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TMBy Tim Marshall

0600 – Westminster.  Walking towards Parliament through quiet streets I pass two street cleaners staring at their phones and speaking in an East European language. All I understood was the four words they said in English – “48-51”, pause, “48-51!”.

06.30 – Twitterland.  I can’t resist and tweet “Politicos, media, and those tweeting they can’t believe it are underlining how little they know their own country.

0700 – 10.00 Westminster.  A round of interviews for TV crews from China, Israel, Germany, and Serbia. All asked the easiest question, which has the hardest answer –  ‘Why?”  I gave variations on the idea that if you socially engineer a society too quickly, and don’t listen to those you are engineering, eventually they won’t listen to you anymore.  The politicians spent too much time in the House and not enough in Hartlepool.  Huge swathes of continental Europeans want out as well. The direction of travel I say is towards a multi speed Europe because the true believers will never give up their dream, but national politics will result in compromises and an inner and outer core.

11.00 – Westminster.  Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone said he would leave the country if it was a ‘Leave’ vote. I tell his nemesis, Labour’s John Mann MP who campaigned for ‘Out’ that  “I hear Ken’s at Heathrow”. He smiles but doesn’t want to go there. Or to Heathrow.

12.00  – Westminster.  A long talk with a Tory Remain MP over the looming leadership battle. We agree that everyone’s calling it for Johnson, maybe Gove, but there are some Cabinet members, one in particular, who have played a sensible quiet game and who may be regarded as a unity candidate. The MP will probably be backing the quieter one – and no – that doesn’t mean Iain Duncan Smith.

14.00 – Sainsburys.  That’s enough Westminster politics, Ed. In the fruit and veg aisle two Brit Sainsbury staff are chatting; ‘What’s up with people?” said the women “I voted Out – someone else voted In, get over it”.  “I know” replied her male colleague “I voted In and I’ve been given a hard time about it”. While dealing with a bunch of carrots it was a relief to be reminded that most people don’t spit the dummy in politics and are perfectly capable of accepting views other than their own. At the fish counter the Scottish woman behind the salmon says “I voted in, even though I knew it might lead to another referendum in Scotland, which I don’t want”.

15.00  – High Street.  Walking to my local café a Russian friend, who prefers not to live in his country due to its current government, stops me “In a word Tim, what do you think?”  ‘Two words” I reply – ‘Putin’s happy”. He nods, grimaces, then shaking his head walks away towards our uncertain future.

15.30 –  The Office. Otherwise known as the local café. I sit outside. Cars are going past, people are going about their business, the butchers opposite is still open. I look up at the sky – yup – still there, hasn’t fallen down, but I still muse about whether this is the same country as yesterday. Surely the answer is yes.  The café guy, from Eastern Europe, comes out. “Whaddya think?” I ask, conscious, in my embarrassing English way that there will be many people here from abroad who may take the vote as meaning they are not welcome – ‘Bad. Sterling’s down” he says, which is a clever answer.  “What do you think” he asks, “Me?” I say – “I’m disappointed. But I’m not surprised”.






13 Comments on "Conversation Brexit"

  1. It would appear that Jimmy Perry and David Croft really did have a good grasp of the nature of the British people. Over the last few days you have seen most of the cast members writ large among the population.
    The Mainwarings, chests puffed out adamant that Britain can take whatever any foreigners throw their way, for one simple reason, we’re British.
    The Pikes, thumbs in mouth moaning about how unfair it is and warning they’ll tell their mums.
    The Frasers, were all doomed!!, and they warned us about it all along.
    The Joneses, hopping from one foot to another shouting don’t panic over graphs with large downward movements that they’re not really sure they understand.
    Godfrey aka Jeremy Corbyn, could he please be excused because of his bunions.
    Wilson aka David Cameron, would you mind awfully if we got back to you in three months.
    Walker, aka Nicola Sturgeon, want to buy some independence nylons?

    Interesting times eh.

    • Love it. So much, I shall now steal it. Thank you.

      • No, thank you. Glad someone liked it.

        I wonder if we may end up down the road of Cameron resigning and the Queen appointing a new PM in the very near future, while I’m sure Camerons three month announcement was a stall to buy more time to let the dust settle before triggering article 50 it would seem that enough mischief is being made in the interim for a power vacuum to be unsustainable as things stand. Situation not helped by a press desperate to talk up chaos and talk down the economy, a senior ex minister (who should know better) showing scant regard for democracy and a Scottish first minister who couldn’t even wait a day to put the boot in.

