What A Difference A Day Makes

As some of you may have heard, there’s been a few changes in this country this week. I’ll address them as I see them here, but first there is something very important that I have to get off my chest.

Brexit, much like Grexit (used to describe the possible Greek exit from the European Union which was voted on a while ago), is not a word. Seriously, look it up in a dictionary. Not there. In fact, there are only three occasions when people use either word.

  1. People asking what the hell that even means.
  2. Journalists trying to sound hip and funky while talking about a complex situation that is so complicated they’re afraid people won’t watch/read unless they’ve a simple tag to add to it.
  3. People complaining that Brexit isn’t a word.

With that sorted out, let’s have a look at how the UK reacted to the idea of leaving Europe. How did they take all the very different changes, some negative and some positive, that would come with such a monumental decision? How were all those complicated matters communicated to the people who have no idea of all the ins and outs of political movement?

immigrant.gif

Not an actual quote, mostly because his actual quotes are far too offensive to repeat.

Meet Nigel Farage, the most outspoken supporter of the leave movement. He’s also the leader of UKIP, a party whose main policy seems to be “Less brown people in Britain”. Again, far more polite than their supporters would put it as they shave their heads and march through the country.

As you could expect from someone like this, all those complex changes, all the problems that could arise from leaving, all the positive things that would come in their wake, all the time that people would have to wait and possibly suffer before any positives came; all of that was swept under the rug for the story he wanted to tell. Everything was brought down to a few horror stories about staying, alongside a few wonderful promises about leaving.

Most notably, the campaign for leaving had buses going around the UK with slogans promising that the £350 million pounds per week that the UK sent to the EU would be brought back into the country and fed directly to funding the National Health Service (free healthcare for all). The campaign was blasted by the UK Statistics Authority for that claim, as the figure fails to take into account any rebates we get from the EU or any special payments that are made for the good of all countries (agricultural development being one stand out).

On the 16th of June, a little over a week before the vote, a poll by Ipsos Mori found that over half of Britain believed that claim as it was given to them. This was a single issue that, for many people, affected which way they were going to vote. And it was a sham. Mere hours after the votes were tallied and it was announced that we were going to be leaving the EU, Farage admitted on television that this money was not going to be funnelled into the NHS at all. It was a mistake by the campaign, he said, and specifically not one of his promises.

tmawa

Americans will find this style of racially motivated, 180-turning politics eerily familiar…

Now, as you’ve probably guessed from the way I’m talking about the Leave side of things, I voted to stay in the EU. I listened to all the arguments until my head was aching, then turned them off and looked at the research I could get my hands on. I pushed aside all the articles talking about people taking pens to the ballot boxes rather than using the pencils provided (they thought that their votes would be changed by corrupt officials; seriously, if there was vote changing happening then entire ballot boxes would be swapped out, rather than individual votes being erased one by one) and trying to blatantly tell horror stories about the opposing side and I tried to find out what I could beyond all the propaganda.

What I uncovered was a situation that I was not capable of understanding fully, and I’m a pretty smart guy. There were so many ins and outs, so much money flowing in both directions, so many positives and negatives to both sides of the argument that I could see why people would want it broken down to something simple. And yet I persevered because this is the future of the country I live in that we’re talking about, and I eventually came down on the Remain vote side because that seemed like it would end up more beneficial to people in my particular situation. And that is what a vote is meant to be about.

But both sides, my own included in this, ran their propaganda campaigns, telling their horror stories of staying/leaving, and giving single headline sized examples of why they were right in every way and the others were wrong in every way. And eventually the British public were buried underneath it all, until only the headlines shone through.

I’ve spoken about campaign promises and money and all the things we were flooded with, and I’d say that those affected the vote for a lot of people who were lost and simply didn’t know which way to vote. I’d also say that a lot of people stuck to their kneejerk reactions, some of them voting the way to leave/stay simply because they never got to when we joined. But there was one issue that kept raising its head throughout this process, and it was an ugly issue that turned a mirror on an equally ugly but growing underbelly in this country. I’ll say it here, because it certainly has a place in a post about oversimplification of issues: immigration was a big factor in this vote. The Leave campaign was made up of groups such as UKIP, Britain First, BNP (a militant group who have viciously attacked people over the colour of their skin or even sexual orientation and who lead their “soldiers” to believe they’re doing the Queen’s bidding to save the country, through the use of falsified documents – a story I’ve heard from two very separate people who have left the organisation after waking up) and they vilified immigrants throughout. A lot of people wanted to leave the EU simply because they felt that there were too many brown people coming to this country. So much for a United Kingdom, eh?

