What can I say? As a friend of mine commented just a few minutes after the final vote, “that’s a victory for the little Englanders then”. I’m not sure I can add much more to that. But I will. I was sick to my stomach when the news became clear. It’s not a personal thing, although I do think our livelihood will be influenced for worse by the decision. It’s a much more a feeling about the people I am sharing this small island with. I don’t want to brush shoulders with folk who voted to leave on the back of immigration and nationalism (to be clear, only 38% of us actively voted to leave which is a worry). With people who think that we’re clever enough to do things better on our own, that sharing our borders with fellow Europeans leaves a dirty stain. Who don’t quite get that most of the rights afforded to workers come from a Brussels diktat. That our fishermen are not restricted to what they fish because Europe says so – they’re restricted because there aren’t enough fish in the sea and somebody has to protect the shoals. I could go on.
I want to rub shoulders with the 70% of 18-25 year olds who voted to remain. The future of our small country. Our life blood, not the elderly who, pretty much (although not my Mum and Dad, well done them) voted to leave because they fear some mystical force which wasn’t around in their day which is forever binding us to a monolith-like organisation designed to suck out the Englishness (OK, and Welshness) from our veins and replace it with some woolly, bureaucratic fluid which turns us into European zombies. So, I exaggerated a bit there, but no more than the line that we lose £350m a week to the EU and don’t seem to get a penny back in return. I wonder where Cardiff would be without the EU waterfront grant?
Stop! I’ve said enough. Our plan now is to buy a place in Scotland and vote for independence. Seriously. And having had a finger, then two fingers and then some other gesticulation thrown at me whilst driving the other day (it doesn’t happen on the continent), you can keep your overcrowded, small-minded, xenophobic, bitter and frantic country and, until you’ve learnt some humility, compassion and some manners, we’re off to join our continental pals.
But…some balance. This was more than an EU referendum. This was a vote about the state of politics. This was a them and us, north and south, country and city vote. This was an opportunity to express wholesale disillusionment at where everyone finds themselves in the world. A world where there is so much expectation nowadays, built on a media-dominated painting where everything is shown as perfect – so that ‘just not quite perfect’ isn’t good enough. As a result, it became an opportunity for popularist politics – as we’re seeing emerge across the world. No manifestos required. Just shout louder and scare bigger than the other guy. With Donald and Boris just having to be larger than life and promise the world (in a language that expands no wider than the common denominator) and that’s good enough for me. Get rid of the bureaucrats and let’s have some people who talk our language have a go! And don’t give me any details.
And they may be right? Who knows? Perhaps we will be building a hospital a week come 2018? Perhaps Donald will construct a wall to keep out the murderous Mexicans? (Although, he will need to employ a few of them to make it happen – I’m not sure he’s spotted the irony.) But my guess is that the current so-called political elite aren’t in it solely for the brass nameplates and a seat in the House of Lords. I reckon that a good number of them are trying their best to build new hospitals and keep ISIS at bay. It just that they’re not explaining themselves clearly enough. They’re certainly not as loud (both vocally and presentationally) as the big men with the blond quiffs.
So, in the end, it was a protest vote and we should recognise that. We need to balance the metaphorical books in a way that everyone feels part of the deal. And that might mean we need Boris (someone has to replace ‘call me Dave’) to fool about on a stage and make people laugh? To communicate like Nigel F with a pint of beer in his hands. It is, after all, everyone’s country as much as it is everyone else’s. It’s just a shame that to achieve that, the world has become a much less pleasant and more volatile place – as if there wasn’t enough of that already. And, after yesterday’s vote, we are part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Let’s hope that the US have got this out of their system before November. Otherwise #donaldandboris might just be beginning of the end of us all…
We almost missed the interconnecting flight at Frankfurt. Lufthansa sent us an email at 2am saying the flight from Birmingham had been cancelled. Blooming Europeans. How can they do that? By that time we were on our way. We were then booked onto a second flight, which was also delayed and when we got onto the tarmac at Frankfurt (an airport we had to circumnavigate three times to find our gate) we had 35 minutes to connect. That included circumnavigating the v large airport three times, most of which was on foot. We got to the gate just as they were closing. Three young lads C had befriended and were nonchalantly following us to Gate B46 didn’t make it. It was a close thing. However, as I pen this on the flight, we have no idea if our luggage made it . We shall see.