  2. I has been supporting the the idea of a two speed Europe for many years, surely the answer to keep the majority on board across the continent.
    The Eurozone at the core, with Britain, Norway, Denmark etc. in the next tier. Each country deciding which layer suits them.
    Is this what Germany is floating as associate membership?
    Is this the answer to a 48%-52% split?

    • mahatmacoatmabag | 26th June 2016 at 2:40 pm | Reply

      The Soviet Union lasted from 1922 to 1991. The Soviet Union was the first state created based on Marxist socialism, the EU is the second and I predict it will not last in its current form which was created in Nov. 1991, for 70 years.

  3. Peter Kennedy | 26th June 2016 at 6:50 pm | Reply

    My oh my!! What have you all been up to whilst I was away? At the Friedrichshafen event there was little sign of the news from the UK but the German news has been full of the story for three days and it shows no sign of stopping.

    It seems that I am now a victim of the old Chinese curse, ‘may you live in interesting times’.

  4. mahatmacoatmabag | 26th June 2016 at 9:20 pm | Reply

    This a hilarious parody I found on YouTube
    Hitler finds out the UK has voted to leave the EU

  5. I watched today as the EU train-wreck continues to roll on. When the UK went to the EU, via Cameron and wanted to use and be part of the ‘you must be in to have any influence’ line some peddle – we and in fact all the people everywhere saw the influence was near zero. Not zero, but near zero.
    Cameron was forced in part by problems of his own making to come back to the UK and carry out the referendum that many Britons have wanted since 75. Cameron had little help from ‘his friends’ in Brussels. They consider themselves untouchable – which fundamentally has always
    driven the referendum vote /demand/fuel. The EU of course – never wanted a Referendum. After all, who would like something which they almost never win. It’s like going to the fair and never getting the teddy.

    Over 3 days, I have seen not just a tiny minority of idiots – because that’s is what they are – who have committed things that are unacceptable to everyone – but now an almost entire people glibly being labelled ‘Xenophobes’, ‘Racists’, and a great deal more besides. I have
    seen people play out disgusting propaganda where pictures of brave, ferocious freedom fighting Poles are used as a club to label the UK in this way. The Grey vote who came out during this referendum – on a scale I have never seen in my life – voted in huge unremitting force
    against the EU. And before people use this club again, it needs to be remembered. This island stood against the evils of the worst days in Polish history. It gave Poles the Spitfires, the guns, the bullets, the fuel, the bombs to fight for Freedom. It went into war, and took
    itself to the edge of existence *for Poland*. The young heroic pilots in that poster were backed by a little country to fight in a mutual war for liberty and freedom. Those planes were build here, by people who manned lathes like guns. In the UK. They were patched up, repaired
    and fixed by totally exhausted and Heroic ground crews who fought through no sleep, bombing to give the famed Polish knights of the air a steed to make that picture. They were that generation, or the children of it. Like the appalling ‘threat’ and fear used in the referendum campaign,
    people on both sides continue to show the poorer choices of argument one might make. It is disgusting to confuse some idea that frustrated Britons who voted leave automagically hold hate in their hearts for Poles, or Europeans on any name. That Grey Vote is the vote of the people, and their parents
    if not for their efforts, sacrifice, rationing into the 50’s – there would be no Europe. No EU. No Freedom. No liberty. How dare we abuse and label our greatest generation. Some are indeed wrong, or foolish, or under informed in the information age we live in. But they voted and they
    meant it. And it was that Grey vote and their Parents who did that. I for one allow them the latitude to speak. Some have said they should not. That is a shame indeed. They were the original Europeans who voted IN in 75. But people forget that…

    Our young did not vote in the numbers needed by the EU. People have lamented this. I had an interesting conversation with a Slovak Friend of mine about who the UK was wrong. Coming from Bratislava has a different view which we all may do. The young people of the UK have
    some difficulty in translating the EU idea – it’s the idea that you have a central authority that is detested. It’s the grand architect of @50% youth unemployment in the Med area. It’s not much better elsewhere – barring a few exceptions – And in many places there is limited
    scope to make a life or work in the EU. Things for young people in the UK are difficult. But the problems in the EU make that pale into insignificance. There is a simple, painful reason the young did not vote. On either side, they found no fuel to light their fire, and to
    interest them. If they *really* believed in the EU, they would have voted. And too few did.

