After the EU Referendum
In the blog I posted a few weeks ago in which I set out my reasons for and against contininuing EU membership and decided on balance in favour of “Remain”. Many of my aforementioned friends etc. followed rather similar paths of reasoning – to the same conclusion. But the high-profile campaigning on both sides of the debate was lamentable: negativity, mud-slinging, abuse, exaggerated scare stories… The only significant British political figure to offer balanced and positive arguments was the Labour Party leader, the gentle and courteous Jeremy Corbyn, but because he set out the issues in a non-contentious way his voice was drowned under the cacophony of playground name-calling, so few people heard him.
In the end, the crass public debate was in effect reduced to two issues: (1) if we leave the EU our economy will suffer, with negative consequences for jobs, prices, standards of living, etc.; (2) if we stay in the EU we’ll be inundated by ever-increasing floods of migrants from across Europe, crippling our social services and infrastructure. I’m ashamed to say that more British people have voted on the basis of fear of immigrants than worries about economic prospects. I don’t want my country to be tarnished by accusations of racism and xenophobia, but such accusations are now inevitable. As for the effects on the economy, we won’t have to wait long for those to hit us. Within months, possibly weeks, many of those happy “Leave” voters will discover they can no longer afford the lifestyles to which they’ve become accustomed. Indeed, they might no longer have jobs.
The outcome of the UK’s Referendum on continuing EU membership has been a perfect demonstration of how to lose friends and stop influencing people. The main “Leave” proponents bleated about “Making Great Britain great again”. Sorry, chaps. You’ve succeeded only in making the country small and insignificant. I don’t think it’s an achievement of which we can be proud.