Brexit: When fear triumphs over reason
It was like hearing that someone had died. Except here, the death was of reason.
The percentage may have been close - 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent - but that difference adds up to more than a million people.
Deciding that the UK should leave the European Union is a win for propaganda.
A win for scare-mongering and distraction.
For small-mindedness and the forced nostalgia of the mythical "good old days".
Brexit had a catchy title but its effects go beyond a stock market collapse.
I was on the side of staying. I saw more benefits than drawbacks - such as European funding to revive cities like my old home Liverpool - and the freedom of movement across the continent to live and to work.
As the result came in, I pictured the end scene of Planet Of The Apes – Charlton Heston in full despair at the realisation that his home had been destroyed, pounding the ground with his fists and screaming "You maniacs!".
The result was that infuriating. That maddening.
I feel lucky that I'm in Singapore. In fact, I've been here so long - more than 15 years - that I was not allowed to vote in the referendum.
With this result, I've never felt more detached from my birth country.
Over recent years, I've felt ashamed by the braying of MPs in the House of Commons and the rise of the politicians more concerned with clever quips than serious discussion.
The very same ones who are happy to let the real issues of leaving Europe be overshadowed by the great immigration bogeyman.
And that's the sickening part - that people bought the threat of foreigners being responsible for all the nation's ills.
A compilation of one British paper's front pages' screaming headlines about the dangers of migrants did the rounds.
It was hard to separate the same anti-immigration rhetoric from the tragic murder of British MP Jo Cox last week.
All these point the UK down the dark path of open xenophobia.
It has always been an uneasy marriage.
Ever since the UK joined the EU, the European Parliament was also presented as interfering.
Bringing in laws that chiselled away at the enjoyment of British life. That led to people believing anything.
There were stories of petty bureaucracy banning straight bananas, or of sausages having to be renamed "emulsified high-fat offal tubes".
The problem with that last one is that it was from the TV comedy Yes, Minister. Yet it filtered into the common psyche as a fact.
These "facts" used to be the type heard from "a bloke down the pub". It seems that "bloke" was employed as the Leave campaign manager.
With Brexit, as with aspects of the US presidential election, correcting a myth with a fact is seen as elitist.
The Leave campaign targeted those worst hit by the recession and told them they knew who was to blame.
People want to rail against a bad guy, so why not foreigners? Both the Eurocrats and the migrants.
Why bother to think about how much Britain owes to immigration?
Never mind the fact that the name England is derived from the Angles, the Germanic people who settled on the island after the Romans left.
Even England's patron saint is Palestinian.
But it is so much easier to blame a person than a policy.
Maybe they felt the real issues of leaving the EU were too boring to present to the UK. Economics? Yawn.
So sex it up with some fear and the promise of freedom, somewhere over the rainbow and almost immediate better times for Britain.
The way it was presented, they may as well have said the UK will be guaranteed to get more sunshine, every summer will get you a tan and that The Beatles will reform.
One extraordinary promise was of funding the National Health Service – an institution millions of Brits care deeply about.
And that promise was so major it was plastered on the Leave campaign bus.
Well, this is awkward. It appeared to have been reneged on just moments after victory.
To those that may have voted because of that, the response is little better than saying "Oops".
This is the same side that came up with a poster campaign that mirrored Nazi propaganda.
And this is who voters felt were the best people to lead them out?
I knew the result would be close, but I thought progression would beat regression.
Is there a way back? I dread to think what is in store for the UK now, and in particular, my friends and their children who are still there.
As of yesterday, I wonder if it is a country I want to go back to.
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