Over the last few weeks we have witnessed an unprecedented upheaval in British politics. Who would have thought that something as simple as a referendum would have had such an effect? Party leaders (and would-be leaders) have been falling like dominoes. Currencies and stock markets have been swaying in the political wind. Is this the end of the world as we know it?
In times like these, our ship needs a captain with experience, nerve and determination. Someone who is prepared for bad weather and knows how to cope with it. But our leaders have failed us. The Prime Minister has resigned; the Leader of the Opposition has been rendered impotent by the mutiny of his crew. The ship is dead in the water while we wait for someone to actually take charge.
The problems began during the campaign, when they didn’t treat the voters as intelligent adults. We weren’t given cool calm opinions, let alone facts, on which to base our decision-making. Instead, we had dire warnings of disaster that nobody could take seriously. And some of us actually thought: if you can’t make a better case than that, then your side is probably rubbish.
And then they didn’t seem to realise that a referendum is not like an election. If you lose an election, you don’t have to implement the winning policies. But you have to implement the result of a referendum whether you like it or not. And the Remainers were so confident that they would win that they didn’t make a contingency plan… Big mistake, but understandable. What has shocked so many of us is that the Brexiters apparently didn’t have a plan either. So now nobody knows what to do – and as a result, some of those prophecies of disaster may become self-fulfilling.
For some time I’ve been wondering why I’ve become so disenchanted with politics. Now I know why.