Britain has voted to leave the European Union. Here is my initial reaction which largely echos that of everything I see around me this morning. It is one of dismay and bewilderment and panic and worry and this is interesting. For the first time I’m in my life, I am embarrassed to call myself British.
The first story I saw when I woke up and turned on my TV this morning was Nigel Farage, one of the main players in the Leave campaign, saying that this poster and this pledge that the £350m a week that Britain currently contributes to the EU will be spent on the NHS was “a mistake“.
A Leave campaigner then defended Farage’s comments with the assertion that, by that point in the morning Farage had “drunk too much champagne” (a French drink produced in the EU) with Farage himself admitting that he’d had a couple of pints. He also defended Farage because the actual figure was £368m (silly reporter) of which less than a third, at some point, might be spent on the NHS.
I then see Chris Grayling MP, a Leave campaigner, say that we now need to “enter a period of debate and discussion about how to [leave],” thus proving that the very people who suggested it was a good idea to leave the European Union have done so on guess work and speculation with little to no factual evidence of what is best for my future and that of Great Britain.
My Prime Minister has resigned meaning that, by October, I will be governed by an unelected leader of a party voted in to power by 24% of the population with the aim of doing a job that only 40% of us want doing.
I see suggestions, also by Farage, that we have “removed the elite”. Yet, one of the early favourites to take over the leadership of my country is of Danish heritage, born in New York, educated at Eton, Oxford University and the European School in Brussels and named Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
For the moment I’m going to ignore what the economy is doing right now. Obviously I’ve seen that the UK has lost a decade’s worth of EU contributions from its economy overnight, and that the pound and the FTSE are jumping up and down.
Scotland have suggested that they will now have another referendum to leave the United Kingdom. Far from becoming Truly Great Britain, it looks like last night’s vote was one to become England.
My reason for ignoring the economy for now is because we knew there would be volatility and we’re told that this is a long term decision. I guess this is really where one of my main frustrations lies.
A YouGov poll suggests that the older the demographic, the more likely the vote to leave the European Union:
HOW AGES VOTED
18-24: 75% Remain
25-49: 56% Remain
50-64: 44% Remain
65+: 39% Remain#EUref
— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) June 23, 2016
This is a long term decision that has had very obvious short term consequences caused by volatility. However, the long term consequences will only be felt by the people that disagree with this irreversible decision.
Ladies and gentlemen of Britain, welcome to your brave new world of increased sovereignty.