Friday, 24 June 2016

A Sad Day for Sense and Sensibilities.

So, the votes are cast and the battle is over. The rabid right led by Johnson, Farage, and a few gutter press editors who have been anything but balanced or humane in their presentation of the facts and implications, have bellowed loudly enough to fan the flames of shallow self-interest and xenophobia. Britain is leaving the European Union.

I started writing a long and impassioned post about it, but decided there was no point. What’s done is done and I would only have been largely repeating myself anyway. Suffice it to say that I’m disappointed, angry, and a little ashamed to be British.

Only it wasn’t the British who voted us out, was it? It was the English and Welsh. Every single council in Scotland voted Remain, and the popular vote up there was overwhelmingly in favour of that option. So let’s spare a thought for the Scots. Over the past seven hundred years or so, Scotland has mostly been ruled, or at least dominated, by England, and now they’re being taken kicking and screaming out of a union they didn’t want to leave. And who swung the vote? The bigoted and xenophobic element down south, popularly known as Little Englanders. I find it hard to believe that this result won’t be leapt on by the Nationalist movement in Scotland to force another referendum on Scottish independence. And one little irony attaching to that eventuality is that the Union flag so beloved of the loony right will become redundant because the blue panels will have to go.

And so I’ll leave it at that, apart from adding a little aside: I was at Uttoxeter station this morning, and somebody had hung Union flag bunting across the waiting areas on both platforms. The flags on the eastbound platform were the right way up, but those on the other platform were upside down. It led me to wonder who put it there, and whether their error was due to ignorance or whether it was meant to carry a subtle statement of some kind. I don’t suppose I’ll ever know.

At some point when the dust has settled, I’ll probably have something to say on another question that concerns me: who will replace Cameron as Prime Minister? I’ve been a critic of his ever since he took office for reasons which I’ve given often enough, but he showed hints every now and again that he does have a little heart of sorts. When I look at the two most likely candidates to succeed him, I see no sign of even that. But we’ll see.


Madeline said...

On the bright side, doesn't this pave the way for another Scottish referendum? I heard even London is thinking of seceding.

JJ Beazley said...

It does, and I would miss them because I see them as an integral part of our identity. And I would wish them well because Scottish politics have long seemed to me to be more people-focused than English politics. But then Little Britain would become even littler England and Wales, and that could be bad news news for the poorer people.

I'm not sure how London could secede; I don't know how such a move would work. Would the capital of England move to Oxford, as Charles I did during the Civil War? Could London become a state and re-join the EU? I've no idea, but I have to say that I would miss London less than I would miss Scotland.

Della said...

Amen. My feelings go out to the Scottish now as well. Maybe there's some way for them to keep their EU status while staying with Great Britain. I don't know, it just seems that burning more bridges might not be the best move right now. I have to think of the U.S. and how a number of impassioned Bernie Sanders voters don't want to vote at all in the coming election because Hilary Clinton is too much of a compromise. Sounds principled but a little like cutting off one's nose to spite the face. Anyway, I hope people can pull together now and try to steer this to a place where at least, the far right will not be victorious.

JJ Beazley said...

Well, the Scots have a reputation for being 'canny.' I expect they'll do perfectly fine at working out what's best for them and take that course. That was why I predicted they would stay with the UK in the independence referendum - but that was before Brexit. Scotland is a very small country in terms of population, but if they leave the UK and stay in the EU, they will at least be a small player in a big team. If they can't get special concessions and choose to remain in the UK, they will be a small player in a small team - a team in which they have always complained (with justification) about being treated as an inferior partner.

So now you have me worrying about the US presidential election. I suppose the reluctance of some Democrats to vote for Hilary might be balanced by a similar reluctance on the part of some Republicans to vote for Trump. But I have the impression that Democrat voters are rather more principled and ethically-minded than Republican voters, so maybe not. The prospect of Trump becoming the 'leader of the free world' is a little chilling.

Della said...

It is scary, I know. I've heard several people now say they 'don't like either candidate' and won't vote, which is particularly chilling coming from Democrats. But it comes mostly from the young who feel completely hung out to dry: the 2008 economic slump has done 0 for their future and university costs are astronomical, the country is totally polarised, among many other problems. There's also the assumption (among Dems) that Hillary Clinton will win no matter what anyone does because it's inconceivable that we could actually vote in such a fool as Trump. This is dangerous thinking, after all, everyone I know assumed Britain would vote to stay in the EU. Anyway, I'll be voting and so will both my kids this year, all in the right direction, even if our votes will only be counted in New York State, whose 'blue' Dem status wouldn't change if hell froze over :).

JJ Beazley said...

This brings up the classic of question of whether a person should vote (or abstain) strictly according to their preference, or whether they should vote tactically. The former is clearly the more objectively democratic; it's what I've always done and why I was incensed a few years ago when there was a move to make abstention illegal in Britain. On the other hand, when the situation is as extreme as it is in America where a man like Trump could become President by default, I would say there is definitely a case for voting tactically.