Af­ter the vote, where will the anger go?

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION - with Erica Neustadt of Change4Chal­font

IN gen­eral or lo­cal elec­tions, whether your party wins or not, whether you like the vot­ing sys­tem or not, at least, at the end of the day, at some level of govern­ment, most of us feel that some­one, some­where has a voice that can ar­gue some of our in­ter­ests and be­liefs. In con­trast, a ref­er­en­dum is a cu­ri­ous beast; it is ab­so­lutely all or ab­so­lutely noth­ing.

So it is a crit­i­cal de­ci­sion for vot­ers to take. Frus­trat­ingly, this hasn’t been made eas­ier by ei­ther side. When Michael Gove said re­cently, “I think peo­ple in this coun­try have had enough of ex­perts,” this was so far from the truth that it hardly needs com­ment. Suf­fice to say that I don’t want a cow to drive my kids’ bus to school, and I’d rather see a qual­i­fied doc­tor when I’m ill, thank you. Maybe as Jus­tice Sec­re­tary with no le­gal train­ing, he feels he is lead­ing by ex­am­ple. Thank good­ness Do­minic Grieve QC is on hand to ex­plain tricky le­gal con­cepts to him.

The re­main cam­paign has also come out with some histri­onic de­scrip­tions of the post-EU eco­nomic panorama, with house prices div­ing and other fairly wild guesses about what would hap­pen should we leave. When are they go­ing to patent their crys­tal ball?

In­creas­ingly hys­ter­i­cal news­pa­per head­lines add noth­ing pos­i­tive to the de­bate.

Then there’s the mat­ter of trust: in Fe­bru­ary 2016 Boris said ‘Leav­ing would....[di­vert] en­ergy from the real prob­lems that have noth­ing to do with Europe’, and Cameron has not al­ways seemed ad­verse to leav­ing. So now when they are in full or­a­tory flow, can we re­ally believe what they say?

How can it pos­si­bly be democ­racy to give peo­ple a hugely tech­ni­cal de­ci­sion, and when asked for facts and ev­i­dence to help us take it re­spon­si­bly, ob­fus­cate? No won­der the de­bate has be­come, for the most part, emo­tional rather than ra­tio­nal. And once it be­comes ‘gut’ over ‘head’, and fear over cool con­sid­er­a­tion, we all chase one an­other down the chim­ney of anger and re­crim­i­na­tion and into the fire.

Which­ever side you sup­port, the EU ref­er­en­dum has been a deeply di­vi­sive, an­gry de­bate. What­ever the out­come, we will be a more di­vided, dis­sat­is­fied and an­gry so­ci­ety than we were be­fore. Who­ever wins, roughly half the coun­try will be bit­ter losers feel­ing that their pas­sion­ate be­liefs have been over­looked. It’s very sad, and very con­cern­ing. Where will all that anger go?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.