48.1 to 51.9 The Referendum vote proved almost every poll and pundit wrong…….
A failed campaign of threats and intimidation, warning of every possible consequence, real and imagined, included a motley coalition of past premiers and senior ministers with one whose policies are now widely acknowledged to have led to the destabilisation of the Middle East. The intervention of an American President who famously warned that Britain would ‘find themselves at the back of the queue’ regarding future trade deals should they choose to leave the EU’ arguably galvanised the leave vote.
Today as David Cameron announced his resignation, Barak Obama spoke of the special relationship between Britain and America as ‘enduring’ stating that Britain and the EU remain “indispensable partners of the United States even as they begin negotiating their ongoing relationship to ensure continued stability, security, and prosperity for Europe, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the world”. A stark reminder perhaps that politics is a power game of shifting sands,. Whether this proves to be a game of monopoly or dominoes remains to be seen.
Those who dared to express an alternative opinion by voting to exit the EU were treated with condescension; others who stated their concern regarding border security and the potential effect of immigration on housing, education and the NHS were accused of racism. Britain has a reputation for being among the most tolerant and generous nations in the world yet poverty is a fact of life for millions in the UK. This is shown by more than 1 million people who relied on food banks in 2015 when 3.7 million children in Britain (a quarter of all children) were living in poverty, 63% of these were living in a family where someone was working. The Institute of Fiscal Studies predicted an increase of 400,000 by 2016 with a further 400,000 by 2020.
Whatever the consequences of the referendum, what seemed unthinkable even days ago must now be acknowledged. For better or worse a momentum is building, a power surge of hope and enthusiasm among the poorest people in some of the richest countries of the world. On the first day following the exit vote, serious concerns are being expressed of domino effect repercussions with France, Netherlands, Finland, Austria and Hungary joining Sweden, Greece, Spain and Italy in reconsidering their positions. With Greece now consigned to little more than a holding camp for the hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants and France struggling to manage the inhuman conditions of the ‘Jungle’ encampment it is hardly surprising that polls in both countries now indicate a majority who wish to leave the EU. This is a good moment to pause and reflect on whether any or all of the member nations would choose to join the European Union in its present form today, faced with the challenges of the seeds it has itself sown.
The words of Martin Luther King ring true today as they did when he galvanised a social revolution: ‘These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and the barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.’ That light is their own realisation that power abuse and oppression is the consequence of apathy and a belief that we are powerless.
Of one thing we can be sure, whatever lies ahead of us, the Brexit vote will be blamed for any and all ills which may befall us and these will continue to be manipulated by those who hold the instruments of power. The IMF, the Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs and Co. etc etc. who do not reside in Brussels but remain all powerful.