Right. Time to stop panicking, crying, freaking out - time for a hard hat, cool head, and some thinking.
What happened yesterday shocked even me. And I speak as someone who witnessed Thatcher ejected from power in 1990. Yesterday really was historic, in the sense that a major decision was made at the ballot box, only it was the decision that 48% of voters did not want, and damningly, an increasing number of those in the winning 52% claim they did not understand the implications of. This is why I don't really like democracy. People voting when ill informed and not really thinking tends to equal chaos. However, this isn't about my technocratic tendencies, its about the EU. Me. You.
I am a child of the EEC. It was created in 1975, a year before I was born, and therefore the concept of the EU is one I grew up with, although I never did understand it when I was younger. When I studied politics at A-Level, it became more clear. The 1990s, the post-Thatcher Major Era, certainly defined to me a relationship of instability and bitter sniping. I am surprised that people are using the analogy of divorce for this, as I never really think we've been married. The EU and Britain seem to have regarded each other as a pityfuck that they go to when they need it but really can't stand for the remaining 80% of the time. In the early 1990s, the phrase "Europrats" was coined by the tabloids, as every other day seemed to carry a story about faceless bureaucrats in Brussels imposing horrible laws and taking money for zero credible reason. The Conservative Government under John Major became famous for their Euroscepticism, nearly bringing him down in 1994. I often feel that as a country, we've been grudgingly happy to benefit from the stability and security of Europe - but only on our terms. This is why, in 1995, Britain was warned they could be dumped in the slow lane of a two tier system.
I'll also point out that we are not the "core of Europe." The core of 6 countries, formed in the post-war 1950s, consists of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. These countries are Europe's heart, in a political sense. There is also the fact that we never joined the Euro and also avoided several treaties pushing for deeper integration. Then there's the Blair era, when Europe was treated as a doormat lover whilst he shackled himself to Clinton and then Dubya.
So, if we are not "core player", but rather a more peripheral one, why did Brexit become a reality? Couldn't we have just sighed and said "oh go on then, we'll stay, as long as we don't have to do this, this, and this?"
The reason lies in the fact the voter disenchantment has become a serious reality for any government, regardless of political hue. The areas that voted Leave that have sparked the most dismay are the Labour heartlands of the North and Welsh communities. But think about it - these are communities that were ravaged by Thatcherism, ripping the guts out of industry. Why should people vote to stay in a bloc that doesn't seem to bring them any benefit? One of the shocks for the Remain camp was the dawning realisation that people did not want to stay, because they do not see what they get for it. For them, Brussels is so irrelevant it fades in utter significance. And what they do get, they perceive as a danger and threat to their communities - immigration. Slating people as ignorant when they perceive people arriving and taking jobs is counter productive. A key problem for the Left is its tendency to damn voters as seeing politicians as sales people, offering things, who then get nasty when they don't get them. The rarified air of Westminster and Brussels means diddly squat when you don't have a job, your child doesn't have a job, and is unlikely to get a job, yet people playing with money they shouldn't have done means your life gets more difficult still. Carelessly reductive? Perhaps. But so is the argument that this is all about disliking someone's skin tone. When you feel shoved to the margin of society, it really doesn't matter who it is who has done the shoving. The towns are communities that voted Leave were trumpeted by Richard Littlejohn as "the forgotten towns" - the coastal towns, forgotten suburbs, and rural communities that frequently feel ignored by Westminster Glitterati.
However, the Right is no better. What has really disturbed me over the last couple of months is the ugly mood of psuedo-nationalism. Which certain agitators, including Nigel Farage, an un elected man who merely leads a party and has not a seat in Parliament, have whipped up. It is not racist or xenophobic to hate immigrants with this new logic - its justified, because "they're stealing your jobs." Never mind the successive failures of Governments since the late 1970s pretty much tanked the economy anyway. Never mind the fact that we live in a country that boasts an un elected monarch and still operates a class system dominated by money and primogeniture privilege. Nope, it is far easier to tell the poor and vulnerable to hate people who may be as poor and as vulnerable as they are. I am disgusted with the feebleness of the Labour party in this campaign, who despite being led by two Socialists, did nothing to alleviate fears in their own backyard. As a result, Europe become less something that offers strength and stability and more a bunch of unelected tosspots telling British people what to do, and we've had enough of it.
Brexit is a reality. Those wailing that they didn't realise what they were voting for need to stick a cork in it, because they get on my nerves. But, rather than castigating, time to start thinking about a progressive exit - a Progrexit. Time to bin the ugly nationalism, and also time to stop the nagging for another referendum. Its important that this public spat between three overgrown schoolboys causes limited damage. And its equally important people listen to those who voted to Leave what the other half considered a haven of security and stability - and listen, properly listen, to why.