Saturday, 25 June 2016

So why did Brexit

win over Remain?
I have been pondering this. I had thought the result would be close but I thought and hoped it might be the other way around. Were there just too many people who thought, "It won't happen. I needn't bother to vote" - or what?
Seriously, I think there might be a number of reasons. One of them perhaps is that Britain was not a member of the European Union from the beginning. It didn't get invited. They were told "you aren't really European". Later, when Europe saw some economic advantages, they were permitted to join. It's a bit like the footballer who is not on the team to begin with but who gets brought on when an advantage is seen in having that player there but who is still not given due credit for the contribution they make. "You're not really part of the team. We only want you for the skills you have." Is that the view some people hold? Do (too many) people resent that?
Did a lot of people believe that Britain was putting more into the EU than it was getting out of it? It seemed to be one of the points Brexiters were making.
And then there is the issue of  the sort of country Britain is perceived to have come. Like this one it is perceived to be full of migrants - and yes, a lot of people are migrants. Britain has always been full of migrants. My far distant ancestors were Norse. They ended up in the far north of Scotland too far back for the records to go but evidenced by my family and clan name.
The problem is that many people see more recent migrants as having changed the country in ways they are not comfortable with. At least some of these people are perfectly ordinary, sensible people. They aren't racists or bigots. What bothers many of them is the perception that they have invited these migrants to enter their "home" and now find that, having accepted the invitation, the guests expect to be entertained on their own terms rather than those of their hosts. They are seen as wanting their own room rather than mixing with the members of the household. They are seen as wanting to do things their way be it in dress, food, culture, religion, education, values, beliefs or even the law.
For all we claim to be a "multi cultural" society the same problem exists here. I suspect it exists wherever there are migrants, especially large numbers of migrants. I know large numbers of migrants. They take widely differing views on whether things like their language, culture and traditions should be preserved. Perhaps the question being asked however is the wrong one. It isn't "should" but "why" and then "how" these things should be preserved. If the end result is separation and isolation or it is done from a desire to dominate or control then there will be suspicion and resentment.
Is that what caused Brexit?
I know the blame is being laid at the feet of the likes of David Cameron. Some are saying he shouldn't have held a referendum at all. Some are saying he  should have ignored the disquiet. Others are saying he is too "privileged" to know what ordinary people are thinking. It is probably easy to blame Cameron if you don't vote Tory - just as we would blame our Prime Minister for a similar outcome.
The reality however is that British Labour supported Remain too. So did many other high profile people. They worked together on this but it still didn't succeed. The "ordinary" voters sent their leaders a powerful message. It was a message that needs to be heeded.
But the Brexit vote isn't the end of the road by any means. Yes there was a major financial reaction yesterday because investors panicked. There was actually no need to panic because, for now, very little changes. Very little may change in the future. It is even possible that Brexit might not occur - although some would say that is unlikely.
What the Brexit vote has done is challenge the status quo. It may well presage the break up of the European Union. Those who have the capacity to do something about this now need to ask "why" people voted the way they did. The answers may be uncomfortable but they need to be addressed - here as well as there.


Jodiebodie said...

I found it interesting that President Obama interpreted some of the Brexit vote as a response to the effects of increasing globalisation.
Our world is changing very rapidly; e.g. technology, communications, media, social strata, politics, economies, environment and climate. Many humans are creatures of habit and have difficulty coping with change. Do you think Europeans and Australians are blaming immigration for the discomfort and changes that were probably going to happen whether there was immigration or not?

People in Europe and Australia are not the only ones that need to come to terms with change. Migration itself is a response to change - change would need to be very significant for immigrants to uproot their entire lives and leave communities, families and significant places.

How fascinating that historically the British themselves migrated and colonised many many parts of the world and yet they have no tolerance for other people returning the favour!

catdownunder said...

Migration issues had a lot to do with it. It's a much more complicated issue there than it is here. Yes, ironic isn't it!