As it was famously said first in 1966, “they think it’s all over….it is now!”
What started 43 years ago has today been officially reversed as Britain has voted to become the first country to vote to leave the European Union. The In Out referendum which allowed the people of Great Britain to vote on whether to stay in or leave the EU has come to an end. We as a nation have spoken.
I am shocked at the result, after one of the ugliest and quite honestly disgraceful political campaign from both the remain and the leave camps over the past months and especially the last few weeks, with fear mongering and scare tactics used by both sides, it was not Britain’s finest hour in politics that is for sure.
It was a very tight result, as we would say in Gaming, it was certainly a “Clutch” type of victory for the Leave side but I genuinely did not expect us to leave. The shock and reaction are yet to be felt fully, it is literally only 20 minutes at the time I type this since the official result was called. It will be one of anger for those who wanted to remain and joy for those who wanted to leave. But what does it all mean when the dust settles?
This will take time for Britain to separate from the machine that is the EU, it will not be an instant thing and it will take a massive amount of work. Britain is known as the United Kingdom but this Kingdom of ours is divided on so many levels right now. Not all voted to leave, Scotland overwhelming voted to remain in the EU whilst England and Wales was to leave. Our Prime Minister David Cameron who promised this referendum, called it and never expected it not to result in a remain decision, I would now expect to step down. The repercussions from this result will be far-reaching within the political scene.
But for me, it is the division in the people of Britain that has been the most damaging. It has been disheartening to see people I known and respected become caught up in this tornado of distrust and it has been horrible to see. If you were vocal about your view you would often be shouted down or attacked. If you were considering to vote remain you were targeted as not having faith in Britain. If you were considering to leave you were labeled as a racist and a bigot, a sign that the fear campaign had really taken over instead of reasoned discussion. There were valid reasons on both sides that were overshadowed by the more inflammatory elements of immigration which led to uncomfortable conversations and fighting. I myself have lost a lot of respect for some in my circles that I never expected to say what they said in the way that they said it. Passions have never been higher for either side and the campaigning has not some in a good light.
It has not been pleasant and looking over my timelines right now and the shock is turning to anger for those who did not want to leave the EU, for whatever reasons they had, and its going to be an uncomfortable next few days as the news sinks in. The reality of this historic result has yet to really dawn because a vote to leave was truly unknown. We as a country do not know what will happen next, only that the process to leave the EU will formally now begin as we leave the free movement and singly market of the EU and must now negotiate new trade deals with those we were unable to trade with before and our former EU partners. This will take years, it simply will and it will be a turbulent time until then.
I just hope that the people of Britain can now focus on what happens next, that respect for the right to make your own choice, no matter which way you voted yesterday, becomes more clear and important than anger and shock with the result. We do not know what will happen next other than it will not be a quick and pain-free process towards an uncertain future. Will Scotland demand a new independence referendum as they voted to remain, as did Northern Ireland. What this means for the UK itself now is as important as how Britain handles its exit from the EU.
But right now, as the news spreads and the nation wakes up to the reality of the vote, Britain will be leaving the European Union, ending a partnership that was forged in the ashes of World War II in an effort to say “never again” to have the countries of Europe go to war. The EU is a vastly different entity to what was first created all those years ago, and the wave of discontent with the EU has been building within it for years and not just from the UK but this moment will reverberate through all the member states now.
Britain has voted and the referendum is over. I hope that we can start to bring the people of the UK back together going forward, we have no choice but to bring some stability in the wake of the decision. There will be harsh words as the reaction is felt in the next hours, days,weeks and years after today.
However which way you voted, the future is now something we all have to work together now no matter what to either make it all work or to get the best from it. It is no longer a choice, a democratic vote has taken place and the result is that Britain became the first to break away from the EU. We have to work together as a nation to rebuild the division between us and step out into a new world and find our place in it.
Good luck to us all!
(Written 06:30 am 24/6/16)
*Update 08:20am Prime Minister David Cameron resigns – new PM to be in place by October Conservative Party Conference
*Update 12:07pm – Labour MPs table motion of ‘No Confidence’ in Leader Jeremy Corbyn:
*Update 18:05 pm 12 Hours after result announced – Final Thoughts
Well, this has certainly been a dark day for Britain all round pretty much. I created this post to give my thoughts just after the result of the In /Out Referendum was called this morning. In the hours that followed we saw how the markets reacted to the result, our Prime Minister fall on his sword and the Labour Party draw daggers aiming directly in the back of their still in his first year leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
Scotland’s leader Nicola Sturgeon has reignited their own call for independence as the majority voted to remain and its seen as a way to force a second referendum so they can rejoin the EU as themselves. This has also stirred up feeling for Northern Ireland who also largely voted to remain.
However what has troubled me more than the result, has been the reaction of friends and people in my social media circle, some of whom have spent the last 12 hours moaning, complaining about the result with cries of “that’s it, we’re fucked” and hot air calls saying they are considering leaving the UK now and insulting anyone that either did vote to leave or simply overreacting to the news as it kept breaking.
Right now, all we have is a Britain that is in a right clusterfuck of a mess right now, but we as of now have simply stated the intent to leave the EU, a process that could take an expected two years at the minimum, to facilitate. Article 50 of the EU charter has to be activated before we can actually leave but this will not happen until trade deals have been discussed and arrangements made both here in Britain and abroad. The markets are already showing signs of recovery of the pound sterling, and the result of the referendum is still causing waves throughout the other EU member states.
The future is uncertain, no one really knew what would happen following a remain vote other than what has indeed happened today with the reaction in the stock markets and political leaders either falling on their swords in disgrace or rallying to take out a weak leader in their eyes. It is regrettable that the real leaders of the Vote Leave campaign allowed the vile former UKIP leader Nigel Farrage to use the first few hours post result to claim a personal victory for himself and his party, who should be said, were not actually considered to be part of the official Leave campaign at all.
The road to an actual Brexit is still far off, but the planning is now underway both politically, domestically and in business. Calm heads are needed once the anger and shock has subsided. To those attacking or still shouting about the result, please take a breath and pause. I am taking the weekend off social media because I am honestly seeing some of the people I call friends in a very negative light right now from their responses and social media posts that it is far better to turn it off and let the dust settle for now then to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war each and every hour.
Worse times are ahead for all this, and the anger may subside but not end. But we are all in this together no matter what now, it won’t and cannot be changed. There is more scaremongering going around now from people I trust and respect than either side did campaigning before the vote took place, and its abhorrent to me to see it right now.
Signing off after a day where I really do not believe or think I will ever look at Britain and it’s people in the same way again.