The only way forward is to vote again

Photo © Joao Diniz Sanches

There is a large part of me so sick of what is going on in MY Country, that I just want to walk away. But I can’t.

I recall that positive day after the referendum – and I mean 1975. The public’s majority feeling, for the first time for awhile, was that the UK had truly faced reality, and walked away from nonsensical imperialist nostalgia.

The country had embraced an international future, where everyone could benefit. This came after so many sad and divisive years. I remember working by candlelight during Ted Heath’s three-day week in 1974, at Procter & Gamble FFS.

In 1975 there was optimism that we could all come together.

After the 2016 referendum, I walked around Bath. I wished that I had a sign on my head saying “I’m old, but I voted Remain.” My entire family was upset, including my then 90 year old father. He voted, he told me, for the grandchildren, despite being a lifelong Tory, and despite having largely Leaver friends.

This week, after the Brexshit chaos in Parliament, I cannot help but walk the streets again, searching for clues, who voted what, and why.

I try to respect the democratic process, liberal that I am. But what I cannot forgive or respect is the lying. I cannot forgive the lack of true leadership. The false promises. The selfishness, the ego-driven posturing. This is all compounded by the crass ineptitude of both government and opposition. They might as well have the same party name.

I am angry.

No one owned up to the truth – the blindingly obvious fact that ANY deal would be worse for the average person in this country than the status quo. It’s not a matter of incompetent negotiation, though Davis would be a global exemplar of that. It’s a matter of reality. Jingoist fairy tales against a rules-based system. Duh.

And, whilst it is true that not every Leave voter is a racist or anti-immigrant – I know many Leavers of principle – all racists seem to be Leavers. Don’t forget that. It is a very nasty undercurrent in today’s British society.

When we add to that this week’s report by Philip Alston on the state of poverty in the UK, I want to weep.

Anyone who does not believe this report should walk the streets or visit a food bank. It’s not “EU Scroungers”. It is our own ex-servicemen. Full employment, when we have zero hours contracts everywhere, is a sham. Only the rich have prospered. That is today’s class system – rich versus poor – and it has never been so stark.

Of course, the argument is that it’s immigrants. But the UK has always had control over that. Others say that the state of the country is all the EU’s fault, somehow. There is no EU directive that the UK has ever really disagreed with, or that harmed us. Ever.

In fact we used immigration to power the economy. And we used the EU and its rules to our economic and social benefit. Looking forward, no one can force us to join an EU army. And we could have vetoed any new members. If we leave, we have no voice on anything.

The current state of our country is self-inflicted. Totally.

Own it.

So, what now? The British public did this to themselves. You can blame Cameron all you like. Or Farage. Or May. Or £350 million buses. But at the end of the day, the majority of people in this country voted for this situation. And don’t give me those statistical arguments. Everyone had a chance to vote. Those that didn’t, well, shame on them.

So, where are we?

May’s “This Deal, No Deal or No Brexit” sounds about right. We’ll see what the next week brings. But at the end of the day, the British public voted for this.

The only way forward seems to me to vote again – and confirm that this either is, or is not, the society that we, the public, collectively want.

Mick Yates