“Vimes had once discussed the Ephebian idea of ‘democracy’ with Carrot, and had been rather interested in the idea that everyone had a vote until he found out that while he, Vimes, would have a vote, there was no way in the rules that anyone could prevent Nobby Nobbs from having one as well. Vimes could see the flaw there straight away.”
―Terry Pratchett,The Fifth Elephant
If you are a fan of the Discworld novels, then this quote will probably come to mind every time you go to vote in an election. It certainly rattled round my head a lot on Thursday and Friday during the referendum. However much I disagree with the Leave campaign, they have won, and I have to find a way to make a positive out of that. It has been a bitter, divisive and awful campaign that has torn apart friends and families; I know of at least 4 people who have unfriended each other on facebook (oh my god! The horror!) and will probably never talk to each other again.
Of course, the low point of all this was the assassination of Jo Cox. However anybody tries to spin it, this was an act of political terrorism, just because Tommy Mair wasn’t part of any formal organisation, he claimed allegiance to the leave campaign and called Mrs Cox a traitor. That makes him as much a terrorist as Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter. And yet still, even after this awfulness, people were calling anybody wanting to vote remain a traitor (including the guy I had this infamous argument with once), while those on the other side were calling anyone wanting to leave, for whatever reason, racists and fascists and bigots. I am just glad it’s all over now, and I hope we can heal the fractures running through society.
Even the Leave campaign didn’t expect to win. I realise that that sounds insane, but it is the only thing that makes sense. Farage came out apologetically, and all those Tory MPs wrote that letter saying they wanted Cameron to stay. He didn’t and their bet was safe anyway. I have spent the day trying to come to terms with the result. I can live with the leave vote, I can accept that we will leave the EU. I have a problem with what happens next.
My problem is that nothing will change. My problem is that the angry people who have voted against the unequal, fucking dreadful status quo have been lied to, and short changed. My problem is that the people who woke up this morning happy that their children’s future was brighter and better, and filled with a well funded NHS, houses for all, and jobs with living wages for anyone willing to put in a day’s graft will be thoroughly disappointed. I was told that ‘no fucking Europeans’ would be telling us what to do now, despite the fact that, as far as I am aware, none were anyway. And then when I suggested that the bastards would always win, that ‘at least they were our bastards’. Hoorah for the brits, yay Jingoism. What the fuck does it matter where a cunt comes from, he is still a cunt. I meant Rupert Murdoch when I mentioned the bastards anyway, and he’s definitely not one of ‘ours’, whatever ‘ours’ means.
I have never wanted to be wrong more in my life, and I would like you to send me this piece in five years time and tell me how wrong I was, and that Brexit (which is not a biscuit) was the best thing ever to happen in the history of England. (For surely, the United Kingdom is now utterly fucked, Scotland will get their second referendum, they will leave, and wonderfully, the IRA seem to be making vague mutterings about a United Ireland again, I can only apologise to Wales for dragging them down with us, but we are England again, have no doubt about that. I hope the woman shouting ‘this is our England!’ on the news is happy now.)
The call for a second referendum is utterly futile as well. I laughed when Nigel Farage suggested that in the event of a 52/48 split against him then he would push for another referendum. It would be utterly disingenuous of me to suggest that it’s ok for my side to do it.
I have heard from left-leaning friends of mine how they see our new, bright future, and I love what my friend Steve Carter said :-
“On a deep level, the universe is about change and in change lies potential; potential for good or bad but change is what we have chosen and we now have a real and palpable opportunity for change. I think this is the first step in a long process of seeing good change to our democracy. We have just said no to unelected bodies that govern us so I now see the writing on the wall for the Lords in it’s current form – that has to change but it will take time. We also remove the umph of the UK flag wavers – of course, the Scottish will be flag waving. I expect the forces within the Labour party to mobilise a real offence on the Tories but fear they may end up back stabbing internally for a while. We are now blessed with a global communication system and a much more liberal social outlook. People are conscious of the environment and our place within a global society so I do not see a swing to the right. I think we will see a knee jerk to the left and I hope we have a GE soon. However maybe we need some stability for the next couple of years. We have laws in place for rights and the environment and I see nothing changing any time soon in that regard. It is up to us to write to our MPs, go demonstrating and make our voices heard. Only apathy we lead us to nothing positive and there are 48% who have woken up fuming today so hopefully they will be vocal. Today is a good day for democracy. The EU, for all it’s good points, is far from a shining light for democracy.”
and if we were exiting under a different administration, I might have hishope, I certainly don’t disagree with him fundamentally, but I’m a pragmatist andwe have done this under a government who are a fair bit right of Thatcher. I don’t thinkwe’re doing Progrexit.
I am also once again proper cross with the BBC. I am certain that there are decent, well-educated, sensible people voting leave. The statistics bear that out if nothing else. But all the coverage shows angry people shouting ‘immigrants’ and waving flags with no coherent argument to back them up. Equally, there must be incoherent fuckwits voting remain, but the media’s ‘story’ is only showing the middle class, lentil weaving graduates arguing some philosophical point or another. Never before have I felt so much like we were being deliberately manipulated in a ‘divide and rule’ kind of way. Fuck your story, this is real life, don’t pit whole communities against each other. Now, more than ever, we need to be united in our intent. Angry sink estates need to work with the intellectual wankers (I have never felt more like an overgrown Adrian Mole in my life than writing this paragraph) and overcome your prejudice. Inequality is everyone’s problem, and somebody somewhere is using it to keep us distracted and fighting each other when we should be having a proper fucking revolution.
Nobody is actually going to stop immigration. We need it to keep the country going. Wages are not going to go up even if all the immigrant labour goes back home tomorrow. Austerity will carry on, rich wankers will continue to own more property than they can live in and homes will continue to be for profit, not living in. Look at all the big empty towers of London. Company profits will continue to go towards dividends while the people doing the work are told they can’t be paid more because of the Romanians willing to do it for less. Outside of the EU, or inside the EU, the people in charge are the same people, and there are less other people watching them now. It will be bitter to watch the same people still suffering even when the cheap foreign labour has been deported, after they have been given false hope today, and I will take no joy in telling them I told them so (I will still tell them I told you so though).
You have been sold a scapegoat, it will take you years to realise it, and I hope to god that I am wrong and you get to tell me to my face. Capitalism is your enemy, and a lack of investment. EU regulations do not stop nationalisation, which would solve a huge amount of problems in at least a couple of industries. Thatcher sold us all a lie along the lines of the ‘american dream’, Blair and Cameron have run with it, and now we are all accepting of the Capitalist nightmare, and that the laws of economics are the same as the laws of physics. When the blinkers come off, I will be at the barricades with you, and I will stay your hand at the guillotine. I would like a truly bloodless revolution, (the less said about Farage’s tasteless bullet comments the better) and a truly fairer society.
As an anarchist, and no respecter of borders, laws or conventions, today should have been water off a duck’s back to me. But I do not like to see people duped, and I do not like to think of where they will throw the blame in five years time when things are no better for them. Also, I have ducks, and they hate the fucking rain like everybody else. Like Jo Cox (who I knew little about before her assassination, and cried over for a whole day) said “we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.” Just like me and my ducks.
Don’t listen to the bullshit, look with your eyes.