Sadly, it was a case of 'us versus them' mentality

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox.

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox.


Sadly, it was a case of ‘us versus them’ mentality

As a centre-left voter, I am full of admiration for the way David Cameron embraced the 21st century of connectedness and advocated to remain in the EU. He did not succumb to xenophobic propaganda. Given England’s colonial history, discontent with immigration is paradoxical. Alas, its residents have  forfeited for themselves the benefits of mobility of labour and movement. The referendum was a case of “us versus them” mentality. By voting to leave, England effectively said: “Never mind the political ideal of economic and social union, ensuring a safer continent in the wake of two world wars. Never mind global concerns about a breakup of the eurozone, potentially triggering another GFC and increased unemployment”. Unfortunately, this is consistent with its colonial history; in short, a regard only for oneself. Mr Cameron’s consolation can only be that he is on the right side of history.

It could become cheaper to travel to Britain in the short term.

It could become cheaper to travel to Britain in the short term. Photo: New York Times

Geoff Hansen, St Kilda

A chance for the average person to say ‘no’

The leave vote demonstrates that when you give people in the UK the chance to have a referendum on how much they hate the establishment, they will take up the opportunity. The conventional wisdom of Westminster, both sides of Parliament, former prime ministers and even sports stars such as David Beckham was to remain, but the average Brit living far from the immense wealth in the City of London defied the elites. Perhaps the greatest winner is democracy. The ballot box has finally empowered them. 

James Perry, Middle Park

Cracks and divisions in British society

The Brexit debacle shows that referendums should not be held when early polling indicates a probable 50/50 split. It is pre-destined to be ruinously divisive. The demographics of the voting patterns did little but show up, and possibly rub salt into, the historical cracks and divisions in British society. Both of my offspring live in London and, along with multitudes of other young people, particularly in that city, were appalled by the result. Anyone who calls it a resounding success for democracy is deluded.

Geoff Ingram, Mordialloc

Freedom at last from Brussels’ bureaucrats

The UK will no longer be controlled by corporatist and crony capitalist bureaucrats in Brussels, with significant control in Berlin also. The meddlesome EU interferes in every aspect of the British economy and society, and not for the better. Given that Switzerland, Norway and Iceland prosper outside the EU in a trade-only relationship, claims that the UK could not survive outside the EU are nonsense. European governments should serve the national interest, not corporate interests.

Colin Douglas, St Kilda

Long-term implications to the ‘leave’ vote

Given Scotland’s overwhelming “remain” vote, it seems inevitable that it will have another vote and leave the UK. Only when English citizens need  a passport to get into Scotland while many  Europeans are waved through at the airport, will the Brexiters realise what they have done and what they have lost.

Tony Devereux, Nunawading

The winners: the rich who will get richer

Many say Brexit is a disaster. But for whom? Watch who profits as established political and economic relationships are unpicked and redesigned. Expect to see money flooding to capitalism’s hot-shot professional cadre: its corporate lawyers, financial and “communications” consultants and the like. Lots of money will be made out of this “misery” by the very rich, not the rest, no matter how they voted.

Jane Kenway, Elwood

Voters say ‘enough’

The Brexit vote gives vent to protests from ordinary people against decisions by governments and “expert advisers”, without regard for the effects on citizens. There has been an unquestioning acceptance in Western countries of economic rationalisation, which regards the population as economic units and exhibits a disregard for adverse consequences on people’s lives. Another cause of resentment  is globalisation which has killed off local industries and resulted in massive job losses. A major concern is the huge influx of immigrants from Eastern European countries. This also resulted in job losses for locals but, even more seriously, the importation of a criminal gangs involved in drug dealing, people smuggling and violence. This feeling of resentment against out-of-touch governments is spreading, especially among middle-aged and older voters.

Isabel Schofield, Mount Waverley

Call it what it is: racism

I watched television interviews with people who voted for the “leave” campaign and was amazed at the consistent reason they give – immigration. (This is despite the fact that about 400,000 British pensioners are living in France.) To be polite, I could say the Brexit vote was a redneck one. To be really honest, I would have to say it was racist.

Paddy Garritty, Williamstown

A republic beckons

The repercussions of this momentous occasion are still to play out, but the effect on Australia could be more than just economic. It is possible that one or more of the UK’s countries which want to stay in the EU will push for independence. Rumblings from Scotland about this have already hit the headlines. If that occurred, it could lead to a stronger republican push for Australia to go it alone as our constitutional ties to the UK become ties to who? England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Island?

Roan Plotz, Preston

Gradually it all soured

As a Scot living in Australia, I would say that initially things in Britain were fine. We liked Europe, we had the European Free Trade Association and we became a member of the European Economic Community. Cheap booze, ciggies and glamorous Ukrainians working in pubs. We liked all that.

Our relationship soured when the EEC became the political and monetary union, the EU. Inaction over the genocide in Yugoslavia and a generally held belief among the electorate that they were being talked down to, patronised and ignored by wealthy elites. My mum was going to vote “remain” until she saw Tony Blair wheeled out.

Simon Clegg, Donvale

Self-interest came first

I would have thought that after two world wars in which more than 100million people were killed, many more millions were injured or made homeless refugees and whole economies were shattered, that a united, peaceful and productive Europe would have been a good thing. So, I am thinking the Brexit mob have been a tad selfish.

Peter McNicol, Sandringham

Let’s vote again

Some Brits are calling for a second referendum because they do not like the result of the first one. Does that mean that if we don’t like the result of our election, we can have another go?

Rick Drewer, Gawler East, SA

Call for leadership

A warning to Malcolm Turnbull: not demonstrating leadership and governing by plebiscite has devastating implications. As British Prime Minister David Cameron has found, the UK debate sank to base arguments and hysteria on immigration and fear of refugees. Your unconvincing defence of a “mature debate” on marriage equality now appears even more fanciful, especially with opponents from your ruthless right-wing, Peter Dutton, Cory Bernardi et al.

