Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Brexit Referendum and the Independence of Scotland

I knew the LEAVE side was going to win the Brexit referendum hours before the polls closed.

When I heard that the poor who live in the Britain's rundown Council estates were turning out to vote in massive numbers.

And the reason I did is because if you have ever taken the train from London to Edinburgh, as I sometimes like to do.

Only about two hours after you leave the glittering prosperous capital, you enter a very different Britain.

A poor, anxious, angry Britain.  

And the result of the Brexit referendum had a lot to do with this simple equation: if you've got money you vote in, if you don't you vote out. 

Most of all, Brexit is the consequence of the economic bargain struck in the early 1980s, whereby we waved goodbye to the security and certainties of the postwar settlement, and were given instead an economic model that has just about served the most populous parts of the country, while leaving too much of the rest to anxiously decline.

What defines these furies is often clear enough: a terrible shortage of homes, an impossibly precarious job market, a too-often overlooked sense that men (and men are particularly relevant here) who would once have been certain in their identity as miners, or steelworkers, now feel demeaned and ignored.

But sadly the referendum result also had a lot do with racism and xenophobia. 

Which was whipped up by the leaders of the LEAVE movement like the ghastly Nigel Farage...

Who portrayed a break with Europe as the only way to prevent Britain from being swamped by hordes of refugees and migrants.

And to make things even worse, the result was also a monumental betrayal of the young.

According to pre-election surveys by the polling organization Survation, 57 percent of Britons between the ages of 18 and 34 who intended to take part in Thursday’s referendum supported remaining in the bloc, while an identical proportion — 57 percent — of Britons over 55 supported the opposite: leaving Europe behind. 

For those under 25, the desire to remain in the union was especially high: Three-quarters wanted Britain to stay in Europe.

It has caused the worst kind of wounds.

Louise Driscoll, a 21-year-old barista in London, spent most of the day crying. “I had a bad feeling in my gut,” she said of Britain’s referendum on Europe. “What do we do now? I’m very scared.” Her parents both voted to leave the bloc, she said, and “will probably be gloating.”

“Truly gutted that our grandparents have effectively decided that they hate foreigners more than they love us and our futures,” one young Briton, Dan Boden, wrote on Twitter.

So it is a dark moment, and my only consolation is that in Scotland at least, the young will get a second chance to determine their own future...

For the referendum result has breathed new life into the movement for Scottish independence.  

Scotland is on the brink of staging a fresh referendum on independence after Nicola Sturgeon requested talks with the EU on separate membership after the UK’s vote to leave. 

The first minister said she believed a second referendum on independence was highly likely after Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain within the EU, but was unable to prevent the leave campaign winning by 52% to 48% across the UK as a whole.

It has shown yet again that Scotland is a different country, with its own values and priorities.

And I'm pretty sure that it will never consent to live under the thumb of the brutish Thatcherite Cons who are about to replace David Cameron, grind the hopes of the poor who voted for them to dust, and make Britain an even more meaner and more miserable place to live in.

So although, like so many others, I was gutted by the result of the last independence referendum...

Now I'm full of hope...

Full of hope that Scotland, a small but proud country, will get another chance to determine its own future, and build the kinder, gentler, more left-wing society it wants. One free from the toxic bigotry that is poisoning Con Britain.

It is the light in the darkness.

It is my dream.

Scotland forever, and here we go again...

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  1. Anonymous10:01 AM

    The people have spoken. Last time I checked an older vote counts just as much as a younger vote.

    1. hi anon...nobody is saying that one vote isn't good as another. What they are saying is that older people have a responsibility to think of the young who will have to live with the consequences of their actions, long after they are dead....

  2. Anonymous10:24 AM

    This morning on the news, Over 1 million people signed on a petition to do that vote over again. Apaparenty it was mostly the elderly that voted against the separation of the United nations.


    1. hi Irene....yes unfortunately a lot of the elderly, as well as the poor and the uneducated allowed themselves to be fooled by the leaders of the LEAVE side, and have left Britain in an absolute mess. The EU had its flaws, it needed to be reformed. But instead the idiot Cons threw out the baby with the bath water...

  3. martin10:45 AM

    Simon, while I am excited by the impetus the Brexit vote has given for another Scottish referendum and independence, I am equally concerned by the turmoil it might now have unleashed in Northern Ireland. Brexit will mean a return to Border controls with the Republic - an undesirable symbol of the "old" days. The whole Northern Ireland peace process could easily unravel. The Northern Ireland vote map shows a split that mirrors to a fair extent the pro- and anti- Unionist regions. Canadian commentary seems to have completely overlooked or be rather naive on this aspect of Brexit. For example, Terry Milewski on Power & Politics gave what I thought was a poor analysis.

    1. hi anon...I am very familiar with the Northern Irish situation, and with the border area. And not only is leaving the EU economically bad for those who live in he north, having to build a border will bring back very bad memories for all the people of Ireland. And you're right it could have a very bad effect on the peace process, which after all that happened would be an absolute tragedy. Read the history of the small town called Crossmaglen in County Armagh, and maybe I'll write a post soon and tell you what I know about it...

  4. Early 80s... I wonder who did that to those people to alienate them. Oh right, Maggie.

    Just like what Ronnie did in the 80s to middle America.

    1. hi Dan...Margaret Thatcher's legacy in northern England and Scotland is so foul, that most people who mention her name often spit on the ground if they speak it. As do I, who celebrated her death for almost a week. I am very sympathetic to the people in the north, I understand why they're so angry, but I'm sorry to see how they have been used by Boris Johnson and company who are in fact nothing more than Thatcherites, and will do nothing to help the poor, just bury them even more...

  5. e.a.f.11:12 PM

    I read the article in the guardian, "if you have money, you vote in...if you haven't got money, you vote out". Yes, if the pie is very small, who wants to share? Things have been going down hill in G.B. for those who are the average working person. Housing was getting worse and more expensive. Education, health care, all going down hill. who to blame, well the foreigners are always a good place to start. But many of the Brits might have looked to themselves. their country was going down hill be cause of income inequity. Tony Blair might have headed the Labour party but he certainly wasn't much of a socialist. then they voted for David Cameron of the Conservative Party and things got worse, not better.
    all of the Brexit thing shows the importance of voting for your interests.

    Its hard for people to feel open and sharing when they have little left and their own families aren't doing well. then add in a few too many dumb rules out of Belgium and you have a problem.

    I'm just really glad I live in Canada.

    1. hi e.a.f...Britain is a perfect example of the politics on inequality. As I said in my post, there is London and then there is the rest of the country. And in some places in the north it's hard to believe that you're still in Britain. The Con policies of austerity are far worse than anything the Cons did in this country, and have done Britain enormous damage...