Were you here for the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union?
Edinburgh, where we live, had one of the highest turnouts and votes to Remain in the whole of the UK. Scotland as a whole voted overwhelmingly to Remain.
So the mood on the street in Edinburgh in the aftermath – the few days to a week after the vote – was palpably strange. When you looked around, you could say almost for certain that most of the people you could see had voted to Remain.
So where were the people who had voted to Leave? They weren’t in Northern Ireland, that was for sure. They were in England and Wales. That’s where they were.
So in Edinburgh, the mood on the street was quiet. People stayed off the streets. When they came out, they dragged themselves around. The buzz of chatter was gone. There were listless movements. Where was the energy?
A post-apocalyptic mood. The mood after Brexit.
If people weren’t on the street, where were they? We sat in rooms, staring into space or wandered about aimlessly making another cup of tea. Our brains wouldn’t function.
We tried to claw themselves into getting on with things, but it would take a few days. Meanwhile, we were drained. So unhappy – and over such a senseless self-inflicted thing.
Bigots To The Left Of Me, Bigots To The Right
Not everyone, but a lot of the Leave voters were narrow minded and closed off to ideas. The deeper polls and analyses said that was what it was. We gobbled up the news. That was it!
It didn’t matter whether you were rich or poor – what mattered in the end was whether you were open minded or close minded. That’s what decided which way you voted.
Well that would be in keeping with the slide to the Right across Europe. The great experiment was falling apart.
Le Pen in France, a re-run of the Presidential election in Austria where the far-right candidate might still win, the rise of the Right in Eastern Europe. Was history going to repeat itself?
Stick It To The Man
Of course, not everyone who voted to Leave was a bigot. That would be too hard on people. There were those who thought we would do better economically out of Europe. And those who thought we would make a fairer society outside of Europe.
And there were those who just wanted to ‘stick it to the Man’, just because he was the Man. Resentful of the widening gap in wealth – anything was better than that.
Anything that would upset the apple cart and take us back to ground zero was better than plodding along and getting a bit deeper in debt.
The Cost Of Housing
This might not be the time to talk about it, but there is a huge, seemingly insurmountable problem in the UK.
It costs too much to buy a home. The asset value in the banks’ books couldn’t handle a huge fall in prices, so the market has every reason to keep the prices propped up.
But it is all, surely, unsustainable. Or are we heading back to serfdom?