Jayne Dawson: Six things we have learned in this past weird week

Nigel Farage.
Nigel Farage.
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I know, boring isn’t it? There have been times in the past week when whole hours have passed without a prime minister resigning, or the opposition staging a coup.

Ministers and shadow ministers have been going down like skittles at a bowling alley, and the answer to every question is: “I don’t know, there is no precedent.”

I’m not sure whether to carry on talking about what has occurred, or gently draw a veil.

I’m tempted to shut up, but really there is no option: if we take a decision that plunges us into the greatest turmoil since the Second World War, then we must expect people to keep prattling on about it for quite some time.

So since the way out of this is so uncertain, let’s look back a little.

Here are six things we have learned from the referendum:

*The X Factor is the new model for all matters where a vote is required.

I’m not even joking.

It’s now clear that the current way to exercise your democratic right is to vote... well, let’s say emotionally. Others less diplomatic might say stupidly, thoughtlessly, randomly, even mischievously. Whatever. We can say with certainty that rational thought is not part of the modern way to vote. The look and “the dream” is everything.

* Never go to bed on an election.

You will always wake up to a big surprise. This is mostly because of the above. Basically, people are not consistent anymore, they will dive off and vote any which way. Trying to work out what they will do is like trying to herd fish. Whatever the predictions are at 11pm, do not believe them. If you are at all interested in the ways of the world, stay awake and find out for yourself. Otherwise your son will phone you at 4.30am with disappointing news, and you will be forced to head downstairs to see the carnage for yourself, in the process waking the two-year-old who is sleeping over.

* Nigel Farage is an idiot.

He declared that Britain had reached “independence day” without a bullet being fired. The rest of us know that during the campaign three bullets were actually fired, into the head and body of the lovely vibrant Jo Cox MP, who died of her injuries on a Birstall street without ever even reaching a hospital. It is strange that he did not remember this. And he declared on the night of the referendum that Remain had won, before a vote had been counted. Not much British backbone there.

* Nicola Sturgeon is not an idiot.

The sharp-suited image helps, the assertive Scottish accent helps, speaking in front of a lectern helps. She should have a word with Jeremy Corbyn, who gave his responses to the result standing like a limp lettuce in the street. This is not a good look for a leader in a world where image is mostly all that matters. Jeremy Corbyn is a decent man, but he is a decent man in the wrong job.

Referendums are ridiculous. It is like appointing a management team who then call in the consultants to make the big decisions because they are too frightened to do the tough stuff themselves.

* A referendum is expensive and all-consuming, it takes the focus off everything else. Nothing else on the national agenda has got a look in for weeks, including the NHS.

The way it should work is this: we elect a government based on its policies; it gets on with things. There should be no hand-holding referendums.

* Democracy is wasted on the people. I’m joking - sort of. But didn’t those pre-referendum warnings, about not using a pencil in case “they” rubbed out your cross, send a shiver down your spine? Our honourable, noble, beautiful democratic process, hard won through the pain and suffering, courage, intelligence and resilience of so many over the centuries, reduced to ridiculous tweets by people who were so new to the idea of using their vote that they actually believed such absurd nonsense. Most of what we have learned from this referendum has been more than a little depressing.

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