The events that unfolded in the early hours of Friday morning must surely sit among the top table of news stories of my generation. Normally I’m far from a political sponge, but the predicted close nature of the result and the declarations in Newcastle and Sunderland said this was going to be a contest that would go the distance, and I found myself watching until the early hours and being equally engaged by the breakfast time developments. More than four decades of history were to be torn up.
Statistically of course, only the two voting totals mattered, but hearing the analysis of howthey were made up was fascinating especially for lovers of bar charts, swingometers and clever television graphics. Following the fall out has been equally captivating, as along with the politicians ordinary people across the country have been asked for their opinions on the outcome.
Sources of these opinions frequently seem to have been markets in towns across the country where by their very nature life is temporary, Stalls are rigged for the day before being dismantled again and moved to another location.. Here traders and shoppers appeared to have no problem with the result, but having met a market trader on holiday a few years ago what was clear to me was his short term thinking. His way of life was a hand to mouth existence.
I contrast that with one friend of mine who travels extensively in the world with his job. In the wake of Friday’s developments he stressed to me the economic divides which he has seen within nations across the globe, and which in his opinion were shown more widely in the UK (and England in particular) by the pattern of the referendum vote than you would find in a General Election.
While there was clearly a divide in age range votes, an equal case could be made over the economy – and perhaps knowledge of it and the implications of the result. Despite it’s range of financial diversity, cosmopolitan London – along with several other major cities – voted to Remain yet extensively the provinces across England opted to Leave.
Only by talking to every voter would we know how many merely wanted a change and almost voted in protest against a country they saw as London-centric, frustrated that the economic tentacles of prosperity had not reached them, yet some experts would suggest those Leave voters shopping in their provincial markets maybe the ones who suffer first in times of economic uncertainty, which is not, I suspect, what they voted for.
In my time as a football watcher, I have seen similar calls for change by fans of certain clubs wanting specific managers to take charge of their team. Given the precarious nature of the profession, few such calls end happily, and often there is even more carnage to sort out a short time later.
It feels as if the nation has driven past a plot with a “For Sale” board outside. The description would read “delightfully positioned property in excellent location with stunning views. Ideal project for experienced developer. Realistic offers considered.” The facade may have been attractive, but have we really viewed it, had a structural survey and carefully read the legal pack before there was close to a split decision over buying it ? All of us now face the consequences.
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