So we had the referendum and now have we started to think seriously about what it means. Perhaps we should have done that first, instead of treating the whole exercise as if it were just a team sport.
A serious omission was any consideration of what might count as a decisive result. Would a majority of one person have counted as decisive? Presumably not. A majority of 1.5 million then? A lot of people, admittedly, but it still amounts to a very small proportion of those who voted, and a smaller proportion of the electorate. Generally you would look for a 60/40 majority, or even two-to-one, for a major change with huge constitutional implications.
The people have spoken, certainly, but all they said in the end was, ‘Er…’ — in other words it was a definite maybe, a resounding ‘don’t know’.
And as the chickens come home to roost people are beginning to understand for the first time that leaving the EU would have far more disruptive consequences than anyone bargained for. The almost certain break-up of the UK, for a start — border controls between England and Scotland, and between Eire and Northern Ireland! Is that what we really want?
And did anyone really believe the nonsense about an extra £350M for the NHS that was touted by the Leave campaign? Can there be any serious doubt that in reality our privatisation and austerity obsessed government will cut NHS funding even further and use the resulting problems as an excuse to accelerate the privitisation programme.
The outlook is horrendous.
So now the revolution starts.
But it will be a very British revolution. No violence, just a sudden awakening to what is happening and a stubborn, persistent determination not to let it happen. The people have spoken? Perhaps, but nearly two thirds of the population have not said they wish to leave the EU, and pretty nearly 50% have clearly said they do not wish to do so.
Holding the referendum was an error of judgment. The Conservative leadership was bounced into it by the grumpy brigade, the Daily Mail (the paper that never knowingly tells the truth), and Little England fantasists. They gambled with our future because thought they could win, but they lost, as gamblers often do.
But it was worse than an error of judgment — it was an act of political foolishness. And one that promises to mess up our lives and deny us our European citizenship.
It must not happen. We must not allow it to happen.
There must be demonstrations, petitions, and if necessary legal challenge.
And if you haven’t signed one of the petitions yet (petition.parliament.uk/petitions/131215 or www.change.org/p/eu-offer-european-citizenship-to-uk-citizens, for example), please do so now.
And let’s stop this foolishness from going any further.