Don’t panic…. Thoughts on the EU referendum


As is obvious, I sit on the fence so often that I need padded trousers. Nevertheless, I feel duty bound to offer some thoughts on the topic of the day, dear readers.

No, I won’t tell you what I voted, although I’m sure it would surprise some. (No, I know it wouldn’t surprise you.) When I voted, I was fully aware that mine was just one voice from we, the people. I was prepared to accept whatever the majority said.

I was horrified, all through the campaign, by the vituperative and abusive manner in which it was conducted, by elements of both sides; horrified by the lies, distortions and threats. Yes, I am aware that not everybody took such a dishonourable stand. There were good and reasoned arguments presented for and against.

I was surprised by the result; I am clearly not a good political forecaster. But I am now very disturbed by the aftermath.

To start with: it’s called democracy. You have your say; I have mine; we all have our say. The majority wins. We could talk about proportional representation, but the referendum was different: a clear yes/ no. If democracy is to work, you can’t change the rules if you don’t like the result.

OK, the number who voted to leave the EU was less than half of the total electorate. That point would have been equally applicable if the vote had gone the other way.

Sometimes I hallucinate…. I am surely imagining a Facebook post saying that some people voted Brexit and are now horrified we are actually going to leave the EU….. they didn’t think it would happen. Voting is a serious matter; it’s not to give the government a scare or whatever. (Though I suppose that they are entitled to that rationale, but should not be surprised by the result.)

I am most disturbed by the abuse that is being dished out by both sides. People who voted out are not all old, poor, racist, chavs, stupid, etc. etc. People who voted in are not all affluent, young, out of touch, elitist, etc. etc. To group millions of people on either side under stereotypical tags is plain wrong.

Whatever one’s view, it is surely most important that we should move on together: to exit, to renegotiation, to whatever. As I confidently predicted, the sun has continued to rise each day. It has even shone (occasionally.) This is a lovely country with a great tradition of tolerance, vigorous debate and humour. (To which Mrs Oblique adds ‘freedom to be unique’.) I beg everybody not to forget that.


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