Where were you around 4am on Friday 23 June 2016?
I was struggling to find my mobile. My son was calling from his trading desk in New York. “Dad what the hell is going on? ” You can guess the rest. He had just seen on his screens that the UK had voted to Leave. He said that was the end for his generation. He talked about moving permanently to America. We suggested he took joint citizenship. His subsequent mood of disbelief has not changed.
My daughter was at Glasto-in-Mud; she was texting me hourly asking for the result. Her texts trailed off once she realised her generation had been given a kick in the teeth. And yet not too many 18-30 year olds bothered to either register to vote or vote at all. Perhaps, voting should have been compulsory.
I am still in shock.
I managed to escape on Friday afternoon to Glyndebourne for a quite sensational rendering of The Marriage of Figaro. It was a miracle we arrived – no thanks to Southern Rail – who cancelled trains by the dozen including the last train home from Lewes. Why is this situation going almost unreported? It is time the franchise was nationalised.
After Glyndebourne we fled to Sardinia for ten days. No-one can quite understand – if my fellow holiday makers from Holland, France, Italy and Germany are typical – what the Brits have done. The tremors have continued on a daily basis. We know not what the full Article 50 is and when it can start. We do not know the costs of Leave. We do not know whether we can meet the ever burgeoning costs of the NHS and our pensions. We are – certainly in London – still in disbelief.
It is my contention that there is no current political party which represents Londoners (who scored the highest Remain percentage just one per cent more than Edinburgh). In May we voted for a Muslim mayor representing the Labour Party. Yet Labour heartlands voted Leave.
Labour had a terrible referendum coming on top of a poor showing in the May local elections. It feels like a busted flush. There is no one in charge. There is no leadership. There is disagreement about the very nature of the democratic basis on which it was formed. Many of us grieve but it may be finished. It may have to be morphed into an English Labour Party.
Whither the Tories? Well I wish we knew. Poor Cameron: he deserved better and he has taken with him George Osborne the cleverest politician of our time. Obituaries are too early for Boris Johnson though he has behaved shamefully. I suspect he will attempt a second coup after 2020. His hunger to be PM has not diminished but few of his friends are currently Tory MPs. He is still a work-in-progress.
The bookies favour Theresa May as the next shoe-in Prime Minister. She is more a managerial politician – capable but a tad dull. Maybe that is the current nation’s mood music after Leave.