“If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH', the paint wouldn't even have time to dry.”
-The Thief of Time, Terry Pratchett
Well, they only went and did it. England and Wales rose up against London, with all its horrid Others and voted to pull the End of the World switch. The Act of Union may unravel, Scotland and N. Ireland dashing for the safety of keeping their maroon passports. David Cameron’s place in the history books is assured. He resigned, certain to be remembered as one of the most significant of Prime Ministers- the man who made the worst political miscalculation in modern British history and blew up the future.
Oh, the vortex of wrongheadedness that created this self-inflicted, unforced disaster for the UK! Its political discourse around the EU has been basically dysfunctional for decades. Its popular print media are clinically insane on the subject. The voters have, quite literally, never heard anything about the EU that actually exists. They have also been trained by the horrible 1st past the post voting system the UK uses to think that their vote probably doesn’t matter.
We saw videos of “Leave” voters expressing regret at their choices today on the TV. They only wanted to have a pop at all those people who are always telling them what to do. This is how referenda work- unlike parliamentary elections, lining up all the powerful, connected and knowledgeable voices on one side is almost the most certain way to boost the other camp. Power, office or expertise is not an advantage in a referendum- it is starting handicapped.
Cornwall (who voted strongly to leave) issued a call to preserve all its EU funding. They mean it.
This can be fixed. Not with another referendum (the UK is still not sufficiently used to these votes to be able to face a second one) but with an election where reversing the decision is offered by one side. That can only happen as long as nobody in the dissolving UK executive presses the Article 50 Big Red Button out of some sort of cliff-edge mania. The moment that happens, the way back takes years and years.
So, first chaos (the UK property bubble popped today, btw. It’ll just take a few weeks for it to be undeniable). Then lots and lots of buyer’s remorse, in polls and everyday life. If you want to help, always share those videos of regretful Leave voters. Then, an election on climbing back into the lifeboat from the freezing water.
This can be fixed. Not that it will, necessarily. After all, there is no such thing as progress. But even when it looks like all is lost, a country can find itself again. We will all gain if Britain decides it wants to start on the way home.