Last Friday morning—a couple of days ago now—the UK voted to leave the EU. As you can imagine, it’s a time of turmoil. Things are moving so quickly that events from 24 hours ago can seem like musty memories from a bygone era. And most of the conversation is taking place on Twitter and Facebook, those ever-burning fires of our memories, so it’s essentially lost from history.
For this reason I’m going to try to keep a log of what’s going on here, in this blog, on which the pathetic paucity of new content ensures that old material will be perpetually discoverable.
Today has been Sunday. The main news story has been the self-immolation of the Labour shadow front bench which began after Hilary Benn was sacked at 3.30am after telling his boss that he had no faith in him. The resulting torrent of resignations has dominated the news cycle, giving rise to a fleeting meme.
Bit tired, what with the turmoil of the last few days, so if it's OK I'm just going to resign from the Shadow Cabinet and turn in.
— Chris Addison (@mrchrisaddison) June 26, 2016
Earlier today there was a flurry of interest in a piece that Nick Clegg had written a couple of days before “Independence Day” or “Black Friday” or whatever you want to call it (I call it “the fash crash”) which has come to seem eerily prescient:
As politicians bicker, you become increasingly unnerved by what’s happening in the economy, too: overseas investors take fright; money flows out of the country; our credit rating is slashed; the interest on our borrowing goes up; unemployment rises; sterling tanks; prices in the shops go up.
Nicola Sturgeon soon announces that preparations have started for a second independence referendum, claiming it is the only way to keep Scotland in the EU. And this time most commentators think that she will win.
Still, at least they will finally sort out our borders, right? After all, ending mass immigration was the Brexiteers biggest claim of all.
So imagine how you’ll feel when you discover that they don’t have a plan for that either?
Nick Clegg’s name hasn’t come up much in conversation since his party was annihilated in 2015 but this article was very much on the money. It works well because it’s very dry: the predictions are delivered without a side dressing of campaign rhetoric so the signal-to-noise ratio is high. It’s basically a list of future events with so close a resemblance to current reality that they almost seem mundane.
There has been a little sideshow too involving a Winnie the Pooh related meme that was doing the rounds. I can’t find the original tweet but here’s the image:
I hate how it combines a twee message (“why can’t we all just get along?”) with a lame attempt at ribaldry in the final sentence. Plus…
What annoys me most about the Winnie the Pooh Brexit post is that I genuinely don't think Piglet would vote to leave
— Gina Gabriella † (@Ginagabriella_) June 26, 2016
Someone came along later and fixed it.
— edit profile (@multiplebears) June 26, 2016
There also seems to have been an upsurge in racist and xenophobic incidents since the referendum, as some Leave voters—unsurprisingly given the tenor of the campaign—begin to act on their perceived mandate to expel all foreigners. Reading about these incidents and then reading the below-the-line comments they attract provides you with an insight into an odious English racism which many thought consigned to history but is now slithering back into full daylight, no longer apologetic or subtextual but proud and emboldened. I’m not going to link to any of those commenters as they’re truly toxic but here are some of the incidents:
So I just saw four men yelling "fuck off" at the staff in a Polish shop.
— Alan White (@aljwhite) June 26, 2016
(this person is a professional journalist but of course he’s lying about it)
Hammersmith police are investigating graffiti found on the Polish Cultural Centre this morning as racially motivated criminal damage 1/4
— Andy Slaughter MP (@hammersmithandy) June 26, 2016
— Jakub Krupa (@JakubKrupa) June 26, 2016
father has a broken arm, and possible neck trauma, son has severe facial fractures, broken jaw and nose. my god. pic.twitter.com/XFCSUzhVcN
— carlos (@b0redinbucks) June 25, 2016
It’s too early for official statistics to confirm if it’s true but it makes sense given how the Leave campaign was constructed. And on that note, here’s some polling from Lord Ashcroft on how the attitudes of Remain voters compare to those of Leave voters:
But it’s all OK though because Boris Johnson has written a column in the Telegraph (he gets about £5,000 a pop for these) in which he tells us we’ll have all the benefits of being in the EU with none of the costs. Sounds too good to be true if you ask me. Here’s a more constructive proposal for getting out of this mess:
has anyone tried putting the uk in rice
— blk mel (@feelingindig0) June 24, 2016