Until yesterday morning I hoped the UK national referendum, on whether to leave the European Union, would fail. I was hearted by the betting market (including the financial markets). I thought perhaps it would go down to the wire but just squeak by. Then I talked to one of my favourite family members who had just voted to Leave and then I saw reports that turnout was huge: more than 72% of those eligible to vote did so. And, Ah, shit, I thought. That’s it, then. (When the numbers are that big, those disgruntled citizens who normally feel disenfranchised are voting.) I got that sinking feeling even before the results started to roll in.
Kelley and I had been planning, at some point, to live in the UK for a year or so. We intended to get her UK, and so European, citizenship. Now I think a) it’s likely there won’t be a UK to live in, and b) I’m not sure we want to. This vote broke the UK; it might break the EU. There will be a recession, a bad one. The xenophobes have been unleashed. This result has invited the whirlwind.
If Trump wins here in November—and while it’s not hugely likely it is possible—we are in deep shit. As I’ve said before: whatever you think, make sure you vote. As all those English (and Welsh) citizens are about to discover, you get the country you vote for. In such a case, the two places I’d be tempted to live for a while, Canada and Ireland, will also be hit. I suspect the world will be hit.
Here’s the thing: it won’t always be bad. If the EU breaks it will eventually be remade, and remade better. But it could take a very loooong time. And meanwhile many people will suffer and die—I mean many and I mean die. I am thinking of those millions of refugees for starters. And people like me: crips and queers and people of colour, those the disgruntled turn on when the going gets sticky.
So, two things:
- Fucking vote
- Do your best to enjoy the pleasures of life and help others enjoy theirs.