It’s been a late night and an early morning. I hope my head is clear enough to have written something at least representative of what I think and vaguely lucid. As our PM, David Cameron, quits (in October), and we wonder who the hell will replace him…
1) I am very, very sad. This referendum has brought out the uglier side of humanity in this country. Some of things I have had said to me and seen said are nothing short of rabid, and from people I would not have expected to say such things 6 months ago. This is part of an email I received off a close family member last night after they had seen the last, incorrect polls:
Remain will win the referendum due to the “Remainers” not telling the truth.
Turkey will be allowed to join the EU and that will mean 10 million plus poor Turkey peoples emigrating to UK.
Your children will not have a very good education as the schools will be filled with Turkish and other Muslim children swamping our schools – the Muslims do not believe in contraception as we do as they want more Muslims to populate the world….
…you naturally want to reduce the amount you pay for your mortgage – I wish you well for you and your family. All people want to look after themselves and their families.BUT – now think of the the tens of millions of Turks who realize that if they move to UK they can earn more, have National Health, Education for their children, payments when they are unemployed, State Pension when they reach retirement age, and a host of other benefits. And the “Remain” group want and will allow all this to happen – how very sad for the UK that you and we were brought up in.
This actually made me quite upset, for a number of reasons. Such rhetoric would never have been used a year ago. Not even remotely.
2) We are moving towards a selfish individualism. It is the beginning of the end of international, cross-border political cooperation as we know it. This is what saddens me the most. I have been outward looking, thinking of what is best for Europe and the wider world in the long term. This crushes those ideals. At a time of global issues, when we need more than ever to work together, we are moving apart. We are no longer accountable. It’s what many want, but it is not the holy grail people think it is, at least as far as the world is concerned.
3) I am very angry that papers like the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, tissues of lies, have misinformed people so much, and been allowed to get away with it. Their official apologies for incorrect front page headlines have been tiny page 2 or 3 text boxes. I have had countless lies regurgitated to me as fact. These are disgusting publications.
4) Following on from the last point, it has amazed me how uncritical people are, and how they have no desire to check their facts or claims, and almost revel in not caring, in recognition that their gut feelings are more important than truth.
5) Scapegoating, Whilst immigration has been a legitimate concern when looking at it in a nuanced way, it has been harnessed for scapegoating. Cuts and austerity, and political ideology (think NHS), as failures of problems, have been assigned to immigrants in a way reminiscent of darker times. No, these problems are national, internal, and very political.
6) The good and great things about the EU were not communicated. The whole campaign started with an over-concentration on the economy and fears (as legitimate as they may be), and not selling people on the benefits, on workers’ rights, on the environment. Why was Caroline Lucas only wheeled out a day before the end? Why some of these wonderful voices like Sheila Hancock and Michael Heseltine, erudite communicators, not harnessed throughout?
7) Oxygen of credibility has now been given to horrible people and has validated nefarious opinions and ideologies. Yes, I’m talking about you, Nigel Farage, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling and others. Nigel Farage is now credible in the eyes of the electorate. This is a bad day for celebrating humanity. This is an open door for dark thoughts to reside in our national psyche. That a 78-year-old Remain leafleter can be punched in the face, that the stories I have heard about people and polling stations and nastiness, that distasteful behaviour can be rewarded with an election win…that this can happen makes me a little nauseous.
8) I fear, with good reason (as the present government have already tried to do this within the confines and safety net of the EU) that we will see a gradual erosion of workers’ rights and environmental legislation. It may be insidious; you may not know it is happening until it is gone; but I am confident that this is presently the height of human rights and environmental rights.
I could go on. I would normally congratulate a good win, well fought by opponents. This was not a good win, and not well fought by pretty much anyone.
I am still a European, still a member of humanity; I just feel a little like I have been put in a cage.