Make Poverty History

Friday, June 24, 2016

Referendum Result - Leave - First Thoughts

Thursday night I went to bad, as did anyone who was following the coverage, expecting the status quo to prevail.  52% for remain.  So I was surprised when I heard the result when the radio started this morning.  52% for leave.  I should have taken my predictions from Twitter - where the feeling was that leave were in the ascendancy.
Today on twitter and in other places there have been cries of agony (that is not too strong).  My future is destroyed!  We won't be able to ...  (insert anything, or everything here that we might lose).  I understand the reaction, its what a sudden, unexpected dose of the unknown does to people - especially younger people.
It was no surprise then, when the stock market and currency markets took a hit - especially as the traders had all gone to bed having 'bet' on remain. Suddenly there were losses to try to recover, which leads, inevitably to more losses.
Right now we pray for those who really are suffering as a result of the shocks - those who can't change sterling into the currency they need, those who are having to pay inflated prices from suppliers in other countries (not just EU countries).
However bad it looks now, it won't be that bad in reality, because we see the worst very easily.  There will be a period of instability, that will hurt some more than others.  For now, we are still IN the EU - none of our laws that we have as a result of treaties can change.  Over the next few months we will get a new government and exit negotiations will begin.  That process should be complete in a couple of years.  Much will change, the country will look very different and changes will continue once we have left.  The exit process gives us the opportunity to get things right, but it also gives us the equal opportunity to make things worse.  Hopefully our politicians will have a more intelligent dialogue with their people than has occurred so far.
Now, whether you are celebrating, or in shock and denial, or sad, or mildly disappointed, the thing to do is to "Keep calm and carry on".

Some particular reactions bear further comment.
Somehow trying to invalidate the result (the majority is not big enough, people didn't understand what they were voting for ...), is about as unhelpful as it gets.  A referendum result is valid if there is only a 1 vote difference.  If people understood so little that they thought a protest vote was a valid thing to do, then I hope they heave learned a lesson.  That's OK in a by-election, not in a referendum.

Blaming your grandparents (and parents) by saying things like 'you have stolen my future', 'don't you ever listen to your kids', 'you don't have to live with this', just shows a certain level of immaturity.  Perhaps, if I am kinder, lack of experience.  Those with the experience, especially those who were old enough to be politically aware in 1972 (the year before Britain joined the EEC), have some idea what it is like to live independently, and may also remember the recession that was caused when we joined.  Many of them will have been thinking of their children and grandchildren and asking what's best for them, as well as what's best for us, before they decided how to vote.

The reaction that a vote to leave is down to poverty as part of a Guardian article I saw on facebook suggested is also unhelpful.  There are many reasons to vote leave, and some of the people I know who voted that way cannot be described as being in poverty.

The future
I cannot tell what will happen any more  than anyone else.  Short term predictions are likely to be quite accurate, long term ones are rarely any good.  We know only this for certain: the way our country is run is going to change.  That gives us an enormous opportunity to do good, so here's my vision:
  • to set up government systems that are fair and open.
  • to be compassionate and lead the world in helping others to develop (we do a pretty good job now) and taking them in when we need to (we used to do a pretty good job of that too)
  • to care for the dispossessed, disadvantaged and those who fall into need
  • to invest in research and development and grow our already impressive science base 
  • to lead the world in environmental responsibility
  • to create a British bill of responsibilities (not rights)
much of this was already being done, and will continue, lets hope and pray that we can make more of it happen.

If you like my vision, please don't elect me a prime minister, but please do push your MPs towards those goals.

If you read 'Should I stay or Should I go' that I wrote on Tuesday, you may be wondering how I voted. Well after much deliberation I decided I was about 55% in favour of remain and voted accordingly.

So I didn't vote for this, but I'm going to try to make it work well.

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