“On Friday 24 June 2016 the world changed…” could be a line in history books of the future about what happened last night, After a very divisive and extremely negative campaign, the UK voted in a referendum against remaining in the EU and for leaving it. And this shook the world! I stayed up for a large part of the night because I was working on the “Dublin Event Guide” and I saw it happening. Tiny margins, swinging between Leave and Remain and Leave again and Remain again and then LEAVE.
I have to admit that I am shocked about the result! I am shocked about the narrowmindedness of the 17mio British people who voted “Leave”. I am shocked about the fact that the FEAR campaign and the campaign of intolerance, of arrogance, ignorance and superiority complex (“Make Great Britain great again”) won. I think – and there is no sitting on the fence for this one – it was a totally stupid and hugely damaging decision by the UK, but there is also another side.
First of all, democracy is good and democracy means that nonsensical decisions also have to be accepted. Like it or not, we have to live with it.
The other aspect is that Britain has always been a trouble maker in the EU. And now the unruly, obnoxious and difficult child on the play ground, just decided in a huff to walk away from the other kids that tried to find a way to play with each other on that play ground for a long time. Yes, the unruly kid took some toys away when he left, but on balance, I think the nice kids will still do better by getting rid of the trouble maker.
Scotland, and if in any way possible also Northern Ireland, might be back in the EU at some stage and if people in London could, they would also leave the UK,. Interesting scenario! The United Kingdom became the Divided Kingdom over night and the damage this referendum did to the British population will probably not be healed for decades.
What does it mean for Ireland? There could be a lot of good in that development for Ireland! American companies that want to open offices in the EU will NOT choose the UK anymore and companies that are already in the UK might relocate to Ireland.
The development is shocking, but let’s face it, we live in a time when we have relatively little upsets to deal with, so in that context it is HUGE. But if you compare it to the years when rebellions and wars happened, it is not the biggest problem. So we will deal with it and there is a good chance that we will look back in a few years and remember the great day when the obnoxious kid left and positive calmness and co-operation returned to the play ground.
Bye by, Divided Kingdom!