I’m sure your Facebook news feeds and Twitter timelines are full of comments about the EU Referendum. You’re probably sick to the back teeth of it. Maybe you’re frightened of this new future, or revelling in the glory of the vote going your way. Just maybe you’re one of those who voted Leave and now realise that the people who led you to that decision might have just deceived you. I’m not normally one write on anything political, it’s all a personal decision after all. But I’m not writing this for you, or to have a moan, or rally the troops. I’m writing this because I’m emotional.
I’ve been in tears since 5.34am. I’ve had about 3 hours sleep after refreshing the BBC News App repeatedly until 2am when I fell asleep with the phone on my chest. So perhaps today isn’t the best time to write down my thoughts on the result of the EU Referendum – or just maybe today is the perfect time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) about my initial feelings on the matter.
During my brief time at University I studied the enigmatically named “Culture Society and Communications (In Europe)” where I learned a lot about the EU. The World Wars had always been the area of history that intrigued me, and learning how the continent of Europe had gathered together after so many years of fighting and hatred, joined together in business to stand together for peace, was fascinating. And now, after being a part of the most successful peace project ever conducted, just over half the eligible electorate who bothered to turn up have decided this community is no longer welcome.
As you can probably tell from my above statement, I proudly voted Remain. I am not, and never have been, 100% pro-EU – I know there’s issues, and the concept of the Union has rather gone beyond the initial remit, and some lines have been blurred, but to leave seemed a childish response, akin to us giving our friends the middle finger and hiding in a corner alone because they wouldn’t do what we said they should.
The ship has sailed.
I could rattle on for hours about why I voted to stay in the EU, but that ship has rather sailed now, and we all find ourselves in a new, and scary, world. There’s an uncomfortable knotted feeling in my gut that isn’t going anywhere, and I worry for the future of the UK. I worry for my son, who has to live with the decision a great deal longer than the 65+ who voted overwhelming for the UK to leave.
The UK – which will cease to be when the Scots, quite rightly, vote for Independence. Northern Ireland too appear to want to distance themselves from the decision most England and Wales have taken to Leave. There’s even talks of London becoming an entity within itself, like Monaco or the Vatican City.
What upsets me the most is this: didn’t we fight back against people promoting fear of immigrants, and those who are different? Didn’t we stop that once already with a war that lead to the deaths of MILLIONS of people? And yet now, in our supposedly more enlightened times, we’ve just given credence and validation to people saying those EXACT same things? The posters bandied about by Nigel Farage should have been enough for the population to feel so disgusted by the Leave campaign to not then vote that way, but they didn’t. Is our country really that broken?
Perhaps I’ve been lucky to live in a bubble of friends and people I follow on Twitter who had already chosen to vote remain, or were suitably upset by those posters to find themselves turned off the Leave vote. Today, my Facebook feed and Twitter timeline are all filled with people angry, upset and ashamed, feeling less proud to be British, wanting to distance themselves from this decision.
I had no words…
When I checked my phone at 5.34am and saw the result, my heart sank. I had no words, I could barely take a breath. Where has the country I was so proud of gone? A world leader in multi-culturalism, proud to have moved on from the mistakes of our colonial past to become an inclusive, caring, country. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but what is? Today I don’t know where that country is. All I can see right now is BNP and UKIP revelling in their right-wing, nationalist pride.
The sensible voice in my head is screaming that Farage is not an elected MP, he has no real power when it comes to Westminster, but seeing his face gloating in the national press is unpleasant. The statements from Boris and Gove showed they were just as shell-shocked as the rest of us, but only now, they have to make some real decisions that aren’t based on the fictitious information they promoted in their campaigns. Farage has already made it clear that that “£350m to the NHS” factoid they based their campaign on is not true and is not likely to happen.
There are a million sides to this argument, but the nation has spoken. Now we all have to live with it. We must take each day as it goes, wait with baited breath to see what plan the Leave campaigners come up with, and hope. We always have hope.
Tomorrow, I intend to be calm and coherent. Tomorrow I will put my logical head on and strive to move forwards with positivity and level headedness. But today, I am going to be angry and sad. I’m going to moan on Twitter, and cuddle my son with tears in my eyes, and day dream about emigrating to Australia, or wondering if I can get an Irish passport as my great great Grandparents were from Dublin. Today I am going to be freely emotional about it all, before the grown up business of getting on with it all starts tomorrow.