I awoke early this morning just in time to hear the news that the country had voted to leave the European Union and I couldn’t help wondering what Charles Mackay would have made of it and whether he would have added another chapter to his Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
It seems to me that the electorate has been led up the garden path with promises that will never materialise. That leaving the EU will somehow solve the immigration issue, push up wages, improve trade etc.
If you voted in the referendum, the chances are better than 50:50 that your choice was to cross the leave box and I wouldn’t want to insult you by saying that it was a very foolish decision. Let me put it another way, that was a very foolish decision.
But it’s democratic foolishness, so that’s okay, except the ballot paper was in the hands of those who voiced some very odd reasons for voting Brexit. I heard a woman on the radio on Wednesday blaming potholes in the roads on immigration and de facto it was the EU’s fault.
Then yesterday there was hysteria at the polling stations because there were only pencils in the voting booths, as there always are. They genuinely believed that an army of bureaucrats were poised ready with a mountain of erasers to switch their votes. Setting aside their sheer paranoia and unfamiliarity with the election process, that is a peculiar logic. That they want to hand more power to a government they suspect of electoral fraud.
It is madness that has left me speechless. I really hope that I’m wrong, but I suspect that dark days lie ahead for this country and that the solutions to our perceived problems will prove be an illusion.