Ok not literally, which is good as I rather like the old, iconic architecture in the heart of London. But it is about the only thing still intact in the capital of a once great, now not really United Kingdom.
The last few days have been rather chaotic, and I want to write down the things I’ve witnessed and my reaction to each. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any bad language that follows.
As I went to bed on Thursday night, I was blissfully confident that the Remain Campaign would not fail, and I would wake to the news that the UK would remain a member of the EU. So, when I awoke at about 8am on the morning of the 9th, and switched on my TV, I had no idea of the chaos that was breaking out all over the UK. My timing was fatefully perfect, just in time to hear those words
“Well at 20 minutes to five, we can now say that the decision taken in 1975 taken by this country to join the common market has been reversed by this referendum to leave the EU”
I sat not quite taking it in. One thing goes through my head: “Did he… did he say leave?”
I openly state that I have a pretty low regard for human intelligence, it is my opinion that that particular phrase is a wonderful contradiction in terms, especially when dealing with large numbers of people. But even with my low expectations, it never occurred to me that a MAJORITY of people could…
The numbers come onto the bottom of my screen and it is there as clear as it gets. It took me about five minutes to move further than to reach for my glasses, before deciding (in a very British moment) that I really need a cup of tea to help take this in. As I watch, I hear that we are to expect a speech from the Prime Minister David Cameron later, as well as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
As I finished my tea, I thought I was pretty confident what both would say. Cameron would say he did all he could, that would respect the will of the people. I had a feeling he might resign, a Prime Minister who loses a campaign of this magnitude is not one who will be around for long. Sturgeon would say that she would continue to do the best she can by Scotland. It was at this point that a lovely yellow and blue map appeared on screen. It showed Scotland as being completely yellow, along with parts of London. The rest was mostly blue, much like my mood.
The tea had sharpened me up, getting something warm in me always does. So in that split second that it took for me to realise that this was showing the split of votes by area of the country, two words shot through my mind with the pace of a rampaging rhino on speed. “OH FUCK!!!”. As a Scotsman, it immediately registered that we had a different opinion north of the border compared to most of the south, and this would be the perfect grounds for another fecking referendum on Scottish independence. The Scottish nationalists could not have gotten a better excuse if they had written the script themselves. This constitutes a ‘Material change in circumstances’ which legally means the Scottish National Party had the right to demand it.
It also occurred to me, raising a small smile, that this did disprove one statement made by the SNP. London was not always differing in opinion in Scotland. This is perhaps the only time I can recall a general agreement between the two, but still…
Shortly later I watched sadly as the Prime Minister walk out the door of number 10 hand in hand with his wife. He didn’t have to say it, in that moment I knew he was resigning. Had he intended to stay on it would have been another politician in the background, perhaps in addition to Mrs. Cameron. He spoke well I felt, and as I reflected I knew I didn’t blame him. Well not entirely. That would be like blaming the Captain of the Titanic for not having enough lifeboats – yes they should have missed the ice berg, but he was let down by those around him and those who designed the ship should have done more to ensure escape was possible without drowning half the passengers. I wondered who the metaphorical ship designers were, and was forced to conclude it was the previous government and those in power abroad, along with bankers that had caused the recession. That was where a lot of the issues stem from.
I smiled when I heard him say that he would not activate clause 50 immediately – Oh I thought, you will be popular in Brussels. It made sense, the person to lead should be the one to start walking first. It occured to be me that leader could be Boris Johnson, a man who’s manner of speech confuses everyone, possibly to hide the fact that what he says includes no actual information, and with the hair that I imagine Donald Trump would have if his toupee got dragged through a hedge. I wondered who else. I had thought Theresa May could be a future PM. She has come through this madness well so far too. Best of a bad bunch perhaps?
By the time I watched Nicola Sturgeon, I was starting to calm down. The third mug of tea might be partly to do with that. She also spoke well. Although I have never liked or trusted her, I’ll admit I do hold a certain grudging respect for her political nous. Her taking a moment to tell those immigrants living here in Scotland that that they remain welcome here, that this is still their home and we don’t want to change that, I did like that. As I have mentioned on another blog page, the racism up here is shocking at times.
