“This is the second time in 2 years where I have voted the same as millions of fellow citizens but found myself on the wrong side of a very small majority. I am left wondering how and why democracy has failed me.”
I wrote that last Friday, and almost a week on I am still wondering. Unlike my friends and colleagues Lorna, Martin, Frances and more recently Helen, David and David – who inspired me with title for this post – I haven’t really had the words to describe what I am feeling. I thank them, and the countless other personal reflections I have read over the past 5 days for their eloquence, compassion and integrity.
I too feel despair, confusion, despondency. Mostly though I feel like I am experiencing a type of out of body experience. One where all around me chaos is descending, I try to shout but no one can hear me, so I just float on. Sometimes laughing at the insanity, sometimes close to tears.
Like many others living in Scotland I’ve been here before. But that was different. That didn’t matter to THEM, until it looked like the yes campaign might win and then we got the Vow. We were lied to then, and THEY won. They told us the only way Scotland could stay in the EU and was if it stayed in the UK. We took our democratic revenge in the general election – but still we don’t matter to them. They still lie.
Our “United Kingdom” has been taken to the brink by ego and internal Tory party politics. The disaffection of so many has been horribly manipulated by over simplification, acceptance of casualised racism, the conflated and convoluted myths of immigration and migration, not to mention barefaced lies.
In a bizarre way I almost admire the way that the leave campaign was able to return the many serves that Project Fear sent their way. All economic arguments were dismissed as experts have “got it wrong in the past.” BOOM! Take that Project Fear. No-one can beat the “taking back our country” return. And no-one could. Or at least no-one was actually given the opportunity.
THEY saw to that. Where was the rigorous debate, the balanced media coverage? I don’t know about any research being done around the coverage of both campaigns, but from my point of view dear old Auntie Beeb seemed to revel in the easy headlines that Vote Leave campaign gave them. “I don’t agree” was an acceptable explanation, headline and lead story. Why were the leave campaign not taken to task about a plan after a leave vote? Why are they still not being taken to task about that? This has been the greatest political swindle possibly of all time.
And it’s all down to to THEM. The media, the establishment, the “oh it’s ok to take a gamble so I (or my new BFF) can become PM because we won’t actually win”; the just scare them the way we did to “the Jocks”; the I can’t reconcile my own political views with the vast majority of the membership of the party I led so I’ll just do the absolute minimum because the leave campaign can’t win, can it?; the disaffected public who wanted to protest about so many things other than EU membership.
Sadly there’s probably a part of me in some (but hopefully not all ) of THEM. So where now? We all we need to take back control of the debate from THEM. I rejoice in the fact that so many people since Friday have taken to social media, have blogged are looking for ways to question the majority, are having their say. We need to demand that we get proper debate, not pop concert arenas staged for waving and cheering. We need to demand young, ethnically diverse people lead the coverage, not the old guard – not THEM.
The result last Friday morning proved that UK mainstream politics are not listening, We need to overwhelm THEM with our voices, our petitions. We can’t continue to let THEM get away with it. At the same time we must not disregard the other THEM, the ones who used the referendum as a protest. We need to help them see the facts, the truth so that they can never be victims to another swindle like BREXIT.