I hadn’t really got to sleep, but Phoebe stirred around midnight and I went to check on her and obviously looked to see how things were going and the first indications that the polls might be wrong were coming through. Phoebe settled easily but I was not as lucky, my mind whirring with the possibility that we were on the edge of self-sabotaging our future. And as the minutes and hours passed by I realised that it was looking pretty likely.
I was glad in a way that I hadn’t slept the night through and just awoken to the news after going to sleep expecting the opposite, but I was also aware that I’d be up at about six with the baby and had lots to do, but still I couldn’t sleep and I watched the telly or my phone until about 3.30, when it became clear that remain had not done quite enough.
Even so I hoped that common sense would prevail and after around about 90 minutes disturbed sleep, Phoebe woke up properly, my day began and I checked my iPad. And even though I knew what was coming it was a gut punch.
And look I understand why people voted Brexit, even if at least some of them were protesting against the situation we’re in in general and perhaps not contemplating the consequences if they won, but as I said yesterday the consequences seemed pretty clear to me beforehand, though it was pretty amazing to see loads of them playing out before 9am. The Prime Minister resigned, the pound in free fall, billions wiped off the stock market and already jobs being lost. We certainly showed our noseless face, right?
But on the whole David, how do you think the referendum gamble went?
I tried to make light of the situation on Twitter, even though the news had made me physically hurt for the second time in a week. "The joke's on UKIP. Soon there isn't going to be a UK and their name will look silly.” And commenting that at least now we were safe from terrorist attack (according to the pre-referendum propaganda). The other day I had suggested that Cameron’s legacy could be worse than Neville Chamberlain’s and whatever else these people do care how history judges them. And I was proven right. This makes him the worst Prime Minister of my lifetime and he has some strong competition. There was no way he could stay in office. And yet weirdly, though all this was his fault and he’d gambled with out country to save his party and his own arse, I felt a bit sorry for him.
But all the politicians have been weak and duplicitous throughout this campaign and I fear for the political vacuum left by their weakness. Corbyn half-heartedly supported Remain, even though he was really of the other camp and though there were some outrageous lies on the Brexit side, there was fear mongering on the Remain and in the end the populace didn’t believe that we wouldn’t just bounce back from this.
But we’re not going to bounce back any time soon. It would be great if this discontent and this revolutionary (if in my opinion hopelessly misguided) vote made us revamp our political system and created a centrist party that was more concerned with the rights and lives of the young and the working people, than of the old and the rich, or more extreme politics of both wings. Can Boris really become Prime Minister after he will have plunged our economy into chaos and lost us thousands of jobs in the hope that he will get one job (like Corbyn, he ended up fighting for a side that he didn’t really believe in, but he was more driven by personal ambition).
My wife was very upset by the news. I attempted to provide some hope and some balance, but it was tough to do so. I think there are some dark days ahead and I just hope there aren’t some really dark days. The 48% and the members of the 52% who are now waking up with a voting hangover must do all we can to keep our country fair and representative of our people and allow free speech and fight extremism. I hope we can. And then Farage makes a comment about victory without a shot being fired and I don’t think he’s stupid enough to do that by accident and a chill goes through me. And how would he have reacted if the result had gone the other way?
We live in interesting times. And that is not a good thing. I hope that by the time my daughter is a woman she will get an opportunity to be part of a progressive Europe, but I also hope that she just gets to live in a country where she’s free to be who she wants to be.
I was blasted from lack of sleep but I had to head over to Chiswick to record a podcast with Carl Donnelly and Chris Martin (not that one). We had a good long chat about Brexit and loads of stuff. Some of the stories you will have heard before. But it was a fun mixture of topicality and crudity. You can listen to the way my mind works after an hour and a half’s sleep and when I am filled with dread for the future here.
For most of the rest of the day I sat in a waking coma watching the news, hearing about friends who would lose their jobs, wondering if there was any way out, knowing that there probably isn’t and that the EU have no option but to give us a shit get out deal so as to deter others from making the same decision. I was quite glad we hadn’t moved yet and taken on a bigger mortgage and also hopeful that house prices might come down and become more affordable for people. I am all for a society where hard work leads to people progressing and getting nicer lives. But at the moment, as I briefly discuss on the podcast, there is no way for anyone to move upwards from the position they’re in (unless they win the lottery or land some amazing high-paid job). I hope the young will fight the system that penalises them (or at least be shitty to any old people you see in the street). I am happy to lose some supposed wealth (the value in my house is fairly meaningless unless I decide to sell it and live on the street - though the same is not true for people with huge mortgages) if it helps create a society where there is some value in trying to move onwards and upwards. I believe the electorate have targeted and blamed the wrong people in all of this, but their dissent could be the start of something positive.
I am not feeling positive though. I am crushed by all of this.
I also have to go out and do a late night gig, after only another 45 mins sleep. Balls.