Opinion piece by Rhyley Douglas: Political and Social psychologist
I’m not really sure what those whom voted to leave are now expecting to happen or how quick they think it will happen. Are they expecting clouds to part and the sun to shine constantly, for people to have street parties full of Union Jack flags? – possibly soon to be extinct flag with Indyref II on the horizon. Are they of the belief that we’ve defeated the monster which was stopping us from progressing and improving everyone’s lives? Do they expect crime to stop or fall and us all to integrate with one another in harmony? Okay I’m being sarcastic, but what do those whom voted to leave really expect to happen now that we’ve voted to leave the EU?
To consider this, I have to consider the reasons why, from their perspective, they’ll have voted to leave and what they’re now expecting to happen, so here goes: more money for the NHS; easing the housing crisis, education shortages and cost of living difficulties; more and higher paid secure full-time work; controlling immigration; sticking it to the establishment – especially the anti-democratic eurocrat establishment; taking back control; reclaiming communities from foreigners whom refuse to integrate and because it was the patriotic thing to do.
Is that really what was on offer at this referendum? Only time will tell for sure. Not to sound too pessimistic, skeptical and cynical, but I don’t think we’ll see any of that, I don’t believe that was what was on offer. I’m not denying that there were many valid reasons why one would vote to leave or that those are what every single leave voter voted for, but those listed, regardless of whether you believe in them or not, they’re not what this is really about.
Voting to leave has always been about the wealthy taking even more control. Rupert Murdoch sums it up best –
“When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.” Rupert Murdoch.
The best evidence of what Vote Leave has always been about comes from considering the reasons the Vote Leave camp have propagated. The EU has never, or at least absolutely nowhere near that which was claimed, dictated and controlled that which we do – beyond what we had a large say in (well, apart from that our elected representatives in UKIP, our UKIP MEP’s, either not turning up or siding with the establishment anyway), beyond trade deals we’ve agreed to, beyond rights and laws we’ve played a part in creating – such as human and workers rights.
Immigration hasn’t been the cause of the problems we face, government policies stretching back to Thatcher have been the cause (I have discussed more about immigration and societies problems in my previous article, which can be found here – https://politicalsift.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/i-wonder-how-it-feels-to-believe-that-immigration-is-the-cause-of-societies-problems/). The way to solve societies problems isn’t going to come from and happen now we’re leaving the EU, granted the EU is a part of the corrupt neoliberal globalised corporatist demon we need to defeat to bring about change, but the protections from the EU, debatably, helped in some way while opposing the neoliberal globalised corporatists which control the Tories, opposing and defeating those, together, is how we solve societies problems.
Leaving the EU has debatably weakened our position, weakened our opposition, weakened our links to our allies for change in Europe and elsewhere.
Leaving the EU is likely to be the most disastrous for the majority of the very people whom voted to leave.
Akin to the general election, which saw the Tories come to power unaided this time by the Liberal Democrats, there’ll be claims that I and many others are sore losers, that we should accept a democratic decision, but, for starters, that isn’t what democracy is about, democracy is an ongoing process. Forget how the Tories ‘won’ the general election with only 20% of the public (the 20% figure is when one considers those whom could have registered to vote, but didn’t), even if the Tories, under the same circumstances, had won with 51% of the entire electorate, it still wouldn’t have been a ‘democratic’ decision.
This does, obviously, depend on your definition of democracy.
My personal definition of democracy doesn’t include political parties having the backing of around 85+% of the mainstream media – where most people receive their information from which to make a supposed democratic decision. My definition of a democracy doesn’t include the grotesque and abhorrent smears in the mainstream media against the main and other opposition. My definition of democracy doesn’t include political parties being funded by million/billionaires and a funding process where political parties spend more than one another, where political parties while in power quietly change the election funding process and still break the rules that do exist.
My definition of a democracy doesn’t include large sections of an electorate purposefully under and inadequately educated, unequipped with the teachings on critical and analytical thinking. My definition of a democracy doesn’t include large sections of the electorate being unaware of that which they should and could be taught at school, at least some basics in things vital to our way of life – politics, economics, social issues and so on. My definition of a democracy doesn’t include large sections of the electorate being unable to understand certain terminology, alternative views and explanations and an electorate largely unaware of the manifesto of the parties they’re voting for.
My definition of a democracy doesn’t include the spectrum of debate always being within the confines of plutocrats. My definition of a democracy doesn’t include political parties spinning and blatantly lying to the electorate, saying one thing while doing something entirely different, e.g. austerity. My definition of a democracy doesn’t include the scapegoating and despicable attacks on minority groups, bullying those without a mainstream voice, causing division, conflict, deflecting attention and causing untold misery and suffering to some of the *most vulnerable* (and any level of *vulnerability*) people in society.
My definition of a democracy doesn’t include voter suppression, it doesn’t include first past the post (which granted we didn’t have in the EU referendum), it doesn’t include refusing to use modern technology such as the internet to increase voter turn out. My definition of a democracy doesn’t include manipulated consumerism, brainwashing advertising and created difficulties to manipulate self-esteem, psychological, mental and emotional wellbeing difficulties. My definition of a democracy doesn’t include engineered attitudes and the lack of a voice for ‘ordinary working people’. My definition of a democracy doesn’t include engineered apathy and mistrust, especially amongst the young and/or poorest.
My definition of a democracy doesn’t include control and oppression.
A ‘true’ democracy is impossible, we can’t all expect to know absolutely everything, we can’t all be expected to have the time to truly understand everything, we can’t expect to have an entirely unbiased media while maintaining any notion of a ‘free press’, we can’t expect a perfect party and election funding and spending process, we can’t all expect to not have cognitive bias, dissonance and similar, we can’t expect to solve or improve some or all of the problems I feel we have with our democracy at present. Regardless of whether a true democracy is possible or not, there’s simply far too much wrong with our democracy for it to be considered a democracy.
I hope we can at least have a democracy where people have different views and opinions – yes absolutely of course, where debate takes place amongst all in society, but these different views and opinions have to be based on the best information possible, they have to be as genuine as possible and we have to have an electorate equipped with the tools to make democratic decisions. We have to move away from our democracy of lies, spin, propaganda, apathy, inadequate education, misinformation, misunderstanding, scapegoating and manipulation.
How to change the state of our democracy is debatable and something I look forward to hearing your ideas for. Whether or not you believe we have a democracy now and whether you disagree with my opinion is something I also look forward to. Whether or not you believe leaving the EU will ultimately be for the best and your thoughts on everything which I’ve written is something I look forward to. I try to be as open minded as possible and always look to start discussions, rather than try to definitively end them, I respect and appreciate that I may be wrong and welcome friendly debate.
The EU referendum result hasn’t been a democratic decision, those wishing to leave haven’t been victorious.
This a victory for oppression.
I look forward to reading your comments and to the discussions which follow. Thank you, Rhyley.
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