It is neither my right nor my place to dictate how another person chooses to live their life. That goes both for people and for nations. If the UK wishes to play with fire then that is their prerogative. What I can't stand is all the hiding and the excuses and the rosy colored glasses.
I don't know if the UK can survive an economic fight with the EU. I truly don't. Quite frankly I don't care, but the willful arrogance of it all is laughable, personally. Brexit proponents are acting like the UK can walk into a bar fight and not have to take a single hit in order to win. Instead of preparing the UK for the coming storm, Brexiters seem perfectly content to deflect criticisms with cries of nationalism.
How is this different from the EU they hate so much, in which the needs of the whole outweigh the cries of the few? In which cries of unity drown out the concerns of the UK?
But that's democracy isn't it. When it is your own voice that is silenced, that is when the cries of injustice ring forth, but when the shoes on the other foot? No, then it is democracy working as it should.
People truly are the same the world over it seems. Everything has a cost, a price you must pay in order to undertake an action. Everyone plays this song and dance, and yet so few people realize it. Even less acknowledge it. They say it is for 'the good of the nation' or 'the good of the people'. They wrap up the concerns as 'necessary sacrifices' and chuck them into the waiting maw of 'justification' of which anything and everything is a sacrificial candidate. A way in which they can wash their hands of the matter while still enjoying the rewards, whether they be ethereal or concrete.
Brexit is an ideology. It has become almost a religion for many. It has become a goal that must be achieved to the exclusion of all other considerations. The cost is unimportant. The sacrifices, whatever they may be, are justified by the fact of making it happen.
You have to understand the English... and by that I mean, that part of the United Kingdom that is England. That is the driving force behind Brexit.
We call them the "Little Englanders". They are overwhelmingly the post war generation known as "Baby Boomers". Now in their elderly years, they remember the Empire... or at least the fag end of it. They revere the days when the religion was Church of England, the faces on the street were white and a foreign accent was something only heard when they went abroad.. and that wasn't often.
The Scots, Irish and Welsh knew their place. A young man walked out of school at the age of 15, into the local factory or coal mine and he had a job for life - except for the two years national service that he would do in the army.
Women were property... chattel... required to stay at home and make sure their husband's dinner was on the table when he came home at night. He took his son to the football on Saturday afternoon while she did the weekly shop. Nothing ever changed, everything was in its place, comfortable, unchanging, and an Englishman's home was his castle.
West Indian migrants had been trickling here since the 1950's but that was alright because they were put in the slums and told to do the jobs that Englishmen didn't want to do like empty dustbins and sweep the streets. Those were jobs fit for black men, not white Englishmen.
Then came the Common Market. And things started to change.
For a start, we'd had to change our currency in 1972 to facilitate joining. We no longer spent pounds and shillings and half-crowns. A pound was now 100 pence, not 240. Things called kilos and metres and Litres started to appear on maps and tins and bottles. Black people and women started demanding their rights. The Church even dropped the requirement for a wife to "obey" her husband. Shock Horror..!!!
And then the worst thing of all. Something called "Human Rights" started appearing in the news. What was that all about..? Black people started having aspirations. The social order was falling apart.
And the finger of blame was pointed firmly at the Common Market.
In 1968, a Tory politician named Enoch Powell had made a speech warning that there would be "Rivers of Blood" if Britain joined the Common Market and black people were encouraged to come here and worse still, wanted to be treated as British. To this day, Brexiters and other racists will proclaim "Enoch was right".
The Common Market.... EEC.... EC..... EU... in all its various guises as it has progressed has tried to take Britain along with it, with the baby boomer generation kicking and screaming against every Act that brings about a little more modernisation... a little more integration.... a little more equality.
Sure, there was a referendum in 1975, but that produced a remain vote by nearly 70% because the country was in such a horrible mess at the time enough people were prepared to be willing to give the Common Market a try.
Younger people like myself have grown up thinking of ourselves as Europeans. I've never known what it was like outside, but I can read a history book and I know that I don't like what I read about the days when hotels, boarding houses and rooms to rent all had signs saying "No Pets, No Irish, No Blacks". The days when racist TV comedies had star characters calling a black actor "Sambo".... and everybody laughing. The writers would say that they intended the laughter to be aimed at the racist but that message didn't get across at the time. They laughed at the mocking and abusing of the black man.
Brexit has been driven my a number of things. The extremist nationalists of the hard right, although they are a relative minority. The capitalists who stand to gain financially out of it regardless of how many people they drive into poverty.
But mostly, Brexit has been driven by the baby boomers. The elderly generation for whom the 2016 referendum was something they'd been praying would come their way for many, many years. And they weren't going to miss the opportunity. They came out in droves. And voted.
Other elements had crept in apart from migration by this time. Concerns over a federal Europe and allegations that the EU was undemocratic. But hold on... we elect our MEP's. We send elected representatives to Brussells to represent us. The Council of Ministers are all elected politicians in their own country and are not permanent. Every country is represented on the council and every country holds the Presidency in turn. How much more democracy do the Brexiters want..?
But those of us who have grown up in peace and security... who believe in Human Rights... Who are not offended by the sight of a black face or a woman in a burka.... those of us who would be happy to work abroad because we set our horizons beyond the local factory gates, and have no objection to fellow Europeans coming to work here.... see the EU as a good thing because it enables all those things.
The Brexit vote was sharply divided across age boundaries. Overwhelmingly, the elderly - the baby boomer generation - voted for Leave whereas young people overwhelmingly voted to remain. The final result was close. 52% - 48%. That is a majority for sure, but that majority had a demographic boundary.
That demographic has shifted since 2016. The Office For National Statistics has calculated that so many of the elderly generation (who voted to leave) have since died, and so many of the young (who vote remain) have now come of voting age, that the demographic of 2016 is no longer viable.
Brexit is relying for its justification on the votes of people who are now dead.
Can we... the young people of Britain who have our lives in front of us allow those who are close to the end of theirs... drag us into an abyss against our will, that will affect us far longer than them..?
I know that we don't - and shouldn't - weight votes according to age. One man one vote is paramount.
But the shift in the demographic is surely one justification... Just one of many... that are becoming more and more imperative by the day.... for another vote..?
Want to see what a racist looks like..?
Pro Brexit poster. You can get this image on tee shirts here. We see Brexiters wearing them all the time.