    So, back to the EU, and I watch the un-elected idiocy standing there, ‘we will not move, change or compromise’. ‘Britain is to be punished’. The UK is partially its own problem generator. Its welcome open armed welcome to enormous numbers of people who then find one of the few
    EU states where a job can be found, a life made, a shop opened, has led to pressures few, if any other EU state has. I’m not going to talk about UK for a moment. I will talk about England. The England, that outside of the large cosmopolitan cities, voted in a huge leave
    indicator have many issues lots of people smarter that I have gone into detail over.

    The price for this open armed welcome – is that the UK embraced the single market, and its costs, and its ups and downs. And it did something the EU is lousy at. It kept making jobs. And the people kept coming. If you have a single market, and free movement of people, then as
    much as the UK must take people, the EU has to make jobs. Hrmmm, that wasn’t written down anywhere. So, it’s no longer free movement of people. Now we’re into forced movement by circumstance. England – which takes the bulk of the good and the bad, now has a density of population.
    The density is over 400 people per square km. And it’s worse in the compressed areas when you properly consider the under populated areas of England. The people who for many reasons – not just the in/out vote registered many votes in protest all share some common issues. There cannot be an
    argument that people have – in some cases very severe competition for thinning resources in England. Those resources are not limited to, but include housing – all types. Transport -Try being forced out of London, and having for pay £5000 a year just to get to work. Healthcare,
    which sees the NHS under severe strain whether you look with tory or liberal or labour eyes. School places and locations including additional transport and social issues. Employment pressures and competition. Just to actually bring this home in some numbers. If Spain or Sweden had
    to have this density – they would be forced to have populations of over 160 Million each. If you take France and its Density, the UK would only have 14.5 Million people if applied. Or to put this in another way – Last year I believe it is quoted that the UK had
    330,000 immigrants. Let’s accept that. Now, to take our Northern Friends in Scotland and to just give some flavour. Glasgow is a city of 500,000 people. Somewhere, in, lost amongst all the hubris. Lost in all the noise, the EU, the remain, and the unwise have come to a conclusion
    that the UK will simply absorb new structure needed on the scale of a new Glasgow and then some *every* 2 years. Thing on that for a minute. One of the smallest sized countries with the least space – is with no funding that I saw or see from the remain /EU – expected to simply keep
    dealing with it. In the past 10 years the UK has accepted and done fair by its treaties. People have said the EU will be good for our Children. Well, maybe it would have to be. Because at the rate of a new Leicester required each year, things like Greenbelts, and a lot of other
    disruption would have to take place just to make it so. I live in a two bedroom flat with 3 kids, and zero chance of getting on the housing ladder, or escape from the mounting rental pressures, and not enough to cover things. Am I to a racist, a xenophobe, a hater of Europe?

    No. We can’t do this. If you dig into enough data, it’s unclear how you even pay or make it work on this scale. And we’re paying it because the people who stand in front of you saying ‘can’t change won’t change have failed Europe. The few places where people might find a life and
    hope is the UK, which has fuelled a breaking point. I never saw the remain side explain once – how they might make it work. Not once. Because all sides know they can’t. So today the EU has decided to ignore the vote in more ways than one. And it’s following now disturbing
    ‘Lebensraum’ policy, with an end game where Britain is a selected Ghetto, with Romanians living 12 to a flat earning slave wages, primarily because these unelected EU ‘leaders’ without getting what they want, they have zero answer. I’m obviously using an over generalised point –
    But it’s here, it happens, and slavery really was never on any agreed agenda. No Answer is to just attempt to force the UK to continue to be one of the few places doing what is deeply needed. It is a mistake to assume that all the cards sit in the EU hand. The reality is that should the UK be forced
    to fight the EU – the EU is as fragile and brittle as a fragile, brittle thing. It’s currency and banks could be ruined in a day if all round the table decide that stupid ‘punishments’ are the only comprehension they have.

