The Fault In Our Stars: The EU Question
Is it possible to have no opinion on the EU referendum? I suspect the answer is no. Ask your friend, ask your boss, ask your neighbour, ask your tennis partner, as your mistress, ask your urologist. They’ll all have something to say about it. Indeed, as I type now, my Facebook scroll is littered with updates in the vein of ‘Just Voted!’ / ‘Get voting guys!’ / ‘I have voted and now I'm going to be impossibly smug and hollier-than-thou about it.’ Perhaps that is the greatest thing to come out of this referendum, regardless of the outcome: it’s the first time the country has been energised by a popular vote in quite some time. Even last year’s general election only coaxed 6/10 people out of bed, the remaining 4 presumably staying in to catch up on something more important, like Diagnosis Murder.
However the electorate’s renewed interest in the referendum is more likely due to the fact it’s been dramatised beyond belief. It’s been unpleasant. An irresponsible horror-show . The reason everyone’s sat rapt, watching, is for precisely the same reason you might watch a car crash, or some other horrific act of viscera, like Mariah Carey in concert. We watch because we can’t truly believe how destructive this campaign has been.
And the crazy thing is, the result is to an extent, irrelevant. Yes, if the Leave vote succeeds the International community will see us as fusty, small-minded, gurning wankers, this is true. However, even if the Remain camp draws in the most tickets, the damage and hurt will still be there. The genie is well and truly out the bottle, and he’s taking a massive shite in your kettle. The Referendum campaign has cost the Government dearly. More than that, the Conservative party in general; now finally teetering on the maw of electoral oblivion. The rift between back-bench euro-sceptics and their more pragmatic cabinet minsters is gaping, wide and ragged as the proverbial. But the damage is not limited to that lot. For Labour has been sucked in too. Corbyn may refuse to share a stage with Cameron but it is now hard not to see him as part of the machine. Meanwhile his ministers are in agreement with the leader of the opposition. The former Mayor of London and a cabinet minister have broken ranks, as well as saying some very personal things about our own PM. Meanwhile the former Secretary for Work and Pensions is finally duking it out with his long reviled nemesis, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This all occurring against the backdrop of a bloodthirsty right-wing press, the howling of whom threatens to drown out everything, the tragic murder of a young Remain MP, as well an aging rock star and a krypto-fascist circling one another in boaties on the Thames and yelling through megaphones.
The whole thing is a total mess. The referendum has seen the whole political fruit basket dunked into a blender and puréed into some new and confounding new state where red is not blue, the status quo is less retrograde than asking to leave, and Europe is saying very nice things about us. If we vote to leave, I place the blame at Cameron’s door. The whole thing has been executed horribly, fear being the driving motivation, not hope. The government should have stayed well out of the whole thing. If this is truly a decision for the people, and it probably shouldn't be, then give them the bald, unbiased facts, and let them decide. But decide they will, and pretty soon, we’ll know exactly how that turned out.