It was a fascinating day yesterday, watching the Brexit results come in and seeing how divided United Kingdom had become. With a turnout of just 72.2 per cent, and a difference in leave/remain of just over a million votes, the United Kingdom has voted to leave the EU. And the shockwaves began almost immediately with literally billions being wiped out of economies around the world.
I don’t really know what’s best for the UK so I’m not going to sit here in judgement and say what a terrible thing this is, or what a great thing this is – I would have voted remain, but that’s my uninformed opinion. And that’s what I’m so disappointed in. A vote like this, a referendum that has such grave consequences no matter the result should never have been put to a public vote. It is for exactly these sorts of decisions that we have representative democracy.
Not many people in the public properly understood the debate. There was a lot of rhetoric about only racists would vote for leave, or the wealthy would vote for remain but no-one made a clear, concise case for either. And so we get a 52-48 split. On a decision that *could* send the world into a global recession similar to 2008’s GFC.
David Cameron has resigned as Prime Minister, and he should. It was his cowardice that gave birth to this ridiculous scenario. In order to placate a number of loud Euro-sceptic members of his party, he promised to hold a referendum on the issue. And so, he created a situation where people *all around the world* have felt the impact, because of a margin of just over a million people.
We elect people because they are supposed to know the nuances of these sorts of things and make decisions that are best for our country. Direct democracy doesn’t tend to play out that well because it works on the assumption that a million people are smarter than one. Which is cool and all, if you’re in the million. But if you’re a minority, well look out, coz you’re fucked.
A number of pundits have called Nigel Farage the most influential British politician in a generation because he has dragged the UK out of the EU. A man who has tried to win election to Westminster five times and failed every single time. And he is now the most influential politician in a generation. Because David Cameron gave over a massive decision like this to the masses.
The Brexit vote is a wonderful sign that we dodged a bullet not having Colin Craig get into parliament here in New Zealand. One of his coalition bottom lines was that public referenda would be binding. Binding! So any time there were enough angry people about anything, who could emotionally and rhetorically sway people with shitty information and win a referendum by just 1.5 per cent of the population we could dramatically alter the shape of our country. But this Brexit thing is orders of magnitude bigger because it impacts the whole world.
I have questions I don’t know the answers to, such as all my friends who work in places like Amsterdam and Paris and Berlin under British Passports – will they be able to keep their jobs?
The people I feel kind of sorry for in all this are those who voted to leave because they were told this wouldn’t have an impact on the economy. Then they went to bed. Then they woke up the next morning and saw actually this has had a bigger impact on the economy than nearly anything in the last 25 years. Reality has never bit so hard and so fast for anything.
David Cameron and the rest of your Conservative team should hold your heads in shame. Your abdication of responsibility as politicians and leaders of your country has meant the whole world has suffered. And it’s not as if your country hasn’t had a history of screwing the world over in the past.