bloodybrexit

Today, youths in this country are marching on London protesting the racist rhetoric that fuelled the referendum, as well as the fact they were denied a vote in something that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

I’ve had a headache since I found out how the vote went. It kind of feels like a hangover; you know the dull ache that spreads and falls back like the tides. I look forwards into this future I voted against and there is nothing there. Nothing to fear, but also nothing to look forward to. For all my research I still have no idea of how this will affect us, and I do mean Kim and I personally here. It might not affect us at all. Everything may go on as it would have done, or at least with so little disruption that we won’t think anything has changed from how things would have been otherwise. As I’m not one of these who brought this all down to a single magical issue that would solve the country’s problems, that’s the best I can hope for.

And I do still have hope. For all the possible changes that are ahead of us, be they good or bad, hope remains. Even unable to see nothing ahead but darkness I have faith in myself and my loved ones, enough to know that we will be fine, one way or another. I think that’s the only thing I really can say for sure right now.

Whatever happens, we will endure.

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8 thoughts on “What A Difference A Day Makes

  1. No reason to get excited over the Brexit.

    First of all they have to find out what the Hell it means. It is the first time ever. No precedent at all. That’ll take at least a year. Then they have to negotiate how the leave is going to be realized. That’ll take at least a year. Then they have to create and agree on new arrangements between the UK and the EU, the actual ‘divorce papers’. This is also new, and will take at least a year. Then they have to agree on what Articel 50 actually means, before they sign it, and when they sign it they have a two years notice before they leave entirely. Minimum five years in total. Minimum. Lots of things can happen before that. Many of the in-between dicisions have to go out in referendum and public vote in each and every member country unless they change the procedure.

    It will take years and years and billions of pages of bureaucratic formulars, committee reports, etc.

    I’m not worried.

    As soon as everybody is through with panicking and running around screaming it’ll all be back to normal EU-bureaucratic mudd-walking again, nothing ever really gets done in the EU as we all know. Just papers being pushed around.

    The more things change the more they stay the same…

    That’s the way I see it anyway…

    The right-wing nationalist scurge, spreading like a plague, yet again, over Europe is another thing. We HAVE to address this.

  2. “… twenty four little hours…”

    Just as I thought, I am glad we agree on this as well. And as with every divorce, this one is about the money, too. Money doesn’t have to exist of course, but it will work out even as a “promise of more money”. It is so easy to forget a big picture when they narrow a view to that one point.

    If my memory serves me well, this all was Cameron’s f*ck-up from the previous elections, he played that nationalistic rhetoric card in order to get the votes from people who would not usually vote for his party, hoping that majority of Britons would never vote to leave. And then Farage & UKIP turned that promise against him in, I must admit, brilliant way. Of course, they were both lying in a way (how else both options could be perfect, one excludes the other as I see it), but this is how the game is played in their part of swamp.

    As Martin mentioned, this happens for a first time so no one is really sure what will happen next. I tend to share his opinion that it will end up as a pushing-paper-around game, and really hope nothing huge will change the lives of ordinary people. Even if Scotland makes another referendum to leave UK and succeed, nothing major will happen. People, culture, economies are too intertwined and total break out is something no one really wants. What I would not like to see is resurrection of violence in Northern Ireland, though. But what we all want and what will really happen is usually out of our hands.

    Thanks for this post, I wanted to hear about it from someone who lives there and someone who’s opinion I respect.

  3. Couldn’t agree more with the above two comments. The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly, if at all, despite how quickly this decision arrived. From what I can tell, there’s even a large petition demanding another vote now that the talk has turned away from rhetoric and more to consequences (i.e., away from slogans and more to analysis, which, as you say, was lacking in the leadup).

