You don't have to be a racist or an idiot to have voted leave, of course, you just have to have allowed yourself to be misled by those who are. That is, sadly, what has happened - people have been misled. Duped. Lied to.
The leave camp lies are already falling apart, and it is already clear that they have no plan whatsoever, and no clue about what's even maybe supposed to happen next. They never did. For many of them it was never supposed to really happen - for the likes of Boris it was a Tory party power play ruse. For others it was all completely irrational 'make us Great again' pseudo-Imperial nonsense anyway (and then there were the actual racists - seeing the likes of Britain First, the BNP and the National Front heartily celebrating should be enough of a flashing early warning light to show that we've probably not done the right thing here).
This was always all about the internal conflict in the Tory party, and appeasing the hardline right wingers to keep them off Cameron's back, while keeping UKIP at bay electorally (and the Tory referendum promise itself was based on the polls-led assumption that the Tories weren't going to win a majority in 2015, so they'd never have to actually do it). Cameron gave the Farages of this world an apparent veneer of serious political legitimacy, and the perfect opportunity to mislead the public (particularly those who wanted to have a go at 'the establishment') into thinking they would be getting something that was never, ever going to be possible, and that was never, ever really on the table.
The problem with the racism angle, of course, is not that half of the UK is actually racist, but that the racists now believe that half of the UK agree with them, and are fully behind their agenda to 'send them all home'. They are both overjoyed and emboldened by the result, and we're only just seeing the beginnings of the manifestations of that. There are already widespread reports of immigrants, particularly brown-skinned and/or Muslim ones for some strange reason, being shouted at in the street and told to pack their bags and go home on the basis that 'we voted out'. That is what this has done, and what it was always going to do.
It is only going to get worse as those truly racist xenophobic types realise their new Whitey Utopia, Land of Plenty, 'Great again' Britain, free from the shackles of 'foreigners', and rich and wonderful for everyone (everyone truly' British') like it was in the good ole days (as if it ever was), was all a load of complete rubbish, and that what we are actually facing is just a deeply uncertain economic future, with less money to spend, a less beneficial international working relationships, and pretty much the same kind of immigration anyway (unless we leave the EEA, of course, which would be nothing short of an act of total economic suicide). The only really likely drop in immigration from Brexit will be caused by the lowering of pull factors on the basis of a crashed and screwed economy and the increased number of emboldened, open racists roaming the streets looking for 'the other' to abuse (or worse). I predict that they won't suddenly see the light when that realisation dawns, either - they'll just blame the EU for not giving us extra-extra-special preferential treatment and terms in the negotiations, and the 'immigrants' who haven't gone home yet when we've voted to tell them to (because that is what the racists think that everybody has done). 'Bloody foreigners'.
The warnings were being delivered right the way through the campaign. The evidence of what was likely to happen was there. Unfortunately, it was all just dismissed by many as 'scaremongering' and 'bias' (often just because 'stick it to Cameron, man'), while the outright lies of the leave campaign (already falling apart within hours of the result) were swallowed hook, line and sinker. Scotland is a great example - people said repeatedly that leaving the EU would mean Scotland leaving the UK. That was just 'scaremongering' because 'they already just had a referendum so they can't have another'...but now they are starting the legislative process to allow for a second referendum on it. That £350 million the remain campaign said didn't exist...turns out it didn't exist. That end to immigration that the remain people said wouldn't exist...nope, that doesn't exist either. 'Scaremongering'.
The entire leave campaign was lies. I've seen some spin and twisted truth and so on in politics over the years, but never anything at all remotely on the scale of the leave campaign. It was total, blatant dishonesty from beginning to end. There are elements within the Remain campaign who have to take their share of responsibility too, of course - there were some things that were over-emphasised, some figures that were dubiously interpreted, and some things that were spun and twisted, as is sadly all too common in modern politics. The official Remain campaign was not a good campaign, and petty nonsense like the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition refusing to share any platform with anyone else, putting his domestic party politics above the future of the country, certainly didn't help. Still, this was not on the scale of what the leave lot were up to.
As much as leave voters would like to tell themselves that they've done it for really sound reasons and it will all probably work out in the end if we all shut up and get on with it, I'm sorry, but it won't. People should have listened to the experts, and looked at the evidence. There was no sound, logical, reasoned, evidence-based reason for doing something as drastic as leaving the EU. No reason that stood up to any kind of scrutiny, or held water. None whatsoever - not a single argument put forward by the leave campaign made any sense at all as a sensible reason to leave the European Union. Of course, though, we're all 'fed up with experts'.
And as for that 'well the decision's made so put up with it and pull together' kind of stuff going around towards anybody who is complaining in any way at the result...whatever reasons they thought they had despite all the warnings and information that they were given (and there's lots of 'but why weren't we told this before' flying about from regretful leave voters - you were, you just refused to listen), these people have screwed my country, and they have screwed the future for my children. While I will certainly never, ever sink to the level of some of the worst elements of those celebrating the result with their vile personal (and other) abuse (and worse), I'm not going to sit back, shrug my shoulders, and say nothing about it either. I'm going to be silent about what has happened, what is happening, and what is now likely to happen as a result, and I will be actively involved in trying to salvage something from the situation we've been left in, and I would urge anyone else (even those who don't normally 'get involved' in things like 'politics') to do the same.
In that context, I am overjoyed at the speed with which my party leader, the leader of the only united UK-wide openly pro-EU party, has reacted to confirm that the party will be standing on an openly pro-EU platform at the next general election (whenever that might be):
"The Liberal Democrats will fight the next general election with a pledge to take Britain back into the EU, claiming the referendum result was secured on a campaign of lies.
Voters backed Brexit in a “howl of anger” at out-of-touch politicians, but must be given the chance to rethink the decision, according to the Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron.
The cheap slogans of Ukip’s Nigel Farage and Tories Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are unravelling, and the public will feel betrayed when promises on the NHS and immigration are not delivered, the party said.
Since the shock referendum result, the Lib Dems have recorded thousands of voters signing up to become members."
I would obviously be concerned, as a democrat, if we were seeking to simply ignore the referendum vote and try to block leaving the EU on an undemocratic basis, but standing at a general election on a pro-EU platform in order to secure a democratic mandate for retaining the UK's membership of the EU is absolutely the right thing to do. When all around are losing their heads, and the two main UK-wide parties are imploding into their own private civil wars, Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats are providing the kind of solid, decisive, united leadership that the country, and the 48%, so desperately need.
This is the time when the 48% have to stand together, and stand together with those who have been duped by the outrageous lies of the leave campaign. If you are one of those people, whatever vote you cast in the referendum, who now believes that the people have made the wrong decision, and that we should fight to preserve our future within the European Union, even if you are not normally a 'joiner' and don't normally do politics', now is the time to take a stand and join us (as over 2,000 people have already done since the referendum was announced):