Normally when I duck into my local for a cheeky half on the way home I'm largely left alone to sit quietly in the corner, sup my Ale and read my book. Since Brexit this has changed, someone found out that I lecture EU law and now everyone wants to know what I think Brexit means. The biggest change so far seems to be that one man no longer gets to quietly read his book.
East Northants voted resoundingly for Brexit and among the locals the Brexiteers are the majority. Talking to them it's clear that they are not entirely sure what they voted for - but it seems no one is - but they are very clear what they voted against. To quote the landlord "we socked it to the man". They voted against a political elite that seemed distant, that had become embroiled in petit in-fighting whilst the country burned. Power had ebbed away from them to undemocratic multinational corporations and the very people we'd elected to represent us were in cahoots with them. The dodgy dossier, Illegal wars, the Panama papers were all cited as examples of corruption that must be got rid of.
Sadly "socking it to the man" was not on the ballot paper, but then again neither was "taking our country back" because the corrupt, over-privileged elite are still in control, albeit we've forced them to play an unexpected game of musical chairs.
Yes, we can expect economic downturn but we'll ride it out and yes, the far-right feel that this justifies them peddling their hate, but the neo-liberal elite will stem that and Macpherson, Leveson or Calcutt can be wheeled out as a tokenistic gesture and important issues can yet again be kicked into the long grass.
The media demonstrated just how out of touch the whole establishment is as they told us all about the damage to the FTSE and the value of the pound, as if the disenfranchised masses were pouring over their share portfolio or speculating on the currency markets before rocking up for their zero-hours contract or re-tweeting some casual racism. Both the main political parties have turned their collective backs on the country for some inward looking and spiteful blame game. They have mastered the art of tossing a hand grenade into the country and standing back and collectively we have mastered the art of blaming it on each other - immigrants, those on benefits, striking trade unionists - while the elite continue to take the cream off the top.
If you voted Leave because you wanted to challenge the whole sorry mess then this is just the start, because so far all you've done is doled out some very real, but survivable damage and given a bit of a thumbs-up to racists and nut-jobs. Now you need to stop believing that their silly games are important and just like the Wizard of Oz the magic will be broken. Imagine how silly a Pob look-a-like who enjoys dressing up in frilly robes and a tousle haired buffoon dancing some silly dance on the banks of the Thames last week would have looked without an audience who retweeted every pirouette? Yet the man who wants to look away and engage in an open and honest intellectual debate about the state of our country is set upon by a pack of hyenas more interested in their own careers.
They have power only because we believe they have power - stop believing and 'poof' just like that you will have really socked it to the man.