After the EU vote went the way of the Leave Campaign, many people have said, ‘The country has made a choice and we must stick with it.’ Others suggest, ‘You can’t keep having another vote until you get the result you want.’ The British people are, essentially, stoics, especially the English with our stiff upper lip and our Carry on and Keep Calm. A majority vote is after all a fair, democratic majority vote.
But then I thought, what if the EU referendum had been a second hand bicycle. Imagine.
For sale: second hand bicycle. Two wheels, two pedals, handlebars. All the usual trimmings. Goes really fast. Beautiful vermillion colour. Contoured comfortable saddle. One previous owner, Bradley Wiggins. £100. Can deliver. Must be bought unseen.
So, you buy the bicycle. It sounds ideal, doesn’t it, and you pay your £100 without a second thought and wait eagerly for the bike to land on your doorstep.
When it arrives, it isn’t vermillion red, it’s grey. And scratched. There is only one pedal so your ride will be uncomfortable. The saddle is going to give you a pain in the backside. There is only one wheel although you were promised two. It will wobble and be unsafe. You thought you’d get the bike you were promised. What do you do?
Do you climb astride the bike and say ‘Well, I ordered a bike and it is, certainly, a bike. There were a few misleading details… the wheel, the saddle, the pedal, but that’s only a few details. And I did order the bike. Bradley Wiggins has never been near it but, hey, I’m not Sir Brad, so I don’t deserve as much in the way of being able to stay upright and the bike hopefully isn’t an accident waiting to happen. Maybe other road users won’t think I’ve been stitched up and settled for a bike which didn’t fulfil it’s promise. I’ll just Keep Calm and Carry On.’
Or would you take the bike back, complain, demand a refund and suggest that the advert lied?
I know Brexit is not a bike. I know Article 50 will be triggered on Wednesday 29th March, and we will make the best of it, as we always do, and maybe there may even be the odd opportunity, or the chance that we may not take a fall at every corner and land flat on our faces.
But how many people who voted Leave now feel they were lied to? The NHS logo on the campaign bus, for example. Millions were promised, an extra £350m a week to be exact, but the next day Nigel Farage claimed it was a ‘mistake.’
Then Tory MEP Daniel Hannan suggested that taking back control of immigration did not necessarily mean cutting it, although taking back control of immigration was the central and pivotal issue throughout the campaign. And despite promises to the contrary, impoverished counties will be much worse off: Cornwall would have made £2.5billion from EU money.
I did not buy the bike. I never believed the £350m promise. I think the majority of immigrants embellish our country, through their payment of taxes, their hard work and diversity. But I am prepared, always, to work alongside a democratic system which is fair, honest and balanced. A vote is a vote, as long as it’s honest and democratic.
But perhaps the bike was always flawed. Perhaps the details were misleading: outright lies, in fact. Perhaps the purchaser now feels duped and misled, even cheated? Perhaps we should complain, send it back and ask for a refund. Perhaps we have been sold a dud? After all, there are Trading Standards which govern such transactions and protect the buyer’s rights.