I was confused about why the people who’d voted for Brexit because they wanted the NHS to get £350 million extra a week weren’t more angry when parliament voted down the suggestion that Brexit should include a provision where the NHS get £350 million extra a week. If I had voted for something based on that cornerstone of the campaign and had been so rapidly rebuffed (the day after the vote Farage disassociated himself from the “promise”). Had I been hoodwinked like that then I would have been furious.
The only explanation I can think of was that the NHS promise was a way to make people feel comfortable voting for Brexit and if anyone accused them of being racist or anti-immigrant they could say, “No, I am voting for the NHS to get more money.” But the almost total lack of concern about the failure to implement this on the Brexit side (I’ve seen plenty of Remainers bamboozled by it, but not been aware of any Brexiteers making a fuss), makes me realise that it was just a convenient smoke screen. Nobody believed it would happen, but it at least gave a noble reason for departure. The lack of fuss about it being quickly ignored though, shows what was at the heart of the vote.
Is it just that people don’t want to admit that they were duped or that they were wrong? Or was the whole NHS thing done with a wink that everyone actually understood? I mean I think most of the Remainers knew it was bullshit, so surely most of the Leave-o-philes (hey, that’s pretty good - I wonder if that will catch on) did as well. Was it entirely set up as a Trojan horse to sneak all the other actual reasons people wanted to leave in? Or rather out.
It was a Trojan elephant in the room.
Certainly if taken at face value and voted on, the NHS thing doesn’t seem to have turned out to be a major concern. Oh right, so that’s not happening…. but all the Muslims are going home still right?
Of course not everyone who voted Leave was an out and out racist - some of them were secret racists.
I am joking. There must have been some good reason, other than a feeling that immigrants were harming the country and should go home. Even though our economy would suffer quite badly if that happened/happens.
That policy with a wink obviously benefited Trump as well. Did his supporters really think he was going to build a wall or ban Muslims or imprison Hillary? Or were they just enjoying a sort of post-modern twist on the lies that get served up at every election? Were they, like the NHS bus voters, in on the “joke”?
We’re so used to election promises being broken that we can now merrily go along with them, knowing they mask our darker and more selfish motivation.
I still get tweeted by Leave-o-philes (hey, it’s catching on) every time I complain or comment about Brexit. I was pointing out today that if UKIP shows anything it is the power of not letting a referendum result stop you fighting for want you believe - they didn’t take the 1975 referendum on the EEC as the end of the matter (and Farage admitted that he wouldn’t accept a 52/48 vote the other way in this one). We can still fight and our voices should still be heard and if only the 48% and all the millions of people duped by the NHS thing (where are you again?) got together then we would be a terrifying force in democratic terms. UKIP has achieved what it has achieved with maybe about 25% of people supporting them in some way. So imagine what 48% could do at the next election? Imagine if young people realised the power of their votes and combined and actually got out and voted. Then the old fuckers who’ve had their way their whole lives wouldn’t be the force that they are.
It’s not looking good though, with the labour party toeing the Brexit line and not even able to effect a compromise that will please party members let alone the electorate.
Some of the Twitter people seem to think that they have fought the good fight against the liberal elite. Without even questioning if they are assisting the actual elite - the people in power, the people who own newspapers, the people who will become wealthy on this potentially disastrous shift. I can’t really think of anything that liberal people have achieved or succeeded in over my lifetime, apart from maybe edging us away from racism and sexism and homophobia (but sadly it seems, to some extent only by making people feel uneasy about expressing their actual views, rather than changing hearts and minds). As elites go, the liberal one is pretty useless. If you want to stand up to elites then maybe start with the guys who own the newspapers who seem obsessed with demonising immigrants and leaving the EU for some reason (clue, the reason is as Murdoch admitted that they have power over a UK government, but not an EU one).
You’re not fighting elites if you are strengthening the position of the people in power.
Could a grass roots party based on honesty, fairness, progress and smashing the actual elites (rather than criticising actors for having an opinion) capture the public imagination, like Farage in the Garage?
Whether the Brexit voters will feel so happy when they discover that immigration is not going to be cut down and we’ll just get more immigrants from outside the EU, I don’t know. Maybe it was just the winning that mattered. And maybe giving the political system a bloody nose was worth it. Even if it also gave us all a bloody nose too.