It’s a terrible feeling isn’t it, when you do something, and you were sure it was a good idea, and that it would all turn out fine, and then, well, it all goes horribly wrong. You look round at the situation, who else can I blame? There must be someone who talked me into this, they’re the ones to point the finger at! But then, slowly, eventually, it suddenly dawns on you that it was your decision, that you were the one who decided to do this, that everyone told you it was a silly idea but you went and did it anyway and you eventually have to admit that dad was right when he says “you’ve only got yourself to blame”. And you stare down at your ice cream on the floor because you tried to skateboard with it to impress the other kids.
Apropos of nothing, a new poll by YouGov, which revealed that 69% of Brits believe that Brexit is going badly and only 16% think it is going well, has discovered that people who voted Leave are blaming everyone but themselves for the unfolding situation whereby, with nine months until the UK is due to leave the European Union, it has agreed virtually nothing of any substance with the EU and, more to the point, is still arguing with itself over what it actually wants any future relationship with Europe to look like.
The poll shows, unsurprisingly, that the finger of blame is being pointed at different factions depending on whether someone voted Leave or Remain.
Both ‘sides’ who believe it is going badly have the government as the most to blame, with 77% of Remainers citing them as a factor and 58% of Leavers. However - again, unsurprisingly - Leavers blame the EU just as much as the government, with 58% of Leavers believing them to be at fault, compared to just 25% of Remainers.
Meanwhile, each side blames the politicians on the other side of debate - 59% of Leavers, but only 15% of Remainers blame anti-Brexit politicians like Chuka Umunna for the poor progress, while 53% of Remainers, but only 11% of Leavers blame pro-Brexit politicians like Michael Gove.
A third of both sides blame the media - at least that’s one thing they agree on - while each side is studiously avoiding self-blame. Only 2% of Leave voters blame themselves, while at least slightly more - 6% - of Remain voters are taking responsibility, while 42% of Leavers blame the Remainers, and 39% vice-versa.
It all adds up to almost perfect picture of each side blaming the other, Remainers supporting the EU and Leavers blaming it, while taking no responsibility whatsoever for their own actions. Who would have guessed, eh?
Meanwhile, 26% of Leavers believe that Brexit is going well, with only 6% of Remainers - yet again, unsurprising, seeing as you’re hardly likely to think any version of leaving the EU would be a good result.
Asked who they would blame if Brexit turned out badly in the end, Leave voters who currently think it is going well give very similar answers to their Brexit-backing brethren who think it is going badly, with one exception: they are far less likely to blame the government.
While fully 58% of Leave voters who think Brexit is going badly blame the government, only 18% of those Leave voters that think it is going well think the government would be to blame if it ended up going badly.
In a way, this result makes sense: if you believe that the government is currently doing a good job, then any failure at the end stage will surely be the fault of something else instead.
The entire poll makes for pretty depressing reading: most people think Brexit is going wrong, but everyone thinks it’s the other side’s fault.
And from a referendum result which was essentially half and half, that means the political impasse is unlikely to end any time soon.