    There are 3.3 Million EU citizens in the UK. And countless interests and businesses and families that reside far beyond this. My Wife is Slovak. My kids are British. So, I’ll say what I said a few times before. This argument isn’t between the EU and the UK government. Because in our age, our Democracy still has its place.
    It’s simply not right that a few, select, arrogant, ignorant, unelected people gain an unchallenged, unassailable right to suddenly enact a criminal act of vandalism. I say that as a person who voted for Brexit. I still comprehend both sides. But the UK cannot continue to work within
    current movements. If these ‘men’ and ‘women’ continue the rhetoric of ‘ punishment’ and of ‘no change’, then they have to be removed. Not by Britons. By Europeans who must be encouraged to speak now, and at once. Britain, may well suffer horribly should it be forced into
    a zero exit. But it will go on and trade with the globe and will simply with British flem and the pain will be dealt with. We have had worse. But the EU doesn’t hold all the cards. The losses in recent days of EU interests were bigger than UK losses. Many nations in the EU only joined so they could trade, sometimes with Britain as their aim.
    If you cut off that trade, and if stupidity persists, the EU, it’s Euro, and it’s banks could be sunk by moderate acts of British ‘punishment’ should the fight get down and dirty. The UK is not Greece (sorry Greece, unfair I know). It’s not, and if the EU persists with this line, do not be surprised if Britain
    too starts to turn from shield to sword mentally. We are not your punch bag. Cameron came to you twice now. Don’t expect unending British ‘diplomacy’ forever on this. Unlike the rest of the EU, we actually had a vote on it.

    I was going to submit – but don’t have the background for that. So post it here.

  6. mahatmacoatmabag | 30th June 2016 at 6:52 pm | Reply

    Turkey joining the EU became a major topic of debate in the UK referendum, with the Leave campaign regularly voicing their alarm about the prospect of visa-free travel for “79 million” Turkish citizens – a point dismissed by David Cameron and Remain campaigners, who insisted that Turkey was “decades” away from joining.
    Cameron & the entire Remain camp from across the entire political spectrum are despicable liars, the EU is rushing ahead with negotiations to bring in Turkey & Cameron and his inner circle knew it

    • The Remain camp were not the ‘despicable liars’. It was not the Remain campaign that put “£350 million” on the side of a bus. It wasn’t Remain who said that they’d control immigration only to admit now that they can’t really do that. It wasn’t Remain who used a picture of refugees on the Croatia-Slovenia border and implied they were coming here. Boris Johnson was perhaps the biggest liar of them all. He clearly remains a believer in the EU and his political manoeuvrings to become Prime Minister have backfired spectacularly.

      You could argue that Remain did launch ‘Project Fear’ but there’s nothing to say that those predictions won’t come true. The pound slumped, as did the FTSE, and both have only recovered because it’s slowly dawning on everybody, even the proponents of Leave, that Article 50 might never be triggered. People have glimpsed what Brexit will bring and none but those blinded the most by ideology would happily walk towards it.

      Meanwhile, ‘take back control’ seems this morning to mean giving the reins of power to a man who is in the control of his dogmatic wife and the media barons. So, even in that, the Leave campaign have been proved to be less than open about the truth.

      Regarding Turkey: if you read the story, you’ll see that the meeting wasn’t exactly friendly and that very little has been done to actually bring Turkey into the EU. In fact, accession gets further away by the day. You seem to misunderstand how diplomacy works. The UK and the EU need to encourage Turkey to look Westwards and to adopt western values of democracy and free speech. So, they are positive towards Turkey but knowing that accession is unlikely to happen. They can’t obviously say that publicly but it’s pretty clear what’s going on. It’s called diplomacy and diplomacy doesn’t deal with your moral absolutes.

  7. Both sides were led by politicians so of course both sides were lying through their teeth. End of story. Article 50 wasn’t triggered on Tuesday, there wasn’t an immediate black hole budget, 350 million isn’t heading the way of the NHS and we aren’t going to get a trade agreement without some freedom of movement. Time to move on.

    Turkey in all likelihood is not joining the EU anytime soon not because of the unwillingness of the EU to offer a place but because of the unwillingness of the Turkish govt to give up sovereignty and to harmonise in the areas the EU wants.

    The biggest dangers to our country now are people talking down our economy and eroding consumer confidence and the risk that Article 50 may not be triggered. This as I have banged on about before would cause a huge backlash, even my remain friends agree the result needs implementing so we can get on with negotiating a decent deal that will be acceptable to the majority of people and remove uncertainty.

    • I’m always up for a plague-on-all-their-houses argument but, really, I don’t believe Remains sins were as great as Leaves. However, we see these things through different eyes and can only assert what we believe.

      As to Article 50: I’m happy to wait to see what happens. Of course, as a Remainer, I’m not rushing to see it triggered. However, the politics of that will be intriguing. When I say I don’t see it being triggered, I don’t say that as a Remainer. I say it as somebody who just believes that we’re in for some interesting politics. Too many pieces in the air at the moment to guess the future. Who knows how they’ll land?

  8. Wouldn’t even chance a fiver on what the final outcome will be. At the moment an hour is a long time in politics let alone a week.

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