Today, the UK saw a result to the ‘Leave EU’ referendum that some predicted but none really expected.
The reaction to it has been frightening. Social media is awash with stories of families torn apart, arguments, and even fights. A senior politician who campaigned to leave the EU has been attacked by a mob.
Some of us simply sit back and smile. We’ve seen it all before.
I think many of us older peeps are more reflective and less reactive than the younger generation. We know, from life experience, that this can all change, economic separation from Europe may never happen, and so much of what goes on in the political world is just talk.
This vote may well act as a wake-up call to the political classes that they cannot just carry on doing what they think is best. It may – and I hope those that think this are right – just be the start of a brave new Europe and a brave new world. But it may not, and nothing may change in the long run, or it may change and then return to the way it was. Such is the way of things.
Why did people vote ‘leave’ in such large numbers, when the economic arguments were so against such a move? Some say is was the ‘immigration’ issue. I have a personal perception that people didn’t react to immigration so much as to the lack of investment by successive governments in infrastructure to support the growing population. By that, I mean the NHS, Education etc. By and large, we welcome new cultures but people (here in Wales) have become very angry as they see our support services in a state of collapse. If we had the infrastructure in place to accommodate those that choose to come and live here, there would be no NHS queues, no lack of school places, no lack of social housing. But there is, and free movement of EU citizens copped the blame, rather than the real cause which is the lack of long-term investment.
And I wonder if many voted ‘against’ what the political parties were recommending more than ‘for’ leaving the EU because they no longer trust people who they perceive as liars with their noses in the trough? Do politicians imagine that people have forgotten confidence shaking and well publicised events such as the expenses scandals and the decisions to award themselves inflation-busting pay rises, while promoting austerity for everyone else?
And, I think that our politicians have spent many years blaming EU government for problems in the UK, and this sank in so much that when they turned around at the last minute and said ‘EU is good’, people simply didn’t believe them.
But, like I said, my guess is that in a few years we will look back on today and wonder at how people reacted so vociferously to the result.
I’ve seen many governments come and go, I was around when the EU started up and I’ve seen it head off in a direction we didn’t expect. And I’ve seen the collapse of soviet Russia, East and West Germany re-united, the Northern Ireland Peace Process succeed and Scotland, Wales and NI achieving far greater independent control than used to be the case. All these things were deemed impossible once, and they all came to pass.
Today will one day be history, no more, no less. And we will look back on it and reflect. either on what we imagine could have been, or what happened as a result.
4 thoughts on “Thoughts of an older voter”
I think you might have hit the nail on the head.. David Cameron lost because people don’t trust him to think of the country. It’s a tough one and at least i know i made my voice heard. I think people need to calm down and understand nothing will happen in the short term anyway.
So people voted leave to give the government and elite a kicking!! How shortsighted. Similar to only 40% of 18-40 year olds voting when it is them who will be affected more than anyone by companies choosing to locate in Berlin or Paris or Amsterdam instead of London. Jobs, our economy, our standard of living will all be affected by this decision and then I have heard numerous times today. We have taken our country back, we have made our voices heard, now things can change. I won’t be holding my breath that change for the people who voted leave will be any better than the status quo.
Nothing will happen in the short term and maybe in ten years time we will look back and think we did the right thing but I seriously doubt that.
Just an opinion, Julie, based on no more scientific an analysis than listening to those I’ve talked to.
I’m guessing that I might even be older that you and I agree with everything you say. I’m also an ex-cop, ex-many other things too, including professional geologist, company director and various other things. Now an author, like you. Brexit success is the result of people voting with their hearts, not their heads. I voted to stay because I understand economics, not because I was happy in any way with the gaggle of politicians that supposedly lead us. Not sure how the Three Brexiteers managed to pull this one off. Until recently Boris was considered to be a joke, as was Gove in his role as Education Secretary. And as for Farage…! Yet somehow they pulled it off by promoting Great Britain – surely we are now Little Britain? Shooting oneself in the foot comes to mind.
I must admit that from an immigration point of view the thought of Turkey (is it really in Europe?) joining the EU scares me silly. But surely, the best way to resolve these things is from within the EU, rather than to step out into the unknown? So, does the Brexit (whatever and whoever it is) have a plan about what to do now? No? Really? I thought not. I wouldn’t trust any of the Brexit MPs (and associated self-promoting hangers-on) with the care of my dishwasher, let alone the future of my country.