In the end, this one referendum on Brexit -was- too close to call. And it tipped as we slept, literally and symbolically. A chain reaction began somewhere along the line, as we kept busy shopping at the duty free shops of European airports, waiting for our Ryanair flights.
And yet. Weren’t referendums supposed to happen in instances that stem from the social fabric as major unavoidable shifts? As -validation- of an inevitability? This one sure is the definition of major, but there is nothing in Brexit that screams it needed to happen as a poll: if anything, this margin does show it could have gone either way – hardly a validation of a pervasive social sensibility.
We’re thus left with a tectonic change in the UK, in Europe, a likely end to the post-war utopia of a harmonised continent. This utopia was already in shreds, but now a deliberate dismantling has begun. One further reason for extremism to be happy: no need to charge upon us, we’re unravelling it ourselves. Interesting how the fear of the “other” leads us into jumping into the dark. And fascinating how the polarised formulation of the core question was accepted by all involved: such a hugely complex social, cultural, financial, economic, historical issue reduced to a “yes” or “no”. I see further oblique signs of the digital binary weaving itself into our bloodstream.
And then there’s the “why”: all this began as an electoral promise in order to gain a few electoral votes and appease party sensibilities. Hubris meets the butterfly effect: gambling of the highest order. Watching the media statements from the leading figures of this exercise reassures me: Trump is not an individual – it is the zeitgeist.