In a matter of hours, Brexit will take effect and the UK will be out of the EU. An eleven-month transition period begins, where everything carries on more or less as normal until the end of 2020. But after 11pm tonight, there is no going back to the European Union. Nothing has changed, and everything has changed.
Even as we leave, the rest of Europe tries its best to say a cheerful goodbye – singing Auld Lang Syne in the European Parliament and holding a farewell party in Brussels city centre. They can’t quite understand why we’re doing it, but Europeans have shown us immense respect and goodwill – far more than we deserve after the last three years.
I have no idea what happens next. Frankly, I am exhausted after three years following the twists and turns from 23rd June 2016 to today (long story short – we could easily have undone Brexit, but the Remain side simply wasn’t smart enough). Suffice to say, I don’t trust Boris Johnson, and his merry band of Brexiteer charlatans, one bit. We are heading for a future arrangement which will damage the economy and sell out the most vulnerable in society.
Scotland may become independent. Northern Ireland may end up joined to the Republic of Ireland. Can I blame them? Not really; I want to get away from England too.
“You lost, get over it” – I wish I could.
I voted after work on Thursday night, venturing out in the cold and dark to cast my ballot. I’m in one of the safest Labour seats in the country, but one can’t be too careful.
I was nervous. The polls had narrowed in the run-up to polling day, and there was chatter of another hung parliament. On Twitter it was suggested that big names like Dominic Raaaab and even Boris Johnson himself were in trouble, thanks to tactical voting in their constituencies. Even so, it was hard to ignore the opinion polls which still showed a big lead for the Tories.
I tried to distract myself by keeping busy. I answered some emails, wrote out my Christmas cards, scrolled through some photos from my sister’s wedding on Facebook. By 9.45 though, I was nervously pacing up and down, unable to concentrate on anything else. This election was a battle for the soul of our country, and would have effects far beyond this one Parliamentary term.
Then at 10pm, the bomb dropped:-
Continue reading “Fucking hell”
When I woke up the morning after that vote and saw the result, I was despondent, I was angry, but I genuinely believed I would get over it. I thought time would be a healer, that the country would coalesce around a reasonable Brexit compromise, and we would all move on.
It hasn’t happened. Three years on, and I’m still furious.
Furious at the needless waste of money and effort that is being expended to try and protect us from the impact of this decision.
Furious at the lack of action to solve other serious problems while Westminster obsesses over the minutiae of Brexit.
Furious at the loss of opportunity to live and work freely in 26 other countries.
Furious that millions of young people, who didn’t get to vote because they were under 18 at the time, will have to live for the rest of their lives with a decision that was out of their hands.
Furious that a politician was murdered.
Furious at the liars and cheaters in the campaign who got away with it.
Furious at the media who failed to give the arguments any proper scrutiny.
Furious at the politicians who are too cowardly to stand up and ask for a rethink.
Furious that my patriotism and belief in democracy has been called into question because I want to stop a damaging Brexit.
Furious that bigotry and xenophobia is now being treated as a legitimate political position.
Check back in with me in three years. Maybe by then I’ll be over it. But I doubt it.
I spent the weekend in Hamburg with some friends, enjoying all the sights and sounds that Germany’s second city has to offer. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll have got a flavour of my trip. I will try and get a longer blog post up at the weekend detailing the shenanigans.
In the meantime, I wanted to mention one thing. A change in my mood, for reasons that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. When I got home, it hit me: for the 72 hours I was away, I didn’t hear anything about Brexit.
Maybe Brexit was being discussed on all of Germany’s news channels, but if it was, I didn’t see it. I was busy exploring the city so I wasn’t on Twitter as much as usual. And I was much happier.
I’ve always prided myself on keeping up with the issues, but when everything is just so grim, it’s wonderful to get away for a few days. I got back home at lunchtime on Monday. By that evening, all my anxieties and worries had returned.
And, whatever happens, the source of stress is going to go on for years. If the deal fails, we may leave without a deal, with severe long-term consequences that we will all experience. If May’s deal goes through, we have many years of wrangling about our future trading relationship which will dominate the agenda. There’s a tiny chance of a second referendum, which will probably be even more rancorous and unpleasant than the first. We will have a new Tory leader, probably a much more right-wing one (and given how right-wing May has been, that is a scary prospect). Frankly, I’m not sure I can cope.
Someone please write something in the comments to cheer me up.