Tuesday, 21 June 2016


I am voting to remain for the following reasons

1. I genuinely believe a vote to leave will fuck up our economy.

2. A sort of underlying belief that the EU project has potential and is, at the very least, a sort of insulation against the excesses of Tory governments.

3. The fact is that whatever positive arguments there may be for a Brexit, the whole thing has been hijacked by right-wing and perhaps even far right demagogues. It just seems very hard to believe a Leave triumph won't result in a mandate for people who are really not very good people, and it seems mental to think that some sort of socialist utopia can be cheekily snuck in on the sly.

The whole referendum process has been a demonstration of humanity at its absolute worst, and as much as anything else then whoever you want to point the finger of blame at, it's hard to shake the suspicion that Jo Cox would still be alive if it hadn't been called. At the same time, it's also hard to shake the suspicion that elements the Leave campaign's descent into 'post-truth' gibberish and something close to naked xenophobia has ultimately been what's finally made Remain seem like a cause that people can rally behind, which perhaps it wasn't before.

Labour could probably quite easily have won in 2010 if the left had seen the election as an epic clash of right and wrong. But it seemed more like an exhausted, compromised Labour government versus a Tory party who seemed a lot nicer than previous recent incarnations of the Tory party.

I wonder how Sadiq would have done in the mayoral elections if Zac's campaign had engaged with his policies rather than pitched into racism? He would probably still have won, but I'm pretty sure his landslide came from a support based galvanised by a sense of the inherent 'badness' of his rival.

And likewise, I can't help but feel the sense of Vote Leave morphing from something to disagree with to something to be alarmed by is surely partly to do with – at time of writing – Remain's resurgence. It would be incredibly ironic if Nigel Farage's horrendous, racist, alarmist refugee poster was actually what tipped the balance against him, and it would be further ironic if – after a campaign spent with an ever looser attachment to the truth – Leave were ultimately fatally damaged by people's misunderstood belief that Farage was part of Leave.

Likewise, a lot of Brexiters seem fuelled by a genuine belief that Remain side are actively immoral. Which is incredibly sad. Is hating each other the only way to get passion into this contest?

Fuck knows what's going to come of it all. Cameron has stood up to the extreme right of his party on something like moral grounds. Lefties seem to cautiously like Ruth Davidson. A Labour MP has become a martyr. Farage seems teetering between obsolescence and finally getting the power he's craved. Is this a shaping of a new order? It's hard to say: it's worth noting that the rancour of the London Mayoral election seemed to be thrown off pretty sharpish, maybe that's what'll happen here. Maybe not: it's hard imagine a lot of Brexiters being happy if they lose, for the simple fact that they were unhappy before – Brexit feels like a symptom, not a cause. I think a lot of people in this country don't really like living in this country as it is, or more to the point, find it very difficult, and I sort of feel guilty that I'm not one of them. I hope somebody with a measure of empathy tries to fix things. I suppose basically I wish we'd all just get along. Hey ho.

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