I usually don’t blog about political issues, but I feel I need to get this out there.
I was raised to believe some vital priorities about care:
Firstly, that I should be compassionate and and attentive to the plight and suffering of others, and try to make meaningful positive change to improve their lives.
Secondly, that I cannot care for others before my own fundamentally basic needs are met, as I would not be useful or effective in solving any problems if I am deficient.
Ultimately this holds that the strong should use strength to help those weaker than them, and that this is the right, honourable and moral thing to do.
So, where then does this fit with the recent ‘Brexit’ vote of the UK to leave the EU?
What I see is a vote of self preservation and desire for self-determination, not a vote of fear and xenophobia. A vote to clean up house, and focus on internal policy and health care issues, not to keep people out and stem any tide of refugees or immigrants. I am an immigrant myself.
So what are the numbers:
52% Brexit to 48% Bremain as overall vote
53% Brexit to 47% Bremain for England and Wales
38% Brexit to 62% Bremain in Scotland
44% Brexit to 56% Bremain in Northern Ireland
4% Brexit to 96% Bremain in Gibraltar
Still, in the aftermath of the decision to leave the EU, the prime minister announcing his resignation, and the assurance from all involved that this is not about being any less European, I still continue to see shots fired between the Brexit/Bremain groups. If I’m honest, I have mostly seen this from Bremain supporters, and this is not very surprising.
Just looking at the age groups that voted, it is clear to see that there is a divide between younger and older voters, showing the clear curve that mostly younger voters voted Bremain, older voters voting Brexit.
This says a lot to me, like if more young voters actually voted then this could have been very different. Instead they chose apathy, and that is not an excuse in my opinion. It is also the responsibility of young people to encourage other young people to vote, rather than older people and politicians doing it. More importantly it is my own experience in the aftermath of my own family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances that concerns me the most. This is from personal interactions and also observations of reactions on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
I have personally observed a lot of negativity from Bremain toward Brexit voters, ranging through a number of issues such as:
-Straightforward insults and name-calling, that Brexit voters are “idiots”, etc.
-Mocking and taunting towards Brexit voters, with a destinct ‘us-vs-them’ tone.
-Calls that young people 16-17 should be able to vote.
-Calls that “old people” should not be able to vote.
-Threats and intentions to sign a second EU referendum in the UK.
Still, I have seen relative silence and a distinctly small amount of gloating or showboating by the Brexit voters and political representatives. If I’m honest, it’s this that represents truly British culture to me, to maintain a stiff upper lip in the face of adversity, and regardless of this I find it noteworthy. I have also noted that most of this negativity is from younger people, and it concerns me that youth culture may be encouraging this kind of behaviour, that people feel it is acceptable to publicly scorn others on their views. This is after we have made such progress with many diverse equality issues such as LGBT rights, among many others that I wont list here.
The fact remains that the majority have spoken, and it is more damaging for all of us to continue to bicker and flip-flop on far-reaching decisions like this. It is my hope that we can come together, as a nation, to capitalise and benefit on the unique opportunity that has been presented to us. We can shape our own country and lives for the better, by having the freedom to determine our own future and destiny.
It is without a doubt a frighteningly risky proposition, and one that requires us to question ourselves, and each other, of the integrity and stamina we each have to make this work. Still, I feel it is a endeavour worth following.
I want the UK to continue to be the multicultural and innovation capital of the world. I also want the UK to fix the broken and failing systems that we know should not be failing so, like the NHS. I want us to simplify and be transparent, as that in my experience is the best way to scale successfully, rather than obscure and muddle the task ahead of us with contempt.
To be democratic.