There is a famous old Chinese curse that goes “May you live in interesting times!”. Well, we are certainly living in interesting times just now.
The result of Thursday’s Referendum may look simple, given a Remain or Leave question on the EU, the British Electorate voted by 51.9% to 48.1% to Leave but as the result is not binding on any Government, the repercussions to the vote are now reverberating through our political structures.
This was not the result expected by most people, including those leading the Leave campaigns who, it now turns out, have no plans of how to proceed with Brexit as (as they now admit) may of the “promises” turn out to be groundless[i] [ii]. Also many of those who voted Leave as a protest against Cameron & the Tory Government, thinking that Remain would win any way are now regretting their vote[iii] while even those who were more committed to leaving the EU have been shocked by the reality of what Brexit actually means
Cameron has reacted by walking away from the whole mess of his own creation (see my comment on Facebook on this) although, by refusing to invoke Article 50 of the European Treaty, saying he was leaving it to his successor, he has possibly made it impossible to actually start the processes of leaving (see this post on The Guardian pages). As I write I am hearing that Boris Johnson, assisted by Michael Gove, two former journalists with a history of telling untruths & ignoring experts, is preparing to take over the Conservative party and therefore the Government.
If Johnson fulfils his very naked ambition to become PM, then he will be faced with the wonderful alternative of starting the process of Brexit and triggering an economic collapse (just looked at what happened to the markets since the result was announced[iv] if you think I am scaremongering) or failing to trigger the process and risk the ire of all those who supported him.
Meanwhile, with the Tories seemingly starting an internal Civil War and a possible General Election in the offing, Labour has reacted to the need for a strong vocal opposition by going into melt down as 10 (so far) members of Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet have either been sacked or resigned. If it wasn’t so tragic, it would be a farce.
So, what will all this mean for Bassetlaw?
As I explained in previous post (We face a crisis in our public services, but it isn’t caused by immigrants), many of the reasons that people give for voting to leave the EU are not actually caused by the EU but by our own, home grown, British Politicians taking decisions for short term political advantage rather than long term economic gain. Just look around in Europe, German, along with other EU countries, still has a thriving steel industry and a coal industry; shipbuilding is supported by the EU across member nations yet here in the UK all three areas are in seemingly terminal decline. Our industries were not destroyed by the EU but by the Heath, Wilson, Callaghan Thatcher, Major & Blair governments. Leaving the EU will not resolve this problem, if anything by cutting these (and other industries off from EU support), it will hasten their final decline.
Brexit will not help Bassetlaw. With a failing economy for at least the next 5 years while we go through the process of Brexit & readjust to life afterwards, there will be higher unemployment, less money for public services and to support those on benefits. I have already heard from many younger people in our area that they are thinking of emigrating as they don’t want to live in a post-Brexit UK.
There is a possibility that in spite of the Referendum, Brexit can still be avoided. I for one will be doing all I can to make sure that we stay in the EU.