Opinion: UK polling day brings an end to three years of bickering and lying

I need to start by saying that I’m probably more engaged in the world of politics than your average person. I’ve had to be in order to do my job properly.

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The contest pits Conservative PM Boris Johnson against the Jeremy Corbyn led Labour party. Source: Breakfast

It’s a habit. One I’ve not been able to break. But in the three years I’ve lived in the UK I have been more of an observer than anything else, partly because my platform has changed and partly because the argument hasn’t been mine to have.

A fair bit has happened in those three years, but nothing that’s felt like its hung so heavily over a country like Brexit has.

I arrived six weeks after 52 per cent of voters decided to break away from the EU.

I was taken by the confusion around the vote when I first got here.

I felt, as an outsider looking in, and someone not eligible to vote on Brexit, but who would be living with the decision, that there was a frustrating sense that people had been tricked into signing up to something they didn’t know much about.

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A remain faction was already building. They believed that the campaign had been led by two back street salesmen who would say anything to get the deal done.

Those disgruntled Remainers started off reasonably quietly and while they've become a lot louder over time there's always been a feeling that no one has really been listening. It’s just been noise and nothing much has changed as a result.

There are plenty of people who voted out and still want out. Is it the stiff upper lip that’s so frequently associated with the English? An honouring of the decision or is it just that they want it all to be over?

Do they know that it's been proven that they've been lied to? Have they just accepted that this is what politics in 2019 looks like?

So what will all this to'ing and fro'ing over the last 36 months look like at the end of today?

Three years on from the first vote. Three years of squabbling. Repetitive, mostly unproductive squabbling.

Three years of personal attacks. Three years of fake news, fact checking and skewed social media campaigns. Three years of “Get the deal done”. Three years of “Let the people decide (again)”.

Three years where a relationship we are told, by some, is worth nothing to Britain has absolutely dominated everything that happens in Britain.

Three years where the focus that should have been on healthcare, mental health, education, security and equality has instead been on staying or leaving.

I get asked about how the UK differs to home a lot. And I often wonder how this situation would have been tackled in our somewhat quieter political scene.

We don’t tend to go as hard at each other, in the Beehive or outside of it. Voting is a lot more private. Political endorsements don’t really feature. And you certainly wouldn’t have headlines, on voting day, on the front of one of the country’s biggest papers urging you to vote for Boris.

Or people turning up at your door to offer you a ride to your nearest polling station.

Has it always been like this over here? I know in some cases the rules are the rules but it feels like this sudden avalanche of personal pledges have come from a place of real desperation.

Never have I seen so much publicity about having your say. Never have I seen so many people of power or influence showing their hand - declaring who they will be voting for and encouraging those who follow them to do just that.

Never have I seen so much engagement, constructive or otherwise.

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Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said that a “new poison” had taken root in the British Labour Party. Source: Breakfast

I filled up my car up at the local petrol station this morning. The woman behind the counter was moaning, perhaps light-heartedly, to the man standing in front of me about her retirement being so far away.

"The Government have moved my retirement back seven years. They should have just bought us in line with men, not pulled it out further", she said.

He nervously laughed and left.

I went to pay.

"You'll never get to retire if it keeps going like it is," she said.

I smiled.

"Yes, but all that could change later today," I said.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had initially been opposed to PM Boris Johnson's idea, but that has now changed. Source: Breakfast

"Yes, yes, I know it means I probably should have voted Labour but I voted for Boris anyway,” she said.

“Because he's the only one who will sort it, the foreign people coming, you call them and you can't understand them on the phone, and they don't care, you know, they just want to line their pockets and take it all back with them".

I wanted to say so much in response.

"Well isn't it a good thing we're all allowed our own opinion then," I replied.

Because there seems to be an understanding in this current British political environment that if you can't dazzle them with detail, then baffle them with bullshit.

Jannah Robinson is a former 1 NEWS and Breakfast senior producer who now lectures in broadcast journalism at Nottingham Trent University in the UK.