Readers in the UK should be more au fait with this topic, but I imagine those in the US will have seen some coverage of the momentous events over here. Just over two weeks ago, following months of draining bickering by both camps, 51.9% of British voters chose to leave the European Union, a decision whose ramifications are yet to be known. The long and short of it is thus: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will, at some point over the next few years, abandon its political ties with the EU.
For those of you abroad who haven’t been subjected to the tit-for-tattery by the dishonourable gentlemen involved, I’ll try to summarise the whole sorry affair as succinctly as possible. The Remainers claimed that Britain is stronger in the EU, forecasting economical armageddon were we to vote out and lose untariffed access to the single market. Those in favour of a British exit (“Brexit”) insisted that our sovereignty was compromised by our membership, and that the free movement of people central to the ethos of the EU meant we were going to be further swamped by hordes of migrants. Neither team covered themselves in glory, with scaremongering, wild hypotheses, dirty tricks and unlikely promises aplenty.
Firstly, I’ll explain my own reasons for my choice to pencil my cross in the “Remain” box. They weren’t particularly influenced by the likes of Cameron, Gove, Johnson, Osborne, Farage or the Bank of England, to be honest:
1) I fear the disintegration of the UK. Scotland and Northern Ireland were markedly pro-Remain, and there is an understandable resentment on either side of the Irish Sea. Many Scottish people and their Northern Irish cousins feel that they’re being strongarmed out of the EU by pro-Brexit England and Wales. Though they may be placated by plans for further devolution of powers from Westminster to Holyrood and Stormont, there is a strong possibility – especially in Scotland – that they will hold referenda of their own and vote to become independent of the UK. I predict that Scotland will be a country in its own right by 2020.
2) The current Conservative government is, in my opinion, heartless and unconcerned with the “little people” it governs. Unfettered by the EU, it will ride roughshod over the rights of its electorate. The Labour and Liberal Democrat (remember them?) parties are too weak to provide meaningful opposition, leaving us at the mercy of the Tories for at least the next ten years. Whoever is chosen to succeed David Cameron, the Conservatives will do what they always do: protect their rich, privileged pals whilst shafting the most vulnerable.
3) A vote to leave legitimatises the racism which, unfortunately, still pervades sections of our society. Now, before anyone shoots me down, I’m not saying that all Brexiteers voted because they don’t like foreigners. Or even most. I’m sure the vast majority will have made their choice for noble reasons, and there were compelling arguments put forward by the Eurosceptics. But already we’ve seen an increase in hate crimes. The moronic and bigoted have been emboldened by the referendum result and have directed their pathetic ire against EU migrants already resident in Britain – whose right to stay in Britain should hopefully be enshrined by law – and even against people from outwith the EU. The likes of Britain First, whose name blackened a previous blog of mine, are pedalling their usual bile. Hopefully, this alarming trend towards extremism will taper off, but as we’ve seen in America, these sentiments are growing in popularity and volume.
So what next? The pound sterling and the stock exchange took a bit of a battering in the aftermath of the announcement, but things seemed to have settled down a little. Now the news is dominated by infighting within the main two parties, and talk of the quasi-mythical Article 50. It seems it will be a while before we see any real consequences of the omnishambles to which we’ve condemned ourselves. At least one of the more fantastical selling points has already been dispelled, though: the National Health Service will not get the purported £350,000,000 saved weekly by Brexit. Also, we may not have the border control that was so central to Leave campaign’s argument. And if anyone seriously believed that Turkey joining the EU – thereby leaving Britain open to millions of Turkish and even Syrian immigrants – was an imminent danger, they should probably stick to voting for their favourite X Factor wannabe. Greece and Cyprus would have to go the same way as Atlantis for them not to veto such a move.
On a personal level, I was deeply disappointed by the outcome. I’ve never despaired so much of my fellow Brits, though I feel many of them have been manipulated. Nevertheless, the nation has spoken; I don’t subscribe to the idea of a second referendum. And at least I know which book to write next. I was toying with four different ideas; now I am decided. As a writer of dystopian fiction, I’m going to take full advantage of Brexit and paint a miserable Britain, blighted by intolerance and fascism. No doubt my apocalyptic vision will be derided as radically-pessimistic; however, remember this: I’ve been right before.
Though my speculative Subnormal trilogy was a huge exaggeration of our woes, it was, if I do say so myself, alarmingly prophetic. When I wrote book 1 I told the story of disabled people being marginalised by a cruel tyrant. Since publication the treatment of those on disability benefits has worsened and will probably continue to deteriorate. Okay, my son hasn’t been sent to a concentration camp like Paul Kelly, but I’m sure you’ll allow me a little artistic licence. Book 2, which featured a fanatical cult of terrorists repeatedly attacking innocents to achieve their aims, was released last summer. Months later the worst orchestrated terror attacks in the western world since 9/11 were perpetrated in France and Belgium by a sect of lunatics. And in the final part of the trilogy, Scotland breaks away from England for the first time in three centuries amidst civil war. Unhappily, it appears I may be proved right again (minus the civil war).
Anyway, that’s enough doom and gloom and “I told you so” from me. If you want to check out my Subnormal series, the first novel is always only 99c/99p. From tomorrow, 11th July, until Sunday 17th July, part 2 (Supernormal) will be on Kindle Countdown, meaning that it’ll be discounted to 99c/99p for seven days. The following week, book 3 (Postnormal) will also be on Kindle Countdown, so it’ll cost just 99c/99p.
Thanks for dropping by, and please leave a comment!