Here we go…
So I switched on the TV this morning, and found that the UK had voted to leave the EU. I have not made any secret of my own view, and so this result frightens and upsets me.
(Of course I could be wrong.)
As I keep telling myself, moments like these are the price we pay for democracy. (If you voted Leave, you too will have had similar moments in the past.)
It is good that the government and establishment of England and the EU have had to recognise the existence of a huge number of disenchanted and angry citizens out there, people who do not feel that their country understands or sympathises with their difficulties. Not only has the establishment had to recognise these people; it now has to address their concerns. As it should.
And we all have to recognise the troubling divisions that the voting appears to have shown up: divisions between
- Scotland and England
- London and the rest of England
- (Apparently) rich and poor
- Young and old.
However, there are many wiser and more knowledgeable people to analyse the voting patterns, and assess what happens next. I would just like to move on to a connected issue, and again forgive me if you have heard me say this before.
People may ask Why the Leave campaign won, and I expect we’ll hear things like “Labour support for Remain was too lack-lustre; the Remain campaign generally was insufficiently positive; some politicians have been trashing the EU for decades, and mud sticks…etc.” As with the General Election – Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg seemed to fall over themselves to take the blame for losing seats. This is the respectable thing for them to do.
But this always seems to me to reduce elections/referendums to a simple equation:
Charismatic and trusted politicians + hard work on the ground + lively adverts + attractive manifesto pledges = RESULT.
Similarly, in the sheep dog trials I used to watch with my grandmother (anyone else remember “One Man and his Dog”?) – well-trained dog + experienced shepherd + good communication = sheep doing what you want.
Does free will not enter into this? Even sheep can be difficult, and as for voters…
With great power comes great responsibility, as we all know. With very small power also comes very small but real responsibility. It is not politically acceptable for David Cameron to say “In my opinion, the voters were wrong.” It sounds arrogant. But maybe they were. And will they ever admit it? Does anyone ever say “I voted for X (or I didn’t vote at all) and now I think I was mistaken/selfish/careless”?
What would it take for Leave voters to admit they were wrong?
What would it take for Remain voters?
So.. well… if, in five years,
- We have left the EU without a huge amount of ill-will
- There have not been catastrophic or at least seriously negative economic consequences for the UK
- Our government is spending more on services like education and health
- The world is less, or at least not more, chaotic
- We are acting as a nation more kindly to the disadvantaged, both at home and abroad
- Britain’s influence in the world is greater and more beneficial than it is now
- Scotland is still part of the UK (I may be reluctantly willing to waive this clause)
…then I hope I will be brave enough to admit that the Christians who voted for Brexit (many of whom did so in order to achieve these and similar things) were right and I was wrong.
I think it’s time I wrote something about books… maybe next time!
Love from the PPI Blogger