Monday, June 27, 2016

Post Referendum thoughts

If some of what I've seen and read over the last few days is true, then surely the saddest part of the whole EU Referendum vote is hearing people who voted leave say they are now worried about the consequences of that vote. "I didn't think my vote would count" is something of an indictment of the system as much as it might be of the approach some took to voting. With no coherent vision on offer from anyone with regard to the future, we're left in this somewhat bizarre situation of apparently having voted for something most people aren't sure they really wanted. How very strange.

Even stranger is that the petition for a re-run seems to have been started by a leave voter. Not that a second referendum on the same issue is likely, or even welcome. And I say that as a remain voter. The only place for a second vote as far as I can see is when and if a clear vision, post Article 50 negotiations, is laid out and we are then asked whether the is what we truly want. But then again, I'm not sure that's even possible.

In the end we were probably asked the wrong question, in the wrong, at the wrong time. The leave campaign capitalised on years of negative press and comment about the EU. About who made decisions and how, about rules and regulations that were either never actually on the books or were only ever ideas suggested and rejected. We've always had an uneasy relationship with the EU and the silence from MEPs before and during this debate hasn't helped. Where were the positive voices? Too late now I'm afraid.

And what of the "promises" and "threats"? George Osborne tries to settle the markets by suggesting things won't be as bad as he kept telling us they would be, Nigel Farage says that the £350M we could invest in the NHS wasn't true. No wonder people have such a low view of politics and politicians.

There has been quite a lot of comment about the need to simply get on with it. Accept the outcome and figure out the way forward outside of the EU. But I'm not sure the debate ends there quite just yet. After all, the outcome of the referendum is only advisory, it's not legally binding. Parliament could decide to reject it. That would, I assume, be unprecedented, and who would be brave enough to do such a thing?

Maybe there are some good things that will come out of the mess. Perhaps the EU will take seriously the need to do some deep reforming, maybe there will be debates about how the free movement of people works across a range of contras with vastly differing social policies and systems. Perhaps there will be greater clarity and understanding of what it means to be a member state, what responsibilities and opportunities come with being part of a greater community. Sadly we seem to have chosen not be part of that process.

Perhaps we might also see a change in our one political landscape. If we've got our country back, and I'm not sure we have, (or to be more accurate I'm not convinced the country some people think we're getting back is the country I wanted back), then how will the politics of this new era reflect that? Post upheaval and leadership elections, will there be a greater engagement between politicians and people? Who knows? I suspect we'll drift quietly back into the stars quo of hoping of the best, wanting to believe what those seeking election are telling us, and then expressing our inevitable;e disappointment when it turns out that once again things aren't quite what they seemed to be. That might sound cynical, even overly negative, but it takes an enormous amount of effort to seize the opportunity of change and stay with it.

So, to be positive, I think we will survive outside the EU. It's not where I wanted us to be. I hoped we had bigger hearts and greater vision. To leave just seems too narrow and somewhat selfish to me. If we do have a second vote, then I hope it will focus on more positive things than we have endured through this campaign. And I hope that in the future we will see less protest voting because everyone will realise that every vote matters.

No comments: