Saturday, 25 June 2016

Done in full knowledge of the consequences

I'm reading a lot of very negative stuff about the result of the Referendum, and hearing it when I strike up conversations with strangers. As if a Leave-the-UK vote was no more than a vague protest vote, not thought out at all; a vote based on dodgy statistics; and even a selfish, I'm-all-right-Jack vote in complete disregard of what today's school students will need when they start looking for work.

Well, surely not every single one of the 52% who voted Leave could have been consumed with self-interest. Any thinking person must have seen - as I certainly did - that everyday prices will rise, that taxes will rise, interest rates will rise, inflation may rise, and that the 'triple-lock' annual increase for State Pensions will be scrapped asap.

We won't have to pay the EU anything, but the EU grants and subsidies will vanish, and every future transaction with the EU will cost more.

Anyone who voted Leave should have worked out that Freedom will come only at a price. So a properly-considered Leave vote wasn't at all a vote to maintain a comfortable middle-income lifestyle, and fingers-crossed that it will turn out fine. Less comfort, and less affluence, was absolutely bound to be the outcome - and quickly.

I personally reckoned it would be like that, and yet still voted Leave. I would say many, many other people also took a view on the consequences, and did the same as I did. It wasn't 'falling on the knife'. It wasn't falling victim to politicians' dubious and lurid statistics. It was wanting something more than a life propped up by EU handouts and hedged in by EU rules. It was wanting a different vision of Britain, something much more inspiring, and being prepared to meet the cost.

Does a desire for affluence trump freedom and a defence of Britishness? In a consumer society, many will say yes. Personally, I think a lot of money is wasted, and the creation of a more thrifty, cannier, savings-minded Britain would be no bad thing. I do appreciate what I can personally afford of the Good Life, but I'm not dependent on it, nor do I believe that the essence of a worthwhile mode of living is to shop till one drops, or to beggar oneself paying a mortgage or school fees.

A Britain going it alone will have to become a more people-focussed place. Personal talent will matter much more. We will all have to be more caring, more obliging, much less 'me-me-me'. And if something of that 'let's pull together' Blitz spirit prevails, then I don't see why the vulnerable persons in our society should suffer unnoticed and without champions.

2 comments:

  1. I've been following this, from California, with great interest. Unlike most Americans, I do have an interest in international news and politics and I usually get that news from the BBC. The only international news you hear on the American news networks are the huge stories. For instance, there will be absolutely nothing said about an election for a UK Prime Minister prior to the vote. After the vote, it will make the news but will certainly not be the top story. [As you may know, I work in the media so I do know something about how it operates]

    The Remain/Leave vote caught me by surprise. I have found myself immersed in the US election news and have really not listened to the BBC much of late. I knew there was going to be a vote, but didn't know it was last week.

    The day after the vote and continuing today, it is, indeed, a big news story in the US.

    I have searched the blogs to see if there is any agreement among those who are trans on the decision to remain or leave. It seems that some bloggers went in one direction and others went in the other direction. Clare Florish's blog is one I read often. She's Scottish and very disappointed in the outcome, although from what I'm hearing this is the general opinion in Scotland.

    I tend not to make decisions from afar about another country's politics and I somewhat resent it when I see political judgements made regarding American politics from those who do not live in this country.

    I will say that I'm reading all I can about the UK vote but will keep my opinions to myself primarily because I just can't consider myself knowledgeable on the subject since I don't live in Britain, work in Britain, pay bills in Britain, etc.

    By the way, Lucy, if you're wondering where I am with the American election, I have absolutely no use for either candidate. I truly believe in voting but unless something changes here, this may be one election I will have to sit out.

    Calie

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  2. Thanks for that, Calie. The result here caught everyone by surprise, including I think the 'winning' politicians! I am prepared to be equally surprised by the US outcome later this year, and that will obviously be even more important for the world as a whole.

    The lesson seems to be that not all ordinary people buy into the thinking of the money experts. When the familiar country begins to change or disappear - or if that is at least the perception - then many people will be concerned and will say so if given the chance. Voicing that unease becomes more important than safeguarding living standards. I hope future UK governments understand that now.

    It was of course partly about too many strangers in our midst, but if they embrace British culture and British behaviour there was - in my own view at least - never much objection. The unwelcome ones were those trying to remain alien and possibly loyal to something very non-British. Now they can be kept out without the EU telling us this is against the rules.

    Lucy

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Lucy Melford