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27 June 2016 @ 08:56 pm
In which Sam Tom should apparently not be trusted to predict the outcome of referenda  
I was surprised, but not unpleasantly, by the outcome of the EU membership referendum. Unlike literally everyone that I know and like, as far as I'm aware, I voted to Leave. Not gladly, but I had lost hope of the EU seriously entertaining any hope of reform or consideration of the UK's specific needs, after Cameron's failed negotiation attempt. I thought the UK was likely to fall in line at the last minute, like Scotland did, but apparently the majority of people here are just too disgruntled to put up with it any more. Fair enough. I'm not even at the hard end of globalisation - I have a university degree (first class, from the School of European Studies at the left-leaning University of Sussex), I have been able to support myself financially so far, I am not waiting for a council flat or unskilled job - but I could empathise with those who were. I've been poor in the past. I don't mean poor as in, not being able to afford to go on a bender at the end of the month and having to ask parents for money. I mean poor as in, parents actually having no money to start with, scrabbling about to gather up spare change to buy fruit, driving a beaten up car, not being able to afford to leave in a home with central heating, despite working hard. It's rubbish.

Had Remain won, I like to think I wouldn't have thrown my toys out of the pram, and would have accepted the outcome of a democratic process. After all, there are advantages to being in the EU, I'm not going to pretend it's been unalloyed awfulness, especially for someone like me who likes travelling, does business with French  companies literally every day of my working life, and sees a lot to like about continental Europe. So I was a bit disappointed at the histrionic response of the disappointed Remainders. In the run-up to the vote, the Remain campaign had some good arguments, which I considered carefully. But following the result, all their claims of embodying 'compassion' and 'hope' seem like a façade. Now they didn't get the result they wanted, their true colours are revealed. It's open season on the old, the working class, the white poor, the English outside London. I've seriously seen people argue that old people shouldn't be allowed to vote. They don't care to hear our arguments, they would rather label us all racist or stupid.

There's a saying, 'Scratch a liberal, find a totalitarian underneath'. It's normally repeated by the sort of people who make unsavoury comments on Breitbart News articles and vote UKIP, so I haven't paid much heed to it until now. But now I think there may well be some truth in it. We've seen the expression of a desire to ignore the results of the referendum by people like David Lammy, MP for my former home of Tottenham, where babies changed hands for money down the road from where I lived, and everyday I walked past piles of rubbish taller than me (OK, that's still not very tall, but still...). If you can't guarantee regular rubbish collections for your local area, it's a bit rich to try and pervert the course of democracy for a whole nation. Or Scottish nationalists implying it would be wrong for the UK to take Scotland to take out of the EU, but it would be fine for Scotland to force the UK to stay in the EU against the will of the majority. Eh? Joined-up thinking, anyone? No... No? OK, fine. Just keep hitting Twitter, if you keep posting the same Huffington Post article again and again it may eventually be true.

Being 'individual' and 'unique' is glamorised but actually it's really awkward in real life. Staying true to your convictions makes you feel weird and left out. But the alternative - to follow those around you when you simply don't agree with them, in your heart of hearts - feels worse. A lot of the political establishment seems to have mobilised against the referendum result, so it's hard to know where it will all end up. (Although, credit to Corbyn for standing firm in the face of elements of the party trying to oust him after about 5 minutes leading the party - very childish.) In all events, I am glad I voted the way I did. I voted according to my conscience, and to the best of my knowledge. Let's hope that when the dust settles, both sides can agree a positive way forward and maintain civil relations with the rest of Europe while honouring the people's choice. Although I'm aware that is a bit of a tall order.
 
 
Even androids feel...: surprisedsurprised
TV sounds: Pat Benatar - I'll Do It