I didn’t share any thoughts pre-referendum but my voting intention was clear. In the days following the vote for ‘Brexit’ there have been thousands of articles written, millions of tweets posted and hours of TV/radio programmes all reflecting on what’s happened and why.
Neither the result nor the subsequent analysis has changed my mind.
There is now talk of the need to ‘move forward’, to ‘work together’, to ‘believe we can make everything better’. The sub-text being that to do otherwise is to ignore the will of the people, to act against the best interests of the country, to be unpatriotic. I consider myself to be a patriot and want every person in the UK to be safe and prosper but I will never share the views of many of the 17,410,742 who voted for, amongst other things, leaving the EU. I cannot in conscience work together with them or move forward on their agenda. The country is split and anyone who really thought the Referendum was going to achieve anything else was naive. I was not alone in being worried before the vote about the direction the debates were taking and the deep divisions within our society they revealed. For either side to claim that it was just a passionate debate between leaders who were respectful of each other or between well informed citizens acting in a rational way and also to say they expected that they would all be able to get on just fine afterwards was foolish. Quite apart from the fact that the many politicians simply inflamed the situation the discussions at every level were often far from rational and never solely about EU membership.
In 1858 Abraham Lincoln made a speech in which he said “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” It’s worth looking at the longer biblical text from which he drew inspiration: “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
Had the result been for Remain I would have been just as concerned as I am now about the deep divisions that so clearly exist within the UK. My mind has not been put at ease by the post vote comments of the current party leaders, leaders in waiting and other ‘wannabes. I am deeply cynical about the motives of all involved and I remain worried for the future of our country.
Timothy Garton Ash quotes Poland’s interwar independence hero Józef Piłsudski “to be defeated and not give up, that is victory……to be victorious and rest on your laurels, that is defeat.”
He goes on to say “We English Europeans must acknowledge that we have suffered a defeat, but we will not give up. After all, 48% of the people who voted in this referendum were with us.”