I tried not to write this. I really did. Who needs one more angry voice howling into the post-Brexit universe?
But I’m just so sad.
I’ve never been particularly ‘proud’ to be British or English. I don’t really understand that. We’re born randomly. We could have been born anywhere at any time. But we weren’t. We were born here, in a country of freedom that people couldn’t even imagine a few decades ago. We were born into a time of relative prosperity. Note the word RELATIVE.
Being poor in 2016 is shit. It’s not as shit as being poor in 1816. Or 1916.
When I was nine and we got our first dog I instinctively wanted a mixed breed. It’s better I reasoned. It has lots of bits of lots of other dogs in it. It makes it individual but with the traits of lots of other dogs. How can that not be a metric tonne better than a ‘pure’ bred dog that walks into walls because it’s from such a small gene pool it’s dumb as a rock?
I’ve always been vaguely glad I’m a quarter Scottish. I wouldn’t want to be all English. I wouldn’t want to be ALL anything.
So, what I guess I’m saying is that I’ve never really understood the nationalistic fervour that has cropped up at various points throughout my life. The odd football competition. When the Queen does something amazing like, er, gets a year older. Stuff like that. I’ve never felt part of it. I don’t understand how by an accident of birth people feel superior to others. I just don’t get it. I’ve always found it vaguely menacing.
I’ve never felt particularly proud, no. But I’ve also never felt ashamed. Until now.
Studying history taught me that people who really really wanted other people to get out of their country generally weren’t very nice people. But it’s OK. It’s history. Back then. Not now. It wouldn’t happen now. It couldn’t happen now.
When I was much younger and learning about the rise of the Third Reich, I remember when it dawned on me that the German people wanted Hitler. He didn’t win the Presidential election of 1932 but it was enough for him to be appointed Chancellor because lots and lots of people kept voting for his party, paving the way for the atrocities to come.
They chose it. They CHOSE it. How? And then I realised they were ordinary people. Ordinary people who felt desperate enough or believed in authority enough or just wanted a change from the struggles post WW1. They were sick of struggling for cash. They were sick of politicians. They were sick of the measures in place after the Great War. So they took a chance. They gambled and just look how much they lost.
But it’s OK. It wouldn’t happen again. It’s 2016, not 1933. We’ve learned so much.
But we haven’t have we? We HAVEN’T. Brexit has allowed the nationalistic racist minority a valid, sanctioned, VOTED FOR voice. Brexit has made it OK to start FB groups about ‘sending immigrants home’. It’s made it OK to tell a Polish kid he’ll ‘have to get out now’.
I get that not all Brexit voters are racist. Of course I do. I’m not an idiot. I know that out of the 17 million people who voted out, the nasty racist element is a minority. But voting for Brexit gave this nasty racist element so much more of a voice than ever before.
I understand that somehow people thought that the question: “Do you want to leave the EU?” meant “Are you really pissed off about not being able to get a seat at the doctors? Are you scared for your financial future? Do you think that outsiders are taking your resources away from you? Do you feel that you’re losing out to help people who don’t deserve it? Are you struggling to get by? Do you not have much money? Do you wish things were different? Do you hate the government? Do you think Cameron is a pie face moron who should go?”
I GET THAT. I UNDERSTAND that people are feeling marginalised. Disenchanted with government. Fed up with false promises. Well guess what? Leaving the EU has less than fuck all to do with ANY of that. Brexiters answered questions that weren’t even asked.
And still others fell for what was quite obvious utter bullshit peddled by a fucking moron who isn’t even an MP. And yet others saw a chance to vent their spleen. Their aggressive, small minded spleen on anyone who isn’t them.
When I voted Remain, I knew our country was already fucked. I knew that our government were corrupt lying assholes who have been systematically destroying anything I was proud of. The NHS, for example. I knew all that. I also knew that voting for anything Cameron wanted made me feel a bit sick.
But I answered the question.
Did I want to leave the EU? Did I want to leave something that was bigger and stronger and had more voices and therefore more chance of hope than our pitiful government? Did I want to leave something that upholds environmental measures that I don’t know our government will choose should we leave? Did I want to leave something that allows free movement of people from country to country? Did I want to leave something that has kept peace in Europe for a longer period of time than ever before?
In my lifetime I have watched wars safely removed from me. Iraq. Afghanistan. Europe was safe. We were, at least, together in Europe. Whatever happens with the Middle East, Europe is one. There is safety in numbers and safety in legally binding ‘red tape’ that stops countries going to war with each other.
Did I want to leave that? For a future that was clearly built on total bullshit? For financial insecurity the like of which we’ve never seen? For a future where the Far Right in Russia and France would be delighted with this choice? For a future ratified by fucking DONALD TRUMP?
No. HELL NO.
When you’re heartbroken there’s always the small flicker inside you. Even if it’s deep inside you. You’ll meet someone else. There’s a chance you’ll find someone else and fall in love again. Plenty more fish in the sea, right?
Not this time.
I am so sad for the country that I grew up in. I am so sad for those who believed they were doing the right thing. I am just so sad.
I hope very much that history won’t look back at this vote, at this time, at this decision and ask: “Why didn’t they stop it? How could they just watch this happen?”
I really hope I’m being over emotional and dramatic and am misunderstanding what could happen now. I hope I’m wrong. And I hope that I can wake up one day soon and feel less emotional and more pragmatic. I hope that writing this will help me do this. I hope all of our futures are not as bleak as they seem right now.