Memoirs Of A Fire Hazard isn't usually political. Sometimes, however, something happens in politics which is so seismically stupid, annoying and bloody terrifying that it would be remiss not to pass comment. Largely I have been respectful of the opposite view to my own during the EU referendum campaigns. Yesterday was the first time I posted anything about the subject on social media. Many said, quite rightly, that we shouldn't be launching personal attacks on each other over a political issue, but when this morning we awoke to the news that the UK, in their limitless wisdom, had decided to leave the European Union following yesterday's vote I started to wish I'd made more effort to put people off voting Leave. What we will have now is a so-called 'Brexit' which I described yesterday as like setting your rented house on fire because you want more control over what happens to it. When you ask the average Leave voter why they want to leave the EU they don't actually know, or they come up with something about taking back control of our own borders. All of which is complete nonsense, as we will see.
The referendum result was a close run thing. Fifty-one point nine per cent of those who voted chose to leave while 49.1% had the nous to think it better to stay. As a result of this narrow defeat for the Remain campaign, pig-fancying gobshite Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that he will leave office by this October. I can honestly say I never thought I would be genuinely disturbed by his departure, but I am. There will be those who think that the Leave campaign is a triumph because it has brought about the end of his time in Downing Street, but this is a short term view which fails to acknowledge any of the multitude of other dangers that may lie around the corner following his exit. In short, be careful what you wish for.
Although Cameron campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU he is largely to blame for the mess that has this morning left the pound weaker than it has been since 1985. The mess that threatens to see lovable television buffoon and English Donald Trump Boris Johnson take over the premiership, and a situation which will in truth make absolutely rock all difference to immigration except for the anticipated flood of people who might be desperate to get here for fear that we will be shutting our doors to them two years from now. That's right Leave voters, even if we start the process of leaving today (which we won't for reasons I will explain later) it will take two years to complete. Let's just say it is complex. If you imagined that you would wake up this morning to news footage of someone blocking the Channel Tunnel with a great big red brick wall then you are going to be sorely disappointed. Ironically, Leave voters may even have brought about an increase in immigration, in the short term at least. Regardless, if we did shut our doors to everyone and not just those from Europe, it would make a difference of around one in 35 people over a 10-year period. That is to say that in 10 years time there would be 34 children in your child's school classroom instead of 35, or 34 cars ahead of you in the morning traffic jams instead of 35. Was this really worth fucking the economy for? Or potentially turning our fate as a nation over to the extreme right loonies Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage? Respectfully I suggest not.
The awful truth is that Cameron should never have offered the people a referendum to decide something so important. It was spineless and politically irresponsible, as is his departure now. He'll probably be reflecting on that now as he prepares to go through the door marked Do One. The people were never close to being interested enough or educated enough to make a sensible decision. Right up until yesterday social media was flooded with half-wits suggesting that they didn't know which way to vote because there was 'not enough information' available. These people, who it seems have not yet grasped the concept of Google, were also adamant that since people fought and died for their right to vote that they should exercise that right. All of which sounds lovely in principle but should you really exercise your right to vote if you know fuck all about what you are voting on? And what's more if you do not care to know to the extent that you couldn't spend five minutes conducting a little research, instead preferring to use your technological know-how to shout into the social media void that you don't know what the fuck you are doing? But it's all so difficult, isn't it?
Now even though Cameron's departure as PM could be considered a good thing, it has left the country in an almighty mess. Basically, Mr Cameron has walked into a room, shit in the corner and then ran off to leave someone else to clean up the mess. It's monumentally cowardly of him and I confess to being a little bit surprised by it. I was hanging on to the hope that he would use his legendary devious nature to either rig the referendum for the greater good or else stay in office and work to find a way to avoid enforcing the EU withdrawal. Or at least manage it to try to limit the damage. After all, the vote was particularly close and if you include the people who did not turn out to vote then you could argue that the majority of people did not vote to leave the EU. Still, so long as the people who didn't know what to do until yesterday turned out then we're in safe hands. Democracy works.
Chillingly, the people who will most likely be left to pick up the pieces from this and that ran the Leave campaign are as surprised by the result as I am. It's highly likely that they didn't expect to win and that the likes of Johnson, Farage and Gove just wanted to give Cameron a bloody nose for their own political ends. Their agenda always seemed more likely to be to shove Cameron aside to progress their own, even more right wing plans for control than it was to actually cut the UK adrift from an organisation which has provided us with all manner of positives from human rights, employment rights, regeneration for our cities and towns and blah blah blah. I know, Leave don't want to read that because the main thing is that we stop foreigners piling through our borders at a rate of 200million a day.
Back in the real world and with all that in mind there will now be a probably interminable period to allow for the meeting of these great minds to decide exactly how to go about facilitating our exit from the EU. Scotland and Northern Ireland are already making noises about leaving the UK, clearly because they overwhelmingly want to remain part of the EU. The referendum results in those countries proved that. Brexit is a distinctly English thing. Not that any of this matters to Leave voters who are just delighted that the Leave campaign have promised to stop those bloody foreigners coming over here taking our benefits and our jobs at the same time, contributing to our economy and all kinds of other evil that Little Englanders hate. It's a promise they may not even keep but it has at least sated the English appetite for hatred for now. Indeed, the result is a victory for hate. The people who start their sentences with the phrase 'I'm not racist but....' may not be racist in the same way that people who come up to me in the street and say 'I'm not being funny but...' are not necessarily prejudiced against the disabled. Yet the fact that they need to establish that before they speak sometimes is fairly telling. The bottom line is that they have thrown their lot in with some very powerful people who are clearly racist. People like Farage who sold voters the lie that the UK pours £350million into the EU every week, and who has immediately back-tracked on his laughable claim that following our EU exit that money would instead be spent on the NHS. At best a vote for that is naïve and irresponsible, at worst it is disgusting and unpalatable.
One crumb of comfort could come from the possibility that a General Election takes place. Cameron's lot were elected to hold the referendum, but not necessarily to follow through with our EU exit. If the people decide whether we should stay or go from the EU then perhaps they should also have a say in who manages our departure from it. OK so we are trusting idiots again that way, and the far right psychos like Farage will no doubt take some of the working class vote, thus helping the Tories to divide and conquer us. But it might be our best bet, given that the alternative is to let Bellend Nigel and his cronies guide us through what is now sure to be a difficult period.