This blog post is addressed to two groups of people …
Number one, the „ruling elite“ politicians who were – and are – the pro-Europe people. I ask you:
Are you really surprised?
For years, more like decades, you along with others have been complaining about the EU.
Of the 28 countries that up to now made up the EU, you were the one that kept on complaining, even with getting special treatment at so many occasions (starting with Maggie Thatcher way back when), putting less than your fair share into the community money pot, demanding „opt-in“ and „opt-out“ rights for decisions that all other countries carried out (albeit with the bit of complaining here or there, but sticking to it anyway). You continued to complain.
You complained about paying more into the EU than you got out. Even with the billions of rebates you get. You complained, even though – compared to e.g. Germany, which has about 30% bigger population than you do and has about the same GDP as you do – you pay only a third of what Germany pays (2014 numbers, net payments). And still you complained.
And with all those years and decades of complaining of all the political leaders, no matter which side they were from, and continued right up to a couple months ago, something amazing happened: Your populace heard you! They heard your continuous, never ending complaining about the EU. And more and more people started to complain themselves, so you, David Cameron, had the glorious idea of proposing a vote about staying in the EU, or leave. OK, you had pressure in your own party, and the populist a-holes like the Ukip and their gain of votes sort of forced your hand. But still. You decided to just do the „right thing“ and hold an election.
And not only that – all of a sudden you stopped complaining (well, to your constituents, anyway, you kept on complaining to the EU, extorting the other countries for another 200 million of rebates in order for you to be „for staying“ in the EU and advertise that). So you got your 200 mill, and started campaigning for remaining in the EU. Many months. Talking about the advantages of being part of the EU. The advantages you and many of your predecessors in either party never acknowledged before. Finally, you were honest, you warned about what leaving the EU could mean for your country.
And lo and behold – many people couldn’t, no wouldn’t – listen to you. Too long have they heard how bad the EU was for your „great nation“. Too many populist voices were spewing lies and exaggerations about immigration, payments, jobs, … like many people in power, you seemed surprised that your countrymen, many of which hurting by the continuous reduction in net income, while few gain more and more wealth, were not listening to your – for once – rational arguments. Arguments they had never heard from you before.
Believing a person (or party) that does a 180° turn in what they do and say is pretty hard. Why is something they have heard for some 40 odd years all of a sudden wrong?
Sure, there were smart people out there. Mostly the young ones, which grasp both what the freedoms the EU brings them, as well as the potential financial security and outlooks. And the ones that will have to live with their decision the longest. But thanks to a majority of old people that had listened to all your complaining the longest, you’re now standing on a pile of shards. Shards of the United Kingdom’s economic future, but also its political future. The votes had barely been counted, when Scotland announced they’d be initiating a new referendum about remaining in the UK. And given their 60+ percent vote to remain in the EU, and the already close vote the last time, I reckon you can imagine how that is going to turn out.
Then we have Northern Ireland – not that they have been especially happy about being part of the UK since – like – forever, but they also would prefer to remain part of the EU. How long, until – with the very probable downturn of the economy – they too will earnestly think about reuniting with Ireland …?
Sure, a small location like Gibraltar is not really worth to discuss over, but they too predominantly voted to remain in the EU – the same EU they are very much closer to (location-wise) than the UK.
So it looks like you, dear UK, got a lot more „Leave“ than you bargained for. Heck, even the turncoat David Cameron has decided to leave, albeit not „right away“.
While I do feel for all of those who will have to live with the results of this democratic process, I do hope the EU will not once more bend over backwards and give you undue advantages over all those countries that play by the rules, otherwise – and of that I’m pretty sure – the UK will not be the last country to get out of the EU. You need to live with the results of your decision, otherwise what’s the point in being a community of countries where single members can do cherry-picking?
And, finally, the second group, all of you who voted „Leave“ and are all of a sudden surprised of the consequences.
Are you really surprised?
Sure, you have been listening to your political leaders of the last several decades as they complained and whined about how bad your poor UK had it by being a member of the EU. How much it hurt this great country’s pride to have to succumb to decisions from Brussels (or rather, democratic decisions of countries represented in the EU), how much money you paid that went to „lazy“ countries that just seemed to join the EU in order to get paid.
And – more recently – you heard the Brexit proponents talking about how much worse you’re actually off by being part of the EU. How many immigrants were flooding your country, how they spent your NHS budget and took your jobs, how much more money the UK was sending to the EU each week. And lots more.
Sure, those populist voices are easy to listen to, as with any populist voice. The warnings about the drawbacks of leaving the EU were so boring, so unbelievable coming from those that have previously kept complaining about the EU. So you remembered how great the UK had once been (spoiler: That’s been a LONG time ago, when international trade was near non-existent, and no national jobs relied on that), and decided it was time to get out of the EU and make the UK great again! (hm, haven’t I heard something similar somewhere else before? Ah yes, the other idiot and populist, but that’s best left for another post once he should become the doom for our planet). You didn’t care about researching the pros and cons, check into the truth of either side’s arguments, you just wanted to protest the general development the UK has been experiencing, just as many other countries have over the last several years.
And so on June 23rd, you decided to vote „Leave“.
Turns out the same politicians and populists you have been listening to didn’t even have the decency to stick to their own lies for much longer than necessary. By the time the preliminary results were out, one of the main proponents of Brexit, Nigel Farage from Ukip more or less admitted that the „350 million pounds a week“ being sent to the EU were a lie, as were promises of putting said money into the NHS. Of course he didn’t say it was a lie, but „a mistake“. A mistake that he stuck to for months, amid claims of the other side of it being wrong, a mistake he could have corrected at any point in time. But he stuck to it. Until a few hours after the referendum. Dear Nigel, that wasn’t a mistake, it was a fucking, blatant LIE, and you know it! If you know something isn’t true and you keep quiet about it and do not correct it, you are effectively LIEING about it!
In contrast, surprisingly, the Stay-campaigner’s prediction of Brexit causing economic damage do not seem to be a lie after all. With the stock markets opening in time for the results of the referendum, your British pound that you stuck to instead of joining the other EU countries‘ joint currency dropped to a 30+ year low … and I dare to expect it to drop even further. This might be a slight overreaction, and it might bounce back a bit once the speculative finance traders have made their buck – nah, pound – but still. While this might be nice for your companies on exports, buying goods and raw materials from outside your country will get a whole lot more expensive. Like, e.g., produce. Remember that rebate dear old Maggie had gotten you based on the fact that the UK would not profit from payments for farmers? Well, your remaining farmers might now get a chance to show how well they can produce produce, once most people won’t want to pay increased prices for imported food (another spoiler: if your shitty weather doesn’t allow to grow the large amounts of food, prices will still go up. Also, if your workers get paid more than at the countries you currently get your food from, prices also will rise.)
Oh, and you will finally be able to get more jobs, because all those pesky immigrants won’t be showing up on your doorstep anymore. Except that you didn’t really get that many, at least not from the EU … the majority came from non-EU countries, people that you actively decided to let in. Oops. One more lie from Ukip and BoJo.
So, in closing, all of you nai-sayers who are now already regretting your decision and wish for a do-over, I say:
Are you really surprised?
As so many times before, and as has been done to so many people around the globe, politicians and populists have fucked you. Fucked you hard. Your arse is going to be hurting for quite some time, and your children will be suffering from your decision for quite some time longer than you. And they will sure „thank“ you for it.