So it happened. The unthinkable result. Though I have argued against the EU for almost a year, I genuinely did not believe my side would win the popular vote. I personally predicted a landslide win for Remain, and even had a niggling fear that the government would rig the result somehow. My prediction was wrong – I guess I’m just bad at reading the public mood.
Whilst I am please with the result, I am certainly not happy with the way it was achieved. On the Leave side, there was far too much emphasis on the issue of immigration, and too little emphasis on the fundamental deficiencies of the European Union. On the Remain side – all fear-inducing lies (at worst), and exaggerations (at best).
If both campaigns had integrity, the Leave side could have won the argument on principle alone. But the Remain side took the first shot by launching a campaign based on populist fear, and the Leave campaign responded in kind, fighting fire with fire. Now what we are left with is a bitter and scared 49% of the population who voted Remain. They think xenophobia has won, and dare I say it, more and more nationalists are finding it easier to speak their mind.
Most people, on both sides of the argument, are still completely ignorant of the problems Leave campaigners have with the EU. The bitter wailing I hear on mass media and social media seems to indicate a catastrophe of biblical proportions. There still seems to be a complete drought of understanding of why an educated immigrant like me would ever have any reason to support Leave.
This is not a great result. Already, there are over 2 million signatories on a petition to have a second referendum, on the basis that a referendum win of less than 60% on less than 75% of voter turnout should require a second referendum. My thoughts are that although such a basis may seem fair, retrospective enaction of such a rule is not fair now that the results are known. If such a rule was implemented either before the referendum results were announced, or if it is intended to apply only to future referendums, I may be more convinced by it.