and decided to retreat into the past, here on this Septic Isle.