Monday, 3 October 2016

Going to Hell in a Handcart

Cauldron of the Inferno, Bourges cathedral
There are times when a good rant is what's needed, and having just come back from holiday in France, where I kept up to date (mostly) on what was going on in the UK, the raising of the head of Brexit and all it's implications made coming back home not an entirely joyful prospect. It feels like we could be going to hell in a handcart, as graphically shown in this carving I photographed in the crypt of Bourges cathedral.

I make no secret of having voted to remain in the EU in David Cameron's farcical referendum on 23rd June. To me it seems better to negotiate changes from within rather than slog away at forging new boundaries and trade deals on the periphery or from way outside somewhere. Also, one of the reasons the EU was set up as the EEC was to bring the countries of Europe together after World War 2 to make it less likely that such devastating disprution within Europe would happen again. Rather than enemies we would become cooperative allies. It all seems more adult, yet a small majority within the UK wanted out so out we seem to be going - possibly into that handcart and off to hell.

The implications of Brexit somehow became more tangible viewed from outside the UK and from across the Channel in France. Would I have to pay to get a visa next time I want to go there, or to any of the other European countries? Would any visitors from continental Europe have to pay for a visa to visit the UK? Where are prices likely to rise - what will go up? French wines and cheeses, shoes and handbags made in countries in continental Europe? (I happen to like Rhode shoes made in Germany; stylish bags, such as Longchamps are popular. They're expensive enough without a price rise. And so on).

French people I spoke to think we are mad to want to leave - the only common point of agreement is on the curtailment of free movement and the numbers of immigrants. That does need to be sorted out, but by such drastic measures? 

Having grown up in the 1950s I shudder that the thought of going back to those days of stark austerity, of making do and mending, but I guess all that will stand me in good stead if and when times do get tougher.

I'm not a moaning minnie - I just claim my right to have a rant and air my views, just as those who voted to leave have a right to their point of view. We have to live together, alongside each other and accept the other side's position. What rankles is:
  • the government deciding against having a full parliamentary debate on the referendum result and appearing to allow the result dictate what they should do without proper involvement of parliament
  • the narrow parameters of the result - a larger percetage majority should have been set
  • David Cameron getting us into this mess by promising the referendum and then bogging off and doing nothing to sort it out
  • the lies told by those politicians in the leave campaign to win votes
  • the lack of strategy on both sides - leave and remain - about what to do if the vote went in either direction.
One thing I do compliment the leave campaign on is the effectiveness of its slogan - Take Back Control - which hooked so many people. Right now it all seems a mess, with nothing really clear from a PM who was in the remain camp, but firmly asserted "Brexit means Brexit".

I think I'm perfectly justified to let off steam and ask if we're all heading for hell in that infernal handcart

Rant over.

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