You know you’re getting old when the hangover from the night before lasts the rest of your life.
Like the death of Princess Diana, September 11th and Brian Harvey running himself over after eating three baked potatoes today is a day we will always remember. A day where a country was split down the, well, nearly split down the middle. There will be a time to rebuild, to reassess and reconvene but for now the crushing disappointment of today's result has overtaken that mindset.
A referendum on the EU is not a thing to judge with instant scorn, it’s a chance for us to reassess what our role within the EU is and an opportunity to highlight both the good and bad points of being a member of it. On both sides of the argument the case has been made that the EU isn’t without its imperfections, however we’ve allowed a genuine debate to be hijacked by a rhetoric based on fear, deceit and examples of outright racism.
Those most affected by this referendum are of course the ones who voted most unanimously against it, the young. Trawling through the pages upon pages of Tweets and Facebook statuses one statement stood out to me, one that read “the ‘foreigners’ and immigrants in this country have never affected the opportunities and job prospects I have as much as the ageing community has.” What a twisted irony, an older generation voting to protect themselves against the ‘perils’ of immigration becoming a bigger burden to this country than what they fear the most.
Our greatest disappointment has not been leaving the EU, something that would be biased of me to say as a strong remainer, but our biggest failure lies in the fact that we allowed this sort of rhetoric to overwhelmingly prevail.
We’ve cut ourselves off from unlimited opportunities and great potential based on prejudice. We’ve been given an opportunity to definitely give less with the potential to take more, something we’ve welcomed as a development to our society. We’ve allowed an unelected figure in Nigel Farage to become a genuine voice for change in this country, by default allowing his views to embed themselves in our way of life.
We’ve allowed a ‘vote for democracy’ to be decided in a most undemocratic way. We felt admiration towards ourselves as Londoners when we failed to certify racism as a political tactic during the London mayoral election, yet have allowed ourselves as Brits to be consumed by it. In the eyes of the world we have rejected unity when we need it most to act selfishly in our own interests under the guise of patriotism. ‘We want our country back’ has prevailed and today, that country’s identity is uglier, nastier and less inclusive than yesterdays.
We've voted for an unachievable vision of Britain that never existed. We took on board a campaign rife with an 'us vs them' viewpoint which, while rightfully derided by so many, has now become a part of us. We show solidarity in hardships when it pulls on our moral heartstrings but now we’ve demonstrated that our solidarity is only skin deep. Europe showed us great and inspiring displays of unification in the lead up to this referendum, we've now turned our backs on that. Well, except you Scotland…
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