The result of the referendum is something I had hoped for for decades. I am convinced it will prove to be good for Britain but my celebration is tinged with sadness. The childish reaction of the losing side shocks me. Their abuse of fellow citizens who honestly tried to make the right decision is unfathomable. We are all racists, bigots and cretins apparently. We are old (a crime of which they will one day be guilty if they are lucky). We are white — as most people in these islands still are. And?
As a nation we took this issue seriously. More people voted than ever before. Millions registered to vote for the first time, probably because this would the only chance they would have in their lives to make a difference. All three national political parties plus the SNP in Scotland and Plaid Cymru in Wales were pro-EU. So voting in a General Election was never going to affect this issue. How democratic was that? And yet my social media feeds and real world conversations are filled with screaming "friends" denouncing Cameron for giving us a chance to state our view. Given my international career, I also have German, French and Polish "friends" denouncing me and threatening revenge on my nation.
We English speakers really need to do something with the word "friend". It is applied far too freely. I have never sought to limit my friendships to people who agree with me. But I am seriously considering whether people who don't respect my opinion can really be worthy of the name.
Can the people raging at us for taking our chance not understand how frustrating it has been for us at election after election to listen to our plump, smug élites making EU-sceptic noises to compete for what has proved to be more than half of the available votes only then to support the EU? Even joining a party didn't help. The membership of the Conservative Party has been anti EU from 1972 to the present day. That didn't stop the party taking us in. It didn't stop it keeping us in. Candidates lied about being Eurosceptic to be selected and then went on to campaign for Remain. How democratic was that? How honest?
Even now, when the "secret people" have finally spoken, the political class are perverting whatever democratic principles they claim to have to find ways to override us. Politics does not attract the best of humanity. It takes a certain kind of crazy to believe, when most of us find it hard enough to live our own lives well and take care of our own families, that you can usefully decide how others should live. It takes a certain kind of nasty to want to be part of the machine that takes most of the nation's earnings by force. But even I did not grasp, in all my libertarian cynicism, just how depraved these vipers are. They have lost their chance to follow Lords Kinnock and Mandelson into the millionaire-making institutions of Brussels and their un-righteous wrath is impressive.
Worst of all is the evidence the referendum has provided of the moral degradation of many of our young people. I suppose the logical corollary of the identity politics they have been raised on by their cultural Marxist teachers is that if certain minority victim groups are morally superior, the majority of people must be despicable. The hateful scorn I have heard expressed for the old, for example, is quite horrifying. Do they not know they will age? Do they not know that they will grow out of some of their current opinions; that life experience will change them? Or do they really believe they are fully formed right now, perfect and incapable of further development?
And to listen to so called "progressives", who are supposed to be all about the workers, express their patrician contempt for the plebs who voted "wrongly" is perturbing. "Why should my future be decided by Mr & Mrs Bigot of Sunderland?" a friend of a Facebook friend asked yesterday. "Why not?" I thought, "given that (a) they are no bigots compared to you in your vile snobbery and (b) you claim the right to decide *their* future even though you are in a minority!"
I wish David Cameron had kept his promises to remain as PM and implement the peoples decision and to serve the Article 50 notice immediately. He has prolonged the agony of uncertainty in a fit of petulance. We can only begin to pull together as a nation when the new normality is implemented. But I wonder if we can ever be comfortable together again now that the majority of us truly understand just how much those who think themselves our betters (and prove themselves wrong by thinking so) despise us.