I cannot wait until 11pm on March 29, 2019. I don’t know where I’ll be but I’m pretty certain on one level at least I’ll be celebrating that we have left the European Union.
I don’t know what future relationship the UK will have with the EU; but then who does? Certainly not the Prime Minister, who is either deluding herself or seeking to delude the public. Her statement that 95 per cent of an agreement has been reached is risible. She does not even have agreement within her Cabinet or her parliamentary party, so how she thinks she has nearly concluded a deal is a mystery.
What I do know is that when we pass that date the likelihood of having yet another referendum on EU membership is highly unlikely – and that will be great news. I have come to dislike referenda, and I don’t think I am alone in that.
Presenting a binary choice of A or B leaves little nuance for accommodation of another person’s view. After the independence and European Union referendums of 2014 and 2016 we have seen how divisive such votes can be. I cannot remember a time when the country has been more divided – thanks to sore losers not accepting their defeat.
For me, the conspiracies surrounding any of the campaigns are the stuff of fantasists’ febrile minds. I could give rational answers to take down the many accusations that circulate from all sides – for the idea that either of the referendum outcomes were fixed is simply utter nonsense.
Political campaigns always stretch the evidence to make a point and some use out-and-out lies, but I believe the public sees through the fog of war and makes its decision in a rational manner. The slogans Better Together and Take Back Control summed up the winning sentiment – it’s as simple as that.
In Scotland we have seen how the rejection of a democratic referendum vote becomes an act of self-harm. Look at our failing education system, our troubled health service, our overstretched policing, our axed council services, our broken transport infrastructure (is that bridge finished yet?) and we see public services that have been neglected by a Scottish government that is fixated with nothing other than independence and trying to force through a referendum to achieve it.
As a result we are four years on from the bitter divisions of 2014 but the outcome is still being disrespected, the false grievances are still being nursed and the intemperate and unhealthy atmosphere is not going away. We need politicians to heal society not keep pushing us apart. The responsibility for this task lies squarely with Nicola Sturgeon who signed the Edinburgh Agreement to respect the outcome of the vote.
Likewise there was great division created by the European referendum and the losers are fanning the flames of a divided society. Let us remember that not only was it the largest democratic event in the country’s long history of growing public participation – it was then endorsed by the Conservative and Labour parties setting out the terms of how we should leave the EU by both stating we would be out of the Single Market and Customs Union. We don’t need another people’s vote – for we had one in 2016 and another in 2017.
The public voted to leave and they endorsed the type of exit to be arranged and no amount of marching will change that.
What we need are politicians to respect the votes that we have, to listen to the public and to get on with their jobs of delivering on those commitments we voted for.
Anything else is sheer self-indulgence and partisan divisiveness that keeps poor people in poverty, the ignorant uneducated, the sick without care, the criminals on the streets and the majority of us tired of the charade that politicians work for us.