One comment on “EU Referendum vote in Wealden
  1. I am not actually surprised: easy to say after the event, but when the referendum was announced, intuition told me what the result would be.

    The British people have fallen back on the default position. Poisoned for years by right wing media sniping at ridiculous stories of curly bananas, terrorists ‘getting off’ because they own cats, rapists and murderers coming here in their millions to feed off our benefit system (whilst simultaneously stealing our jobs: illogicality rules), we take the islander’s stance. Fear of the alien, blaming the foreigner, pulling up the drawbridge and retreating to some vision of sunlit uplands that our grandparents might have enjoyed in the 1950s.

    I do not wish to relive the 1950s with all its deprivations, its rigid class lines and its pervading fear of nuclear war. Incidentally, one of the most gleeful leaders today is Vladimir Putin. What does that say?

    Acquaintances have accused me of voting selfishly because my husband and I have a second home in France. Certainly I do dread going back 28 years when an unsmiling Douane made us unload our vehicle’s contents, despite our detailed inventory, and taking hours off our holiday. I wonder if all the taxes we (justifiably) pay, as if we lived there permanently, such as €112 annually for emptying our dustbin 12 times a year when last year we only put it out twice, will be raised drastically as we’ll have no more status than Albanians or Ugandans or Brazilians or anyone else not in the EU.

    But I’ve never in my life voted for the narrow advantages I think will come my way if the result is as wished. I’ve spent weeks putting posters on my window extolling all the positives the EU has given us, ranging through clean beaches, smoke-free workplaces, help for areas of industrial decline (thank you, Thatcher), 70 years of peace and conversion to democracy of several dictatorships, the bulk of our trade, better consumer protection, lead-free petrol, holiday entitlement, cheaper air fares and roaming charges, the European arrest warrant, counter-terrorism intelligence, and on and on. Are these little Englanders happy to throw all this away? Have they not noticed the Tories’ Trade Union Bill already eroding the hard-won rights in industrial relations that have diminished strikes since the bad days of the 1970s? Do they want to queue for hours at airports just to holiday in Spain? Do they want to pay thousands if they become ill on holiday in Italy? Do they like swimming in sewage off Britain’s beaches?

    No, not surprised, just disgusted at the way so many people can be so unreasoning, so xenophobic, so indiscriminating, so lacking in ability to look beneath the superficial and short-termist society we’ve become, so easily influenced by rabid, rabble-rousing newspapers that present a totally biased and hyperbolic view of the issues in this most important of decisions, and above all, so apprehensive for the world my new grandsons will inherit.

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