17 million of my fellow citizens have voted that UK should leave the EU. They did so for a variety of reasons.
Some of the voters are vile racist thugs. I blame them.
More have been made racist because they have grown up in a seething toxic atmosphere served up by the sewer press, and have come to believe the lies that they have been constantly fed. I blame them a bit, but I blame the sewer press much more: publishing lies to sell papers, and to further the self-serving political ends of their owners.
Some are hankering to go back to a non-existent good old days. I blame them.
Some are the well-off and rich elites, who put their own good before the good of the whole country. I blame them.
Some are the have-nothing underclass who voted as they did to shaft both the government and the elites, seen as the enemy. They felt they have nothing more to lose. (They will discover they are wrong; some are already regretting their decision as the lies they were told are being exposed.) It is natural for people who feel they have nothing to lose to lash out, to hurt those who have hurt them. I don’t blame them. I blame a succession of bad governments who have systematically failed to address inequality and poverty. In particular, I blame them for their heartless austerity policies that punish the poor for the crimes of the rich.
But it isn’t just is the fault of the voters.
I do partly blame the EU, for not making it clear the good it does, and for not robustly tackling the problems that it surely has, thereby making it harder to run a positive campaign.
I mostly blame David Cameron, for calling the referendum in the first place. He did it purely for temporary political expediency, believing it would quieten down the far right opposition once they had lost. I blame him for being so out of touch with public opinion that he didn’t forsee the chance of a loss. I blame him for running a weak, negative, fear-mongering campaign.
But most of all I blame Boris Johnson. He fought in the Leave campaign purely for personal political gain. He didn’t want to win: he merely wanted to be seen as someone who had tried, in order to get the backing needed for a leadership battle. He didn’t expect to win: it took him by surprise. And he is so incompetent that he didn’t even have a plan for what to do once he had won.
I blame them. Between them, David Cameron and Boris Johnson have broken my country, in an act of appalling cultural vandalism.
What we need now is for the government to show courage and leadership. To say, thank you public for giving us your opinion on membership of the EU. We have seriously considered it, along with much other information to which you have not had access, and have decided not to invoke Article 50 in this case, as it would be bad for the country as a whole. Oh, and then call a general election.
Will this happen? It would need courage and leadership. So probably not.