Months have passed since, what many thought to be impossible, happened. After a populist campaign, based on lies and fueled with fear, by professional cowards such as Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, our friends from Great Britain voted to leave the European Union. A construct built on piece, cultural exchange and wealth they also played a part in founding in the first place. But that´s a different story. I asked myself many times: “How could this happen?” In the end I think the answer is ‘relatively’ easy.
First off, you have to remember that a referendum, contrary to an actual government election, has only a very short time span to win votes and calculate risks. This also means less time for many to soak in the possible outcomes of what they´re voting for. You know the feeling when you stand in the electronic store and really want that 50 inch smart TV? The salesman tells you about the curved screen, 4K quality and all the other cool things you can do with it. “Don´t worry about the cost, we offer a payment plan.” You´re enthusiastic and all you see is the telly and the amazing cinema nights you´ll have, watching Lord of the Rings or Star Wars on it. Would you have talked to your significant other or a family member who is aware of your finances they would have told you that you can´t the TV at this point and the monthly costs with the 15% interest rate are way too high.
Just… the majority of the Brits who voted really wanted to have that TV and did not bother talking to anyone else. And after the deal was sealed the sleazy salesmen Boris and Nigel quit their jobs and went to work somewhere else, because in fact the TV isn´t even 4K and also has no curved screen! It was all lies and made up, but wrapped in a nice package and presented well.
The second point is, that the outcome cannot be reversed as “easily”. If you elect a party, president or chancellor who makes unpopular or ignorant decisions about pensions, trade laws or taxes this can most likely be reversed after the next election, once a different party is in government. Not so much with a referendum. This will stand. It´ll stand no matter who gets into office because a referendum is binding, based on the “will of the people”. Britain can´t turn around in 2 months and say “well, we´ll do another one.” and then another one after that until the outcome the leaders now want is reached.
The majority of my generation (I´m from the 80´s) has voted to remain. Of course! Because we grew up knowing nothing else but freedom and peace. We can travel and work wherever and whenever we want. I know a lot of Brits living abroad and they´re all gutted about the outcome. The vote was very close, too close as some may say. But this is unfortunately how democracy works. The majority vote goes. Now, granted, in order to make sure the country stays governable it´d been an idea to demand a “relative majority” of 60 – 65%. Because if you have nearly 50% of the people not agreeing with something that will irreversibly impact and change their lives in ways we can´t even predict – That´s not a good thing. But it´s water under the bridge at this point.
And all of a sudden the “new” British leadership is in absolutely no hurry to leave the EU. Because after another professional coward, named Cameron, left the stage many realize that they´re alone now. There is suddenly nobody left to lead them into the future of returning the Empire to its old glory. And so it starts to dawn on some that maybe it wasn´t so smart to leave after all.
Who is to blame then? My opinion on this is clear and has two main points: First, The “RemaIN” campaign and its political leaders have not done nearly enough to bring their point across to the undecided or even “leave” audience. They backed down and folded like a 10 year old trying to do a 300 KG squat. They were weak in TV and radio debates and did not advertise and promote as much as they could and should have. Secondly, the young voters let themselves down as well. With a participation average between 60% and 70% they were far behind the “older” Generation aged 65 plus, who reached an average of up to 90% in some regions. Ask yourself: Did you vote? There are only very few excuses to not have voted. And living abroad (as long as it´s less than 15 years) or having had “no time” is not one of them.
It was the responsibility of Cameron, the elected party and leaders to make sure that Britain has a fair chance to vote and is not being launched down a steep hill with no breaks, by fear and hate mongers. They failed. They also failed their duty to their county and the people living in it. Not just the ones with British passports but also the many foreigners who live, work and pay taxes there and of course the many British expats in all the European countries.
I wish all my British friends the best and hope this will turn out well for Britain in the end – Because in my opinion Europe and Britain have a difficult friendship but we must never become enemies.
Catch ya later,
EDIT: What are your opinions on the topic? Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Maybe you also have some valuable insight on some things I wrote maybe being right / wrong or questionable. I´d very much like to read about it!