Brexit – Five First Quick Thoughts

  • My first thoughts on waking to the news of the result of the referendum on membership of the EU are not with the markets nor about sovereignty but with individuals. In particular, my thoughts are with the considerable numbers of members of my own congregation who have come from the rest of the EU to make a home here and indeed those who have moved the other way and who are living in other European countries. There will be considerable numbers of people feeling very uncertain about their own place in the world.
  • My second concern lies with those who will be the poorer for this decision. Financial volatility seems destined to affect the poor disproportionately. So far I hear no discourse in the media about the least financially secure. One of the reasons that this has happened is that there has been a collapse in trust in the ability politicians in much of the UK to speak for policies that would benefit most of the people.
  • I don’t think that the economic questions facing Scotland got any easier overnight. The calls for a second independence referendum are surely coming our way but on what terms? A Scotland in Europe hitched to a pound out of Europe? An independent Scotland committed to a Europe that fractures even more? Neither position is terribly attractive. It seems to me that there will be further attempts across Europe to persuade countries to leave the EU. That becomes much more likely after this vote.
  • I fear that there are more referendums heading our way whilst hating that way of making political decisions. We have representative democracy so that our representatives get to slug things out primarily so we don’t have to do so ourselves. Sadly I suspect there may be quite a lot of anger coming the way of our politicians. To some extent this result reflects the existence of quite a lot of anger already. However, politicians stand between the tyrant and the mob keeping both at bay.
  • The most frightening thing I saw over the last few days was the relatively powerful in the country having no contact at all with the disaffected majority. Again and again I heard people of the intelligentsia (a group I’d have to acknowledge I belong to as a card carrying member) saying that they simply knew no-one at all who wanted to leave and didn’t believe that it could possibly happen. We are divided and in ways I fear.

There will be more to say later.

Very much more.

Politics Just Became More Interesting

There’s a lot of soul searching going on in the UK over the European Election results. Here’s my take on it all…

  • Those complaining most about the low turnout need to think about what they want to do in order to stop low turnout. The best thing to do is to join a political party and work to get people to the ballot box to vote for what you believe in.
  • Trouble is, I don’t find a party I want to belong to.
  • The above 2 points are the problem.  (Or at least, they are my problem with politics at the moment).
  • The media coverage from the BBC seemed particularly biased. I don’t like criticising the Beeb because I love it but it really did seem to have become the UKIP Broadcasting Corperation and I still can’t quite fathom why.
  • I don’t think I know a single person who has told me they were supporting UKIP. Now – is that because I’m in a little bubble and I genuinely don’t know anyone who votes that way or is it because voting that way is not socially acceptable?
  • Nick Clegg made a number of strategic errors in taking on Nigel Farrage in TV debates. Firstly it got Farrage even more coverage and allowed him to appear to be an equal when he wasn’t. Secondly Clegg failed to merge the UKIP and Tory brand. (People like me wonder whether he is opposed to the Tories at all – he just doesn’t come across as disliking what they stand for and someone in his position needs to be able to convey something a little stronger than dislike). Thirdly, he didn’t really do it well enough – die-hard party members were impressed by him but that’s not what the exercise is all about. Keep it Simple is still effective. (One of the posts that I had up recently which got lots of traction was about why I’m supportive of the EU because of mobile phone roaming, oh yes, and because we don’t tend to go to war in Western Europe with one another as once we did).
  • Policywise I hope that political parties concentrate on those who didn’t vote rather than those who voted UKIP.
  • I fear they won’t.
  • I was surprised that the SNP did not increase their share of the vote.
  • I wasn’t surprised that the Lib Dem vote collapsed.
  • I feel for the Greens who were struggling to get a word in edgeways. I kind of wish that I could vote Green but the trouble is, they’ve got their policies.
  • The Liberal Democrats are not going to do better until they have a change in leader and until there is obvious contrition. It is going to get worse before it gets better.
  • I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but I can’t take the leadership of the Labour Party in Scotland seriously.
  • Thank God there was no “Christian” party on the ballot paper.
  • Politics just got more interesting because people don’t know what it all means and don’t know what comes next.
  • That’s the best politics in the world.

You got your own take? Share it in the comments below.