Last Regrexit To Brooklyn
Ever seen 'The Rock'? Where Ed Harris plays a disillusioned former US Army Colonel who, pushed too far by the indifference from the government and his army superiors to the losses his men have endured, employees a crack team to take over Alcatraz Island, holding dozens of tourists hostage for ransom? Yeah, it's a load of stupid, escapist fun isn't it?
Remember the scene where a load of marines are slaughtered by his team attempting a rescue mission? "I didn't want this, God I didn't want this," he mumbles mournfully. Well, I was, strangely enough, reminded of this scene last Friday morning when a phenomenon, quickly termed 'Regrexit', swept the nation, among many people who had voted, successfully, for Britain to leave the European Union, yet woken up the next day and asked themselves 'what have I done?'.
Clearly, the majority of Brexit voters did so with conviction, and woke up celebrating on Friday morning. And fair enough. It was the result I was expecting yet dreading, but they got what they wanted. That's democracy, someone wins, someone loses.
But the not insignificant numbers of people who instantly regretted what they had done fascinated me.
One common theme that seemed to emerge was that, for too long, people had simply felt they were being ignored, that their voice wasn't being heard (and they were undoubtedly right to feel this way), and that voting Leave had been their way of 'sticking it to the man', of getting one over on those in power for once. But quickly, a lot of these people realised this was a misguided revenge, one that simply left them feeling bad about themselves. Kind of the equivalent of having a twat of a boss who pushes you around, makes you work long hours, and never listens to your ideas or concerns, and deciding to get one over on him by wanking over pictures of his fit wife. Yes, at the time it may have felt thrilling in an oddly unquantifiable way, but the initial rush of malevolent euphoria was instantly followed by a feeling of regret, shame and a sense of 'surely I'm better than this'.
The inevitable spike in hate crimes has certainly left a lot of these voters feeling tarnished, guilty by association. Plenty of them didn't vote because they're racist or xenophobic, and the knowledge of friends or colleagues being abused in the aftermath of the result left them feeling like they'd picked the wrong side.
Unfortunately, like Harris' General Hummel, it's now too late to turn back. The damage has now been done.