She played it well, saying that she would consult with experts and leading business people from Scotland before deciding what to do, but that another referendum had to be on the table. She had to discuss it, and by calling on experts right after the end of a referendum in which we were repeatedly told by Michael Gove (wanker) that the British have “had enough of experts”, it was very reassuring to those of us who have had enough of Gove and his pals.
I got a message from a friend of mine after she finished, and I’ll copy it here “Guess you Scots can call on experts without being hypocrites. Lucky bastards, you lot might get to fuck off, and then we’re stuck with Gove and Boris FFS!!!”. I’m guessing he didn’t vote to leave.
The rest of the day passed with a sort of numb calmness, watching interviews and occasionally pausing to get more tea. At one stage I was asked how I felt, I replied I found my passport and I have a job offer abroad so it could be worse.
The day after was alright too. Not much was happening, which did surprise me. Nicola made another speech, didn’t say much that was new. I went to a wedding, that did cheer me up somewhat.
It was the Sunday really that things started to get fun. Well I say fun, its the kind of fun that the Joker has in The Dark Knight, you know, has he sets fire to Gotham City’s upper classes and turns its politics inside out. My first particularly entertaining moment came from Faisal Islam, Sky’s political advisor. A man who has been rather busy of late, I could not blame him for his reaction to this particular quote from an unknown Brexit leavers politician.
“There is no plan, the Leave Campaign don’t have a post Brexit plan… Number ten should have had a plan.”.
The incredulous Faisal then followed with “It sounds like I’m making it up, that literally happened two hours ago… So the person with the most thought through plan… is astonishingly, Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland”.
I laughed. I couldn’t help it. The only person in power with a bloody clue what they need to do now the UK has voted to get out of a Union is the only one actively and vocally trying to get us back into that Union by getting us out of another!!!!!!
Un. Fucking. Believable. There are no words. Even the lady he was talking to said she didn’t really know what to say to that and called for a break. I presume she was needing a cup of tea to help digest this. How the actual fuck have we got into this situation?!
This did at least explain a few things, like why two and a half after the Brexit vote was announced nothing had really happened.
Of course, that wasn’t the only thing to happen. The gossip started to go round about Boris and his inevitable push for the top job at number ten. I saw a comment that made similar comparisons to mine between his hair and Trumps, and how the two could discuss hair with Putin, subsequently starting open war like the start of one of those really bad end of the world films. You know the sort, where the American President is an illiterate arsehole, the UK PM is a bumbling fool with no clue what is going on, and Russia is led by a guy who thinks a nuke will solve it. Little too real just now isn’t it…
The gossip surrounding Boris was that Michael Gove (wanker) would be chairing his push. I actually found myself impressed. Only in the UK could someone propose that the solution to all this shite is to put a buffoon in charge, assisted by a guy who has successfully pissed off nearly every single teacher in the country, prior to his removal from the Department of Education. He even annoyed the Scots, and they have their own, entirely separate Department of Education. He then proceeded to upset the Criminal Bar Association as Secretary of State for Justice. Yes, this is the guy to help Boris rule. For fuck sake.
And the day continued in the same manner, as news started to drift in that a member of the Shadow Cabinet had been sacked. Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader and leader of the Shadow Cabinet, had apparently reacted to Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn telling him he had no confidence in him as leader. This sentiment was echoed during the remainder of day by almost half the cabinet, to a similar result. By midnight 12 members had been sacked or resigned, including Labours only Scottish MP. It was kind of like turning over the TV when Brazil got destroyed by Germany at the FIFA World Cup, every time you checked the score had gone up.
So here we are. Its just gone 1am on Monday the 27th of June, 2016. In just three days: The government has gone to shit, nobody has a fucking clue what is happening, and I have drunk the equivalent of the Thames in tea. But it could be worse, at least we don’t need to sort trade agreements out for trivial matters importing herbs to make hot drinks. Hmm what’s that Mr. Secretary for Department of Trade and Industry? We import tea? Oh for fu…