If I had to characterise myself in two words they would undoubtedly be bad and loser.
I’m famous for it: locking myself in my room as a teen after any significant defeat for my team, refusing to drink Hofmeister after defeat to the Germans at Euro ‘96 (it took me years to realise that brand was in fact brewed in Reading) and many of my friends have long refused to play board games with me on account of my Mariah Carey-esque tantrums when suffering yet another evening of humiliation.
A willingness to accept defeat is a laudable attribute if it is tempered by reason but my reaction to the wrong result is usually an almighty, voluble flounce, followed by hours of uneasy silence. My latest taste of defeat came shortly after 5am last Friday when the reality of the Brexit bombshell shook me out of a restless slumber. Like many Remainers that moment of realisation that Nigel Farage would be having Champagne on his All-Bran was one of abject horror, mixed with the hope that Twitter was playing a cruel early morning trick on millions of us. Such is the way these days, I took to social media to vent my spleen but that wasn’t nearly cathartic enough and the rest of the day dragged on by in a miserable haze.
It was like the worst kind of hangover: a banging headache and nagging nausea combined with a shorter temper than usual but without any of the fun the night before. Try as hard as I might not to be unkind to anyone who did not share my view I failed miserably, immediately snapping back at anyone who disagreed with me. My very own Project Payback didn’t make me feel any better but I was incapable of entering into any form of debate so shutting down conversations was the only tactic available. But the fact is there wasn’t a great deal of debate to be had because the silence from the triumphant Brexiters was almost deafening although I think this was down to many of them not feeling the need to engage in further discourse. This didn’t stop the flurry of online postings from others about last Friday being the day that the much derided baby boomers committed one final selfish act, with the accusation being that this most privileged of generations wasn’t content with its final salary pensions and free bus passes, it wanted revenge. ‘We’ve got our country back’, we were told more than once last weekend, ‘Back from where?’ came the response.
Of course, all this led to the accusation that us Remainers had spat out our dummies and that this was sour grapes, an accusation I reject because imagine if the boot was on the other foot? Farage had long indicated that Leave would push for a second referendum were they to be defeated by four points, their winning margin.
There is no realistic prospect of rerun but 16 million of us made our opinions clear – we wanted to stay in the EU. While most of us will roll up our sleeves and make the best of a bad lot, we will be ready and waiting with the ‘told you sos’ should it go Pete Tong. Bad losers the lot of us.