So it’s done, the people have been to the ballots, got their permanent marker pens out and shoved a big fat cross over the ‘Leave the European Union’ box. So now we’re drifting out of the EU like possible future PM Boris on a zip-wire (does that not leave a sour taste in anyone else’s mouth?). Whatever you voted, at least you did and that’s democracy in action.
There will be many articles and posts regarding the uncertainty of the United Kingdom so there’s no need for another one. This isn’t about what you voted for, what’s done is done and as a ‘remainer’ I know we have to get over it.
I’d much rather talk about one issue I’ve noticed over the past day.
For me personally, I’ve noticed a huge divide to the point of hatred from both sides of the fence. We are quite possibly seeing the end of the United Kingdom with a second Scottish Independence Referendum on the cards and a possible unification between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. Do we really need to be hating ‘leavers’ and ‘remainers’ due to having an opinion as well?
The tension everywhere I went yesterday was silently deadly, as if everyone was trying to work out who secretly farted and getting them to own up by eyeballing them. Nobody wanted to talk about it, yet everybody wanted to talk about it simultaneously. Never in my life have I felt so awkward in public places, it was basically an episode of The Office in terms of unsettling cringe.
I’ve seen people argue furiously and it’s fantastic that people are so engaged in something as important as this as opposed to being completely disenfranchised like the minority. One thing I don’t agree with however, is people turning that passion into hate or spite. Everyone and their Nan is suddenly an economics expert who moonlights as a politician by night and you know what? That’s great, sure a lot will be wrong in what they say but they’re showing an interest which is what matters. Then there are people who are making Facebook statuses and tweets about if any of their friends oppose their view then their friendship is now over or threatening people on the streets.
Truth be told, a large majority of people will be talking about something else in a couple of days (I for one can’t wait for Game of Thrones as well!) and then the inevitable jokes will come about how people have ‘gotten over it pretty quickly’ or ‘clearly don’t care enough’. So don’t let them. If you agree with the decision or not to leave the EU do some research and humanely talk about possible alternatives that could hypothetically work well or don’t work at all. Debating is healthy, arguing is not.
We’ve made our bed now, it’s time to grab your PJ’s and lie in it. For example, I think a good solution here would be a similar situation to Norway with a trade deal like the European Free Trade Association, or perhaps focus more on building relationships with the Commonwealth which could even lead to Freedom of Movement within these countries.
Right now we’re not so much a United Kingdom as a bouncy castle ready to burst. We all need to focus on what we’ve got and how to approach it on a personal level. Whether that involves jumping ship and leaving or powering through and helping out where you can, it’s your decision. Just don’t keep arguing with Fred from down the road about the economy because you might as well be smacking your head against a wall.