To begin this blog post, I would like to take a moment to sit and collect my thoughts. I have many motives for writing this post and inevitably, a lot of my rationale behind this will be fuelled by my sentiments, my own knowledge and my general feeling about the outcome of the EU referendum- all of which cannot, I am afraid, be contained from seeping into the pitch and tenor of this post. I think it goes without saying that I am writing this post because I, along with 48% of the population (plus perhaps even some of the 28% ‘unknown’ inbetweeners), remain deeply dissatisfied with the 52%’s decision to leave the EU.
Amongst all the folly of videos placed on platforms such as the LAD Bible, where individuals stated that they voted to leave because they didn’t want to have to watch the Euro Cup next time round or wanted free-range eggs from their local farmer; interviews by news channels revealing that certain individuals didn’t think their vote would count, and from my own personal experience of talking to individuals who voted leave based on falsified propaganda (I refer to the infamous £350M statistic here), I feel sincerely disillusioned and sadden that something as important and life-changing was taken by some, so lightly.
It is also quite disconcerting to see the response that the EU referendum has inspired. For those who have made their decision based on the issue of immigration alone have completely and utterly missed the point of the referendum. Reported acts of open racism and discrimination have taken central stage along side the continuous streams of prophecies for the UK’s future. I can only see this embolden lack of tolerance and estrangement as a sprouting stem from the foundations of ignorance and inwards looking mentality. It comes as no surprise to me at all that the majority of the population who voted out was the older generation. These are times of change and I can thankfully say that the younger generation (on the whole) has more of an awareness of socio-political ties, the responsibilities we have not just to our most intimate ones but on a larger scale to one and each other- familiar and stranger alike. I can only attribute this myopic outlook to not knowing anything other than either discord and disharmony or the ‘sovereignty’ of capitalism. Perhaps my humanitarian ideologies have no place amongst the calculated figures and statistics of politics, the fear mongering nature of capitalism or the imbued mistrust of ‘other’ in the minds of the more patriarchal citizens.
I do not and cannot believe for one second that an institution, which has always sought to promote peace and stability to a war-torn Europe for over the last 70 years, is one that we should be turning our backs on. Unfortunately, the increasing economic insecurities caused by centralised governments’ budget cuts affects the weakest, less educated, and more vulnerable portion of the population, providing the fertile grounds for the birth of a divisional politics. It is precisely this type of politics that leads way to resentment, refusing to accept the blame for its own shortcomings and instead redirecting the culpability on an external party; immigrants. I believe for those who now perceive this referendum as a victory will be sobered in the years to come, when we finally have to sit down in front of steady daylight, re-examine ourselves with no one else to censure, and come to the stake-fully painful realisation that we, as a nation, have plentiful internal problems that cannot be whisked away with the rejection of globalisation.
That said, I am someone who has always believed that everything happens for a reason. Perhaps this metus hostilis is what has been preventing the UK from truly coming face to face with its appalling legalisation and equally questionable politicians. Call me a soppy romantic, but I honestly thinking that attending university in Scotland was not just pure chance. I have been so fortunate to be refreshed with its breath-taking landscapes, smiling coasts, friendly people, and embracing ethics. More than anything, a melancholy settles in my heart to know that this referendum has ruptured ties not only with the European countries, but more so the already fragile pledge of unity that was binding the UK together. I can only imagine how those (Scottish) individuals who voted for their own independence and were denied, must bear now the wound of being robbed of their right to remain in the EU.
I know that I am writing this post so shortly after the referendum and that a lot of my feelings imbibed in this post will demonstrate remnants of my anger, which over the time will morph and change. I have chosen to write this now however more than anything as a piece of self-reflection for myself, so that when the time comes to assess whether this referendum took the right direction, I can look back at these fears and decipher whether they were warranted and necessary as I first thought. We can only wait and see now.
On a more serious note, the words of Churchill truly resonate with me; words of hope, promise, and comfort, which for me, remain eternal:
“We hope to reach again a Europe united, but purged of the slavery of ancient, classical times– a Europe in which men will be proud to say, ‘I am a European’. We hope to see a Europe were men of every country will think as much of being a European as of belonging to their native land, and that without losing any part of their love or loyalty to their birthplace. We hope wherever they go in this wide domain, to which we set no limits in the European continent, they will truly feel ‘Here I am at home. I am a citizen of this country too.”