Imagine I have two boxes…

Imagine I have two boxes.

Is this about Brexit?


You said you weren’t going to post about Brexit again.

It’s not about Brexit. Shut up. Imagine I have two boxes and you get to pick one and keep the contents of it.

How is this not about Brexit?

Will you please shut up about Brexit?

Okay. Okay. You have two boxes. Go on. I’m all ears.

And I tell you what’s in both of them. I tell you that box A is full of marvellous things, things you really like, and that box B is full of nothing, really. Status quo – the concept, not the band. Air – equally, the concept, not the band. You’d pick box A, wouldn’t you?

There isn’t a band called ‘Air’.

Isn’t there?

Don’t think so. ‘Air Supply’ perhaps.

I’ll Google it later. But you’d pick box A, right?

Uh huh. I would pick box A. You lied about what was in box A, didn’t you?

Hypothetically, yes.

Even though this isn’t about Brexit? Jeez, you need to get over it. People voted for Brexit. They weren’t stupid, gullible or naïve. It was a democratic majority.

Technically, it wasn’t of course, because it was an ‘adviso – ‘

Nobody actually thought it was that. Nobody. Everybody knew what the outcome meant, regardless of what it said on the ticket.

You voted ‘leave’, then.

You’re trying to get me to say that we should have another vote because the leave campaign lied, right?

It wasn’t my overall intention, actually, but now that you say it…

But I didn’t vote leave.

You didn’t?

No. I voted not to stay. And, therefore, it doesn’t matter that the leave campaign lied or what might be in box A. What matters is that I know what’s in box B and I’m not interested in it. And neither was the majority of people who voted in the election.


Seriously, whatevs.

Shouldn’t you be interested in the workings of democracy, though? Lying in an election –

Is irrelevant. Completely irrelevant.

Another vote…

Is equally problematic in terms of democracy, isn’t it? You can’t keep trying again and again just to get the result you want, can you? How democratic is that, exactly?

Actually, that’s a really good point. No. We can’t. But – and I don’t know how to say this delicately…

Go on?

I suspect you’re not really bothered about the workings of democracy at all. You’re just using a legitimate concern to hang on to a result you really want.

What makes you –


Spit it out.

Well, that’s scary, really.

Scary? Now you sound like an idiot.

I know. And I’m sorry. But hear me out. I think that you suspect that if we have another vote, we’d end up with a very different result, perhaps because of scaremongering, media bias, social media, whatever. Which is why you don’t want another vote.

Everyone’s lying for their own ends. I’ve said it before. And we’re better off, then, sticking to ourselves –

Whatever. That’s beside the point. The point is, that your insistence that we have to stick to a decision which the majority probably doesn’t want, now, even though it did however many months ago it was, is just evidence that democracy is fucked. Legitimate concerns about the workings of democracy have demonstrated that democracy is, basically, fucked. How does that not scare you?

You’re making too much of this. You should just –

Yeah, I know. Get behind it. Make it a success. Go to the festival. But I can’t.

Shit. You are so much part of the problem here. If it does go wrong, it’ll be the remoaners who made it go wrong.

I hate that term. ‘Remoaners’. And I hate the word ‘loser’, too. Because it’s not a competition. It’s about the future of the country. And it’s about democracy. Our system of ‘democracy’ enshrines moaning, complaining and needling within its institution. It’s called ‘the opposition’.

Moan moan moan moan moan. Do you ever shut up? Good grief, you’re dull.

And that’s scary, too, you know?


That any debate has now turned into sound bites and mud-slinging. And that there’s no way to talk about it without it descending to that.

Well – you will not shut up about it. Let it fucking go, already.

Actually, no. I appreciate why you’re saying it, and – to some extent – I sort of agree with you. But it’s too important to let go. Fuck this issue, Brexit, the EU. But the democracy issue behind it is big. And important and needs dealing with properly.

You’re just going to have to admit that you lost –

Yeah, you’re really not listening to me. Democracy is broken.

Only because you’re breaking it. If you didn’t keep bashing it, it would be okay. At most, it’s a tiny stress fracture, the tolerance necessary in a real system involving real people.

This is how I see it, and this is why I can’t, cannot, won’t shut up about it. Politicians with an agenda lied about something for their own ends.

All politicians lie, for fu –

Shut up. Then, a ‘democratic’ vote took place, influenced by those lies.

I’ve already told you, I wasn’t influenced –

Perhaps you weren’t. Perhaps. But, regardless, there is no democratic way to check the influence of those lies, now that they have been uncovered, without – apparently – challenging democracy itself. And that is wrong. I’ve seen posts on social media threatening ‘war’ if the result is challenged. As if that is democracy in action. As if violence against society is part of the democratic process. And listening to the smugness of those thugs citing democracy as a justification for war is abhorrent. And, fuck it, we should be talking about that. In fact, we should be talking about that a really great deal. I’m not sure I give much of a shit about Brexit, if I’m really honest. It’s not going to affect me very much – I’m more than halfway through my working life, I’m unlikely to move abroad and I don’t have kids. I don’t care. I’m fairly sure that it’s going to affect an awful lot of other people, and my sense of empathy is having a hard time not being enraged at the injustice of that, but hey. I’m not a politician or an economist or a legal expert –

Any chance of me getting a turn?

In a minute. Sure.

I’ll forget what I was going to say.

Well make notes, then.

I haven’t got a pen…

Borrow mine. Where was I?

You’re not a politician or something…

Thanks – or an economist or a legal expert and so I really don’t know what’s going to happen. But our inability to have a reasoned conversation about this is worrying. And thugs making laws based on lies is petrifying.

Calm down. No thugs have made laws. I’ve explained about the lying. It’s just messy democracy in action, that’s all. There’s nothing at all to be worried about.

I didn’t make up the comments about ‘war’ and ‘social unrest‘, you know?

They’re a minority.

Indistinguishable from, and supported by, the majority they’re hiding inside. You could be one of them. You’d be saying exactly the same thing as you’re saying right now.

What the fuck? Are you accusing me –

Well, how do I know you’re not? I’m assuming that you’re not, of course. I’m assuming it. But I also assumed that you’d want to make sure that a democratic decision was, actually, democratic and supported by the majority of the populace before being enacted, because that’s what I believe democracy is. And you don’t. I assumed that liars – fraudsters, really – would be caught, prosecuted and punished. Should be caught, prosecuted and punished. And you don’t. I assumed that the lies would then be shown to be –

Yeah. Yeah. We get it. You think I’m scum.

No. No, I really don’t. It kills me to hear you say that. I don’t think you’re scum at all. I think your actions are enabling scum –

For fuck’s sake! Say that again.

No. No, because it’s more evidence that we can’t have a discussion about this without it descending into name-calling and that is part of the problem.

It’s a wonder we’re friends at all.

We don’t all have to share the same opinion to get on. I don’t want to live in an echo chamber.

Well, stop throwing the insults around, then! Chill the fuck out and stop posting incendiary crap about Brexit! Sheesh!

This is not about Brexit.

This is so about Brexit.

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