    And who’s to say this won’t be reversed in the future? A generation hence, a newer crop of politicians – a younger crop – might raise joining again (assuming there was ANY permanent change wrought by leaving in the first place). With the rise in the ease of availability of information thanks to the internet, with a true ‘internet generation’ who’ve grown up with the idea they can research for themselves, who distrust the mainstream media simply because they’ve been lied to by it so often, with the ubiquity of social media, the knee-jerk xenophobia espoused by the bigots will hopefully become less of a factor (I’m not naive enough to hope it’ll be eradicated entirely).

    Generally, history has been a pendulum swing. At the moment, it’s leaning towards far more ‘conservative’ ideologies (to be polite) all over the world (shamefully, often in response to the tragedy faced by asylum seekers). Some of the bigots and xenophobes also happen to be skilled communicators (rather like a certain Chaplin-moustached dictator whose threat seems long ago, but whose ghost can still be heard rattling about). But with the internet – the speed at which information can be exposed and accountability can be demanded, with which news can be shared and consequences shown – we have a power injected into the mix we’ve never had before (we being humanity). The pendulum will swing back, or maybe this still relatively new method of communication will break the pendulum completely.

    Hmm. Been so focused on ranting at politicians on Twitter for so long I’ve forgotten how to construct anything longer than 140 characters and have it mean something. Not sure where I was going with all this.

    Besides (flashing neon) BREXIT (echo machine) … brexit … brexit … how’ve you guys all been?

  4. I know you guys are right about how long this will take, even if we did just stick a huge middle finger up at Europe and then act shocked when they started demanding we leave right the fuck now. The thing is, the longer it takes, the more things will be up in the air. I’m a planner (if you were to see the complexity of my budget, you’d see how much of an understatement that is) but can’t plan for something when I can’t even know when I’ll see what it is. It leaves me feeling uneasy.

    Globally, British businesses lost one point two trillion pounds in value overnight. Now, as someone who views money in terms of how many hot wings that can buy, I feel sick at the thought of it. That’s destabilising not just those businesses but all those who have agreements with those businesses, as well as everything around them. We may have set more than just ourselves up for a financial crisis and that worries me, especially with the Revelations-warned stuff happening in America at the moment.

    I’m also angry because so many people are searching to see what it will mean for the country now we’re leaving Europe, which implies they didn’t bother to research before they cast their vote. Either that or they didn’t bother to vote at all.

    So many of the promises put forwards by the leave side have already been cancelled out or reduced to more realistic levels, leaving me even feeling sorry for the people who voted us into this mess. Bigotry and ill-education aside, they were people who thought they were doing what was right for the country based on what they were told. And, as happens every day in politics, they were betrayed by their leaders.

    Things will settle down, eventually. But that will still leave much of the problem in place, as Martin pointed out. People are being raised in conditions of fear and hatred, and are picking sides due to it. The world is embroiled in a civil war at this very moment. It just doesn’t know it yet, or its head is so far up its own problems that it has to pretend everything is alright simply to cope.

  5. So, Cameron resigns, and first reaction from everybody is, finally a politician who accepts the consequence of defeat. Next reaction, oh, the stuck-up twat didn’t see it coming. Next reaction, bloody wanker, leaving the blame on somebody else. That is how it goes.

    Actually it was strategically very clever of him. It will prospone the final dicision, because nobody really wants to sign the papers. The may go down in history as the idiot responsible for World War III or something worse like the final and absolute collapse of economy as we know it.

    So, by ‘doing the right thing’ he has actually bought Britain enough time to regroup and reconcider. Unless, of course Frau Merkel puts her foot down and demands action.

  6. I might be wrong, but now it seems that major politicians in EU – Merkel, Hollande and Renzi – can’t wait for GB to leave. Almost as if they were hoping for the “leave” option to win….

    • Wouldn’t surprise me. This country has been getting increasingly racist as time goes on, and it’s been used as a tactic by policy makers to appeal to certain elements of the public. So we’ve got our politicians lambasting all European policy right in front of Europe, blaming them for everything wrong with the world, and claiming they get nothing from Europe at all (in a bid to further their careers rather than because it’s true). All the while they’re selling a story that we’ll still have all the benefits of being in the EU (which are very nicely mentioned by name but distanced from being an EU perk) without any of the responsibilities of being a member nation.

      It’s like we’re a guest at their house, paying them rent while we’re there, but slagging them off to our friends while sitting in their living room. Rent or not, you’d be happy when that guest buggers off.

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