During the months prior to the Referendum we were bombarded continually with scenarios of doom and gloom from both camps. And during the final week it amounted to a degree of hysteria I’ve not previously witnessed in British politics. There was a veritable frenzy of exhortations.
Once the vote was in (or rather, out), the hysteria didn’t stop. Calls of foul play, campaigners back-peddling from promises made, endless (and I mean endless) post-mortems on why Leave won and Remain lost. Endless disputes on whether the Referendum was actually binding, was there enough of a percentage of eligible voters who voted to count as a true reflection of the nation’s views, and on and on and on.
And suddenly Article 50 made a belated appearance, like someone very late for a party just as it was breaking up. I’m a fairly informed voter and I didn’t know about Article 50 and the boundaries it places on those who choose to leave the EU. All the reassurances that there was no rush and Brexit could take up to 10 years, quashed in an instant.
Then, of course, the drama of resignations (bye bye David and Nigel) … withdrawals (bye bye Boris), calls for resignations (bye bye Jeremy???), calls for a second referendum, calls for no second referendum. The noise has been unbelievable and continual.
More hot potatoes!
Brexiteers just want to get on with it; Innies want to stall.
It’s fascinating to listen to people from both ‘sides’ speaking now – feelings are running extremely high. Brexiteers often seem defensive, justifying their decisions in an angry and defiant way; Innies are equally passionate, angry and accusatory. Actually, both sides are still finger-pointing; that doesn’t seem to have stopped at all.
The leadership gap I wrote about in my last two blogs isn’t getting any narrower; as a matter of fact, it’s getting wider as Conservative hats are being flung into the ring while Labour MPs are mounting a broadside attack on their leader. Now it’s all about who’s best equipped to run the country which means more mudslinging and a lot more noise. More diversionary tactics and there's still no one driving the train.
On Thursday’s Question Time (30th June) one Brexiteer said something along the lines of “I feel I’ve been had.” We’ve all been had. Over and over we were reassured the Referendum was a simple yes, no question. It was never simple. Simple is asking us what our National flower should be; not what the economic and cultural future of Great Britain is to be.
I believe a great burden of responsibility was placed on shoulders (mine included) ill-equipped to well and truly understand the deep and complex implications of leaving the European Union. That burden feels very heavy right now and because there is still no clear plan, no clear leadership, no clear understanding of the long-term implications, nothing for people to hold onto that explains in accessible language exactly what’s going to happen next, I believe there is a collective exhaustion.
I feel like a child on the verge of a tantrum or maybe it’s more like Lord of the Flies – if we’re left to our own devices for long enough we’ll become feral.
It does feel as though all of us, whichever way we voted, are the losers this time 'round.