Control of everything, at what cost to Britain?


On Friday 24th June I woke up in another universe, one where 51.9% of Britain voted to exit from the European Union. I had gone to bed just as I heard the news Sunderland had voted to leave the EU. There is so many things to say but I want to say…

I reiterate, I am so so so embarrassed and ashamed to be british to all my EU friends and collaborators for the ‪#‎brexit‬ result… Kat says it exactly right

I don’t usually watch much live/broadcast TV but it was on at work, so I watched a bit of coverage. There was quite a bit with people from both sides. What I found really interesting from most of the people who voted leave, was the need to have control. control of our borders, control of our laws, control of immigration, control of our money, control, control…

Or the rather the illusion of control… This is set in motion through Fear. Interestingly Adam Curtis’ Power of Nightmares talks about this…

…fear will not last, and just as the dreams that the politicians once promised turned out to be illusions, so too will the nightmares. And then, our politicians will have to face the fact that they have no visions, either good or bad, to offer us any longer.

Watching the leave campaign talk about what next after the decision was, lacking in vision to say the very least. They got everything they wanted including the head of Cameron.

But back to control… Control seems at odds with collaboration and cooperation. It’s exactly the kind of thing you expect from young children not reasonable adults. This was even clearer watching back some of the panel debates (the world was watching too) on the run up to Thursdays vote, although there’s enough dust kicked up to make both sides look like screaming children.

And it goes much deeper than just the EU.

The vote blew the lid off tensions between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Could stir up trouble between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Threw a series of molotov cocktails at the already growing differences between the lower and middle classes. Then dug a hole the size of the channel tunnel, straight through the baby boomer generation and every generation who followed.

How different would things be if 16-17 year olds could have voted? Heck what about all the other people who made the UK their home from the EU?

There is a slight glimmer of hope as the referendum isn’t legally binding, yet.

The referendum is advisory rather than mandatory. The 2011 referendum on electoral reform did have an obligation on the government to legislate in the event of a “yes” vote (the vote was “no” so this did not matter). But no such provision was included in the EU referendum legislation.

What happens next in the event of a vote to leave is therefore a matter of politics not law. It will come down to what is politically expedient and practicable. The UK government could seek to ignore such a vote; to explain it away and characterise it in terms that it has no credibility or binding effect (low turnout may be such an excuse). Or they could say it is now a matter for parliament, and then endeavour to win the parliamentary vote. Or ministers could try to re-negotiate another deal and put that to another referendum. There is, after all, a tradition of EU member states repeating referendums on EU-related matters until voters eventually vote the “right” way.

Theres also a petition with almost 2 million encouraging parliament to step in and debate the legality of the EU referendum. I signed it as something as devastating as leaving the EU must be debated in a rational way, not children paying in the mud that was the previous campaigns. Even if it doesn’t become legally binding some of the damage is already done and there will be collateral damage as a good part of the 51.9% will cry foul, maybe turning to greater supporters, further stiring up troubles?

I cling to the fact I never voted to leave and all the places I’d lived

  • Bristol (61.7%)
  • London Croydon (54.3%)
  • London Bromley (50.6%)
  • London Greenwich (55.6%)
  • Manchester (60.4% )

All voted as a majority to stay.

I am so greatly sorry to be British, in a similar way to how Americans use to have to apologize for George W Bush and the middle east war. Well the shoe is on the other foot now.

My country is acting like spoilt little children, fallen for the lies and needs to get a clue that the future is about collaboration & relationships not control & dominace.

Author: cubicgarden

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.