Life

The Bloody Brexit

June 27, 2016
bloody brexit

I’m on holiday. And I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing with the whole Brexit fandango underway (and let’s be honest, it’s been a massive effing fandango) but it’s most definitely brought things home for me, even when away.

Let’s face it: the fact we have a democratic society is a massively amazing thing that should not be sniffed at. I religiously use my vote because other women fought so hard for me to have it, and though I’m not the most politically-minded person in the world I will continue to do so until I die.

HOWEVER. How democratic is a referendum that is built on lies and mud slinging? A referendum where the facts weren’t readily available to the people making the decision? Where, it seems, the facts weren’t even clear to the people leading the campaigns?

The coverage from our media stunk during the campaigns, and it’s almost worse after. You can’t explicitly tell your readers how to vote, as per The Sun (MAKE BRITAIN GREAT AGAIN! VOTE OUT!), and then inform them of how their pockets will be short-changed a week after. It is really horrific.

The same to our politicians. If you lied to get into a job you’d be made to leave it when you were found out, so why is this any different? And this is on both sides here – there was a lot of misinformation flying around.

The way I feel about voting is that I do it for the greater good. I do it not just in consideration of my own life, but the effect that it will have on people like me: single mums, young people who’ve already survived through one recession, friends who have settled here from other countries, friends from here who’ve made lives in EU countries. I make those decisions based on discussions and impartial research.

And that is why I voted in. I believe wholeheartedly for the future of our young people (MY young people, too) that a united Europe is better. I think separating ourselves from our political and economic continent will do more harm than good (hey, Sterling falling by 10%, anyone?!) and I can’t understand the rationale behind leaving.

I LOVE the fact we are able to be citizens of the world. I think it’s magnificent that I can hop on a train in Milton Keynes and be painlessly in France within two hours. Or I can scan my EU passport and whizz out to Barcelona in a heartbeat.

The Xenephobia, the ‘make Britain great again’, the racism and exclusiveness – I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of our magnificent, booming, characteristic continent, and wider world?

bloody brexit

As I said, I cherish our democratic right to a vote. And as with any election I respect one’s right to hold an opposite and well-researched point of view. But only if that’s what your vote is based on:  the respect wanes when that point of view is borne of discrimination, radical views and mis-information, which so much of this referendum has been. Put plainly: if your vote was based on some misplaced right-wing view of immigration or a skewed notion of ‘taking back Great Britain’ then nah, I’m not buying it.

Two months ago, as someone who is incredibly proud of their country and had not investigated Brexit properly, it would have been my first reaction to vote out, to vote for sovereignty: so I totally get it. If this was a vote for our Royal Family I would have been all over it – I love the history and heritage they lend to our society.

But then I researched and read, looked at impartial predictions, got to grips with exactly a Brexit would mean for us. And it terrified me. About as much as I’m terrified, now.

I write this from a patio in Greece where I’m drinking Greek wine, sipping Greek water, watching my kids frolic on Greek grass. I’m reflecting on the experiences I’ve had in this country over the last ten years; it’s given me a lot of piece, love and family. It distresses me to wonder if my kids will have these same opportunities to travel, work, and live lives that are outside of British boundaries.

I’m mourning the things this referendum has taken away from our country – the decency and love for our EU neighbours – though perhaps that was never there in the first place?

I worry what this referendum means for the future of love and happiness in our country, and when we’re travelling in what effectively feels like a rudderless ship, what it means for our politics and economy. In the short term I worry that my hotel bill this week has suddenly grown by 10%, the cost of my trip to visit my friend in the States next month, the same.

Our relationship with the EU needed to change, there was no doubt in that. But oh, really like this?

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9 Comments

  • Reply Annie June 27, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Not sure if my comment worked last time as was on mobile, posting again!

    I appreciate this ‘The way I feel about voting is that I do it for the greater good. I do it not just in consideration of my own life’ and in reference to it I’d implore you to read these articles –

    https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/eu-referendum-many-dont-care-what-happens-next-they-just-wanted-change

    https://medium.com/@matthewclifford/brexit-and-whats-next-a-personal-perspective-b4c1a0f7e42a#.gl1z9q39q

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/brexit-a-very-british-revolution-1466800383?mod=e2tw

    A huge proportion of the working class voted for this and they did so because they’ve been ignored and felt unrepresented for years, a decade even.

    I’d hope that we’d now listen to them. Rather than calling them ‘misled’ ‘racist’ ‘xenophobic.’ We’re incredibly privileged and benefit hugely from the European Union and globalisation but we have to understand that there are loses in a globalised world. These are people who have insecure jobs, zero hour contracts and suppressed wages. It’s been utterly disgraceful the disdain shown to them by middle class people (and yes I’m middle class) on social media since the result.

    Nows the time to listen, rather than berate.

  • Reply sarie June 28, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    I totally agree 100% with everything you get. In all the years (10!) that I have been living in Barcelona I have always felt part of a wider world than my little island. I have seen a shift over the past few years when going back home, to a mentality of this weird disneyland nostalgia for the “good old days” and Britain being an empire. Its such an odd feeling to view it from far away. I feel so incredibly lucky to work, live and use a brilliant health care system here that has patched me up on more than a number of occasions and scared that I am going to be personally affected by this. Not only that I think it is such an opportunity for our future to be connected and enriched with all the different cultures that Europe has in it.

  • Reply trevorcapon47 July 3, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Mmmmmmm………..
    I voted out.
    We asked time and again for reform from the EU and we got – nothing.
    We are a 1.6 TRILLION dollar economy, do you really think we cannot organise competitive trade deal with whoever we choose and not have some unelected Bulgarian tell us what we can do and with whom ? As for the misinformation, both sides play that game and its up to you to do your own analysis and make your decision based on whatever lights guide you. I for one went with aspiration and belief in my country over fear and intimidation. I note that the sky has yet to fall in, you can still buy a BigMac and the smart guys in the city are looking at way to make $$$ out of this event.
    The migration issue was never the critical factor, it was always about self determination and the primacy of Britain.
    We have about 2-3 million EU migrants in the UK and nobody on either side is suggesting tossing them out because thankfully our political masters know what the response would be.

    • Reply Blue July 18, 2016 at 3:25 am

      Super jazzed about getting that kn-ohoww.

  • Reply Sarah Leonard July 3, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly Alice. Ultimately I want us to be an outward looking country, working in partnership with our neighbours. I don’t like the feeling of ‘us v them’ that seems to be banded about lately. I want my daughter to grow up in a country where differences are celebrated. Let’s hope that whatever happens next, we can play a positive role in the future of Europe.

    • Reply alice July 18, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      Amen, Sarah. Differences are what make life interesting, what makes our world go round! x

  • Reply Pen July 18, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Hi Alice,

    I voted remain and am still recovering from my post Brexit depression. I just can’t see any real logical reasons why anyone would vote leave. For me the arguments are either a) lies b) just don’t stack up or are c) xenophobia. I even stopped seeing a tinder date who id been seeing for the last 3 months or because I found out he voted leave. I am genuinely fearful and disappointed about our Brexit future. Let’s hope it is not as bad as early indications might suggest. Pen x

    • Reply alice July 18, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      I’m glad it’s not just me who has fallen out with people over the way they voted! It’s such an intrinsic part of one’s belief system that I just can’t imagine getting along in a romantic sense with anyone who voted out.

      I’m still feeling the affects too. Fingers crossed the cloud will lift soon x

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