Friday, 24 June 2016

I Don't Love EU, But I Always Will

So the results are in, and they are not what many of us were expecting. We're constantly being told that social media is an echo chamber but I'm always shocked to what extent that appears to be true. While I was always acutely aware of the possibility of leaving, it felt remote. There was no possible way that it would actually occur - and yet it has. I had planned to write a post about how remaining is only the beginning, and we need to fully engage with the EU but that's obviously now a little irrelevant.

Understandably, considering the divisive campaigns, people are upset this morning. I've seen people angry that the decision was even given to us to begin with - and it's easy to empathise with that given the sheer amount of people who have complained about not being properly informed (albeit within my personal echo chamber). But the Conservative Government put this into their manifesto, and they enacted that manifesto promise. That's exactly what is meant to happen, and if people don't like it they shouldn't have voted for the Conservatives - although my echo chamber probably didn't.

Obviously of people feel like the campaigns were less than truthful, and worse than being less than truthful, that the leave campaign was designed to be divisive. That's a real issue, unfortunately, it means very little at this point.

It's clear that the economy is going to go through a tough period, the FTSE and the pound are both down, but also the Government will almost certainly change. Can Cameron and Osborne continue after both campaigned against this? In fact, Osborne's last ditch 'emergency budget' probably sealed his fate. All of this causes yet more uncertainty for markets to go haywire with. I hope that eventually things will recover, but the timeline for that is completely unknown.

Both Sinn Féin and the SNP have made sounds about independence referendums, and based on the ever increasing gap between Holyrood and Westminster I wouldn't be surprised if the latter does leave. There's now also the question of how the relationship between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland changes. If our exit leads to the dissolution of the UK then Cameron will certainly go down in history.

It's a quite incredible change. I've seen so many MPs say that this is a "wake up call" to the "political class", which is a frankly ridiculous statement. The entire job of an MP is to be in touch with their electorate, and they have consistently failed to do that within the last decade - and yet they're surprised when people vote against them. 

However, 'taking back power' - or whatever phrase you wish to use - can be a positive. It is true that by definition we now have more say in our political system, at least hypothetically. We could use this to really shake up politics and kill the apathy that seems so systemic, although it's difficult to see how the two sides of this debate can reconcile enough for invoke that change. It is pointless painting all of one side as 'racist', especially without listening to their problems, and likewise saying that anyone who wanted to remain didn't 'believe in Britain' is silly as well.

Democracy is the will of the people, and even where you don't agree with them you need to make it work. We can make this work. We can show Europe that even outside of the EU we can be an ally. I just hope that the campaigns haven't damaged relations too badly.

And we better get a bank holiday out of this.

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