The election of Ronald Reagan. The stolen election of 2000 that put George W. Bush in charge. And now this. The three worst political decisions of my life.
Scotland will have another referendum and will vote to rejoin the EU and leave Britain. You can’t ask a question twice and not get a yes. Armed guards on the 300-mile border between the Republic and Northern Ireland will be much more than the fragile peace can handle. Sinn Fein has already said that this result removes any moral right for England to command Belfast. The IRA, in one form or another, will start using violence again to win their argument, probably in mainland Britain. Great Britain will cease to exist.
Across the continent, far-right groups will be immeasurably strengthened. Marine le Pen has successfully rebranded her father’s party, and the world will be watching next spring’s election in France, to see just how far the Front National can now go. But that may be the least of it. Nationalists and racists from Greece, Poland, Holland, Austria and many more countries will be able to conflate EU membership with the unprecedented refugee crisis that is our own making, and agitate for an exit in order to keep their country ‘safe’ from these outsiders. The Euro will collapse, or retreat to a few rich countries in Europe’s North. Greece will exit untidily, and for a while fall into chaos.
History has shown European nationalism to be dangerous and destructive, and it is on the rise. Vladimir Putin must be beside himself with joy.
England is going to find out that decades of decay have left it with only one true profitable sector, and it is finance that is going to be hurt the most. The pound lost ten percent of its value in just two hours yesterday, falling to its lowest level in 31 years. This should be great news for exporters, but Britain’s manufacturing sector has been wrecked and ignored for a generation. We don’t make things anymore.
David Cameron will be remembered as the man who oversaw his country fall to pieces, but this is the result of centre-right and hard-right governments since 1980. They’re all to blame. Irresponsible and idiotic racists like Nigel Farage successfully convinced Britain that the country was being overwhelmed by refugees, when most other European nations have accepted many more, and that Britain’s borders could not be controlled, when the opposite is true. They’re made of water, for christ’s sake.
How can this have happened. Not one person I know thinks this is a good idea.
In my view, Brexit is very much about the stratification of wealth in the United Kingdom. London and prosperous corners of the South voted strongly to stay. Working class areas wanted to go. In great part (I believe) this was simply to stick it to a detested governing class, who told us that we were all in this together then claimed back thousands to install floating duck-houses on their private lake.
Sure, the stock market dropped like a stone yesterday, but if you don’t own any shares, why would you give a damn. These people have seen their livelihoods destroyed and vital services cut, while Etonians like David Cameron appear at speeches in white tie and cut income tax for the rich.
There’s plenty of money, it just doesn’t get shared around. Britain appears wedded to spending 100-billion pounds on renewing Trident, while its society falls apart and politicians claim that the government can’t pay for the things people need.
Austerity has really just been a war on the poor, as was trickle-down economics in the 80’s. Britain’s rich have got much richer since the 2008 financial crash, but the real economy has not recovered at all. People are angry, they want change, and they’re not particularly concerned in what form that change comes. Anything is better than this.
Worst of all, this is good for Donald Trump. For all the talk of walls, menstruating journalists and Mexican rapists, he’s still only ten points back in most polls. Ten points is nothing, it’s not yet July. Trump’s success comes from the same place as Brexit. Angry poor white people who have had enough of being screwed and will vote for anyone so long as they offer radical change. If Trump gets in, there will be a world war, and we’re all fucked. It’s deadly serious.
This was a disastrous decision for England, for Great Britain, for Europe, and for everyone. Yet I remain fearful that the big one is still to come in November. For nothing now can ever come to any good.