Paul Harkins, Middle Park

Political opportunism

Both Malcolm and Bill Shorten have turned Brexit into an election issue here. Ridiculous. Maybe all candidates should turn the Age’s daily “Odd Spot” into an election issue. It would make as much sense.

Brien Blackshaw, Golden Square

Double standards

Has anyone seen one of Julia Gillard’s outfits lately? And how about her being an unmarried, childless woman? I have noticed a serious lack of reporting pertaining to the appearance and marital status of Bill Shorten and Malcolm Mr Turnbull. I wonder why that could be?

Ellen Ziegelaar, Woonona, NSW

Our vote, our choice

I find it hard to believe that the Catholic Church is still trying to dictate how Catholics should vote in this day and age, in this case anti-Greens (Saturday Age, 24/6). Way back in the 1960’s when I was teaching at Colac, we were told from the pulpit, well, in the Catholic church of course, that we had to vote for the Democratic Labor Party. At that stage, I got up and walked out, and never returned. It is very hard for me to imagine that a direction on how people should vote, or not vote, from the Catholic Church could have any relevance whatsoever in this day and age. 

Jan Laidlaw, Newtown

Making Medicare fairer

Your editorial described Medicare as “Australia’s celebrated and successful universal healthcare system” (The Age, 24/6). At least in mental health, it fails critical tests of being universal. As our published research has shown, if you live in a poorer part of a city or in a rural area, then compared to a well-off part of a major city, you are much less likely to get access to psychiatry or clinical psychology services funded by Medicare. 

It is not clear which party will take measures that address the unfairness. Under the Liberals, freezing rebates will not but the proposed strengthening of primary health networks just might. We would hope for a public discussion on how the system can be made fairer. We need a discussion that sets the bar higher than simply branding Medicare as safe with one party and in danger with the other.

Professor Graham Meadows, Dr Jo Enticott and Professor Brett Inder, Monash University

Misguided stereotypes

Rania Spooner’s article discusses the stigmatism of borderline personality disorder, even in psych units (Saturday Age, 24/6). It is a misunderstood and often misdiagnosed condition. My daughter suffered from it and was admitted to hospital many times after self-harming and drug overdoses. She heard voices in her head telling her to do these things but once in hospital, was not given the specialist treatment she required and was discharged way too soon every time. She took her own life by injecting a drug overdose.

I am pleased that at last someone like Professor Alan Fruzzetti has said “old assumptions and stereotypes – those of vengeful, attention-seeking individuals – were misguided”. We lost a beautiful person because of this.

Barbara Clowes, Queenscliff

Labor goes to the right

Sorry, Paul Keating (Sunday Age, 26/6). What exactly is progressive about Labor’s asylum seeker policy? It failed to put an end to mandatory detention under Kevin Rudd and has endorsed the heartless policies of the Coalition, even proposing the heinous “Malaysia Solution” under Julia Gillard. “Progressive” voters are left with no choice other than the “protest” party, the Greens. Labor no longer resembles what it did under your (or Bob Hawke’s or Gough Whitlam’s) leadership, following the Liberals happily to the right. You cannot bully constituents into remaining loyal. Better to advise “Albo” to be true to his conscience.

Louisa Pennell, Croydon South

A political stunt

Thank you, Michael Gordon (Forum, 25/6) for a balanced view of the CFA dispute. Turning a vexed complex situation into a political stunt diminishes public confidence in Malcolm Turnbull. In all public services that rely on paid staff and volunteers, legal responsibilities must be clearly defined to provide best and safest practice. Many CFA volunteers understand this and are comfortable working co-operatively to provide a vital community service.  Let us celebrate their work instead of using them for political point scoring. Daniel Andrews must sort out his own mess, knowing that the public is closely watching his relationship with the firefighters union.

Mary O’Callaghan, Ashburton

Slower, still slower

Australia’s internet speed has now dropped to the 60th fastest in the world, from the 30th fastest. When the NBN was launched, it was billed as the Snowy Mountains Scheme of our time. It seems like they did not build the pipes big enough.

Lachlan Mullins



Abbott says voters shouldn’t punish Turnbull for the leadership spill. Is he trying to topple him by using reverse psychology?

Alan Cotterell, Benalla


Three little words, “Germany welcomes refugees”. Goodbye, EU.

Peter Liston, Southbank

The world’s biggest dummy spit.

Elizabeth Long, Collingwood

Britannia doesn’t rule the waves any more, but she can rule herself again.

Lesley Black, Frankston

Little England exposed. What now for the other kingdoms?

Leo Redden, West Beach, SA

Australia should join the EU. There’s a vacancy – and it did let us into the Eurovision Song Contest.

Robbo Bennetts, St Andrews

So 48.1per cent voted to remain and 51.9per cent voted to leave. Hardly an overwhelming  majority.

Jen Gladstones, Heidelberg

Our new government should streamline money transfers so UK expats can send their remittances back to the mother country.

David Kerr, Geelong

I think the rest of the EU might have “ExitEnvy”.

Veronica Dingle, Brighton

It was the racists wot done it.

Scott Poynting, Newtown, NSW

What’s Turnbull’s “turn back” plan for unhappy Brits seeking refuge in “our” great white land?

Kerry Bergin, Surrey Hills

England, what next? Recolonise the Empire?

Les Anderson, Woodend

The vote is Britain’s new Dunkirk, only this time Europe doesn’t want, or need, them back.

Charles Drummond, Ocean Grove

Good luck to England. The end of the UK approaches as Scotland will align with Europe.

James Young, Mount Eliza

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