The British people are not very good at referendums. No surprise really: we’ve only had three to decide upon in 42 years. Given that fact, I suppose a 66.7% success rate isn’t bad. In comparison, Switzerland are very good at referendums: between the years 1995 and 2005, the people of Switzerland were asked to vote on separate matters of government policy no fewer than 31 times. So, we have the people who are bad at referendums and the people who are good at referendums: perhaps odd that both countries share such an ambiguous relationship with the EU.
At the beginning of the current General Election campaign, Brexit was the dominant political issue. Now, on the day of the actual vote, it is as if Brexit has become something of an afterthought, superseded by concerns regarding security, the NHS, and social care. And yet, Brexit remains the single most important factor, which will shape our island nation’s politics, economics and culture for the next decade.
It would be nice to think that we are ‘taking back control’; reassuring to believe that there is some purpose in any debate regarding the relative hardness of the Brexit deal we are seeking; that the vote we make now in the General Election will somehow effect the Brexit outcome. It is too late for that.
The reality is we are taking an enormous leap into the unknown and, as with all leaps, it is completely out of our own control. Voting; discussions; negotiations: they are all equally pointless as we plummet irrevocably downwards at 9.8m/s2.
The only thing we can hope for is a strong safety net waiting for us at the bottom. And it will be interesting to see who is holding the corners of that net. It might be France and Germany. Ironic. It might be British enterprise and UK stiff-upper-lip resilience. Maybe. One thing is for sure: it won’t be Nigel Farage, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. God knows, why we ever jumped in the first place believing that it would.
© Beery Sue
Beery Sue has cast her vote and can now only sit and wait. And drink.