As we barrel towards June 23rd and a vote which is increasingly less about the UK’s future in the EU and more about wanting to be able to gloat at those fuckers on Facebook – formerly your friends and family – who have lost, it strikes me that nobody is considering the vote’s aftermath.
Not the long-term economic repercussions of this decision, or that decision, not what it will do to your house price, the job market, interest rates, the world economy or the trail of people leaving Syria for somewhere less bomby.
I’m talking about the whole of the UK becoming an un-liveable hell-hole.
Whichever side “wins”.
Your expectation is that June 24 will be the first day where whatever we’ve voted to happen happens; that the wild speculation about what a vote to Leave/Remain leave will decrease and be replaced by analysis of what’s actually happening. In fact the onslaught that begins on the day the result is announced will make the past 3 months feel like not drowning in speculative bullshit at all.
Whichever side wins on the 23rd an alternative reality will be created, like Schengen Area’s cat. This will be a faerie realm, a place where the wildest dreams of the losing side reached fruition.
If Leave win then every economic hiccup will have a mirror in the realm of Schadenfreude’s cat. Inflation up? Its down in the unreachable kingdom of ‘Remain’. Unemployment up? Over there there are jobs to spare. Their trade is balanced, their rights are freer than ever, even their agricultural policy is common enough for a tomato ketchup sandwich and a flutter on the dogs. June 23 2016 will mark the end of a golden age and everything bad that happens from that date forward will be the fault of those who voted to Leave. Everything from that time forward, be it economic, environmental, political, act of God, will be less than 6 steps removed from “…because we voted to leave the EU!”
Meanwhile, a Remain win ensures that the £350 million per week – whether it’s real or not, whether it could or would be spent on the NHS or not – will become the hardest working money in healthcare. If hospitals are understaffed then the £350 million would have fixed that, as well as removing the need to charge visitors for parking, making sure your GP didn’t have a West Indian accent and could be visited this epoch. If your granny has a fall and fractures her skull then under the super-funded NHS she’d have already been equipped with a gyroscopic exoskeleton, she’d have been less little old lady and more The six million dollar nan (and in that world there’s no chance that $6m would be worth significantly more than £350m). Every single migrant will be the fault of those who voted to stay in the EU; whether they’re lazing about claiming benefits, stealing an Englishman’s job, poking their foreign nose into local issues or simply refusing to integrate.
And these parallel worlds last forever.
When the sun becomes an orange giant and swallows up the Earth, five billion years from now, an alien observer might note a brief white flash as it consumes the very last hot-take on “Why we got it wrong”.
One suspects that a lot of people who are “politically active” are starting to welcome this never-ending me-me-melee. My personal anger at the people I’ve argued with on-line over the last 6 weeks is now beyond satiation with a week of “Ha! Ha! You lost!” taunting. I want a lifetime of being able to say, “This is all your fault, you fucking idiot!”. As I’ve never seen anybody, engaged or disengaged, show the slightest sign of changing their mind on their vote though any debate I think that most of the movement between camps is people, like me, deciding that they’d rather boo those they detest than do what’s best.
You also wonder if some of it is traffic the other way – the senior figures in both campaigns, either of which could win, must be realising that they may have to deliver. This is much more of a problem for the Leave campaign – after all, Remain is just offering ‘steady as she goes’ – to the extent it’s almost impossible to imagine, say, Farage without his perennial scapegoats of immigrants and EU regulations to beat. Should Leave win on the 23rd I fully expect that 24/6 will see him giving a live interview where his initial victory howl turns into one of pain, as what little substance he has deserts him and he crumbles to dust, leaving only an empty suit and a half-smoked fag.
He’d be getting off easy. The rest of us will have the rest of our lives, 24/7, starting 24/6, to share the world with those we branded racists or worse, putting us in mind of George Orwell’s words, “If you want an image of the future image having to face the humans you’ve booed and stamped, forever”.
Words more chilling now than when he wrote them in 1984.