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Now it begins...

Clayton Lin: Weighing In

Now it begins...

Andrew Ryan

To borrow the words of Ser Arthur Dayne, Sword of The Morning, would be appropriate. As much as I'd love to talk about that series 28/7, but I'd much want to talk about Brexit, and the news that the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the (now) 27 nation bloc that comprises of Western and Eastern Europe.

For disclosure, I don't actually have physical or familial ties to the Mother Country. But I've come to appreciate some love for it, in the same way Morissey found his fanbase in Latin America. And I suppose my appreciation for the round ball game and rooting for Swansea City (they're in Wales, but they play on the English football ladder), and constantly reading everything on the Telegraph, The Daily Mail

No matter which way you look at it, it's big. It is indeed a beginning- one we're still collectively trying to process. For the young people, the ones in the UK, and perplexingly, even here, it was crushing, of the spiritual kind, to see one's cherished beliefs and ideals go up in (metaphorical) flames.

The consequences were already felt- like a great sept being blown up by wildfire, the effects are almost immediate. On the economics side of things, untold billions of value were wiped clean on the stock market. The value of the pound went down. Towns and cities like Liverpool and Cornwall that got a lot of funding from the EU will like see that money spigot shut. On the personal side of things, it has been reported that many are searching for a trace of Paddy in their genealogy, in hopes of getting a EU passport quickly enough to escape the coming apocalypse. I sympathise with the fact that some young students were studying careers

But I sympathise with those chose to vote Leave. Remember not all Leavers are knuckle-dragging, racist Little Englanders. A good portion of them are young, and just as into organic coffee as you are (I don't even know if organic coffee is a thing- am I so out of touch?), and there are very good reasons to just say goodbye to the European Union.

The European Union, from all accounts, is hardly a bastion of democracy. Recall a couple of years ago, when Greece decided it had enough of the austerity measures inflicted upon them, and wanted out, and overwhelmingly so on the day. The government that Greece elected Syriza, a left-leaning party with a programme of ending the austerity measures. The EU responded by simply bullying them into submission- not to mention a history of making countries do repeat referendums until they get the 'correct' answer- or as the German playwright Bertolt Brecht puts it: “why not dissolve the public and elect a new one”. Neither is it an exemplar of progressive ideals that the left-leaning humans hold dear- the institution favours the banks and big finance over the people time after time. The EU can also match our country toe-to-toe when it comes to treatment of asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East, and are even better keeping it out of sight and out of mind than we do- you don't see constant rallies and protests for refugee rights. Economic conditions on the continent are not that flash either- with high youth unemployment in Spain, Greece and France amongst others.

So it really came down to a vote between a segment of the population who had really not much to lose, even with warning after warning of the dire economic fallout, 17 million chose to defy anyway.

But the response from the Remain crowd is just as displeasing. Tempting and gratifying as it is to label your opponents as brainwashed zombie idiots, it doesn't change much, and only justifies why they were so against you to begin with. A petition to separate London (and Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester...) from the rest of the country. Talking heads and figures of authority begging the government to not let the unthinkable happen. As much as the result sucks, the vote must be upheld.  That is part and parcel of being in a democracy- sometime it's shit for you but joy for someone else- and that has to be respected, if not liked. As much as I understand the usual “the idiots are voting against the interest” argument, but its also a tiring one.

Over the next couple of days, the debate and vitriol will rage on. Time will tell whether calm heads prevail, or a riot in the streets that would be far more damaging than anything that has happened during the campaign.

In a couple of days we will have our own elections. Unlike the referendum, this election would be without any of the drama. Bookies have tipped for a Turnbull / Liberal victory. I'm not surprised, as much as I'd like to see them out of the way in favour of a Green leadership, as they seem to be the best bet moving forward- and that isn't saying much.