It’s been almost three weeks since the nation voted on our fate in the EU referendum and the results showed nothing short of a big old crack down the middle of Britain.
As a young professional living in London I am willing to admit my naivety in not expecting the Leave campaign to actually win. To my millennial mind it made zero sense; it was fronted by the farcical Nigel Farage, supported by pantomime villain Donald Trump and opposed by just about anyone most of my generation would deem respectable. Or so I thought.
The biggest shock for me since the result (aside from revolving shit-show that is going down at Westminster) is that I am completely removed from the rest of the country residing outside of the M25, and I hate that. I’ve become Londonised. I’ve lost my roots, and it took all of the English countryside yelling ‘Out, Out, Out’ to regain my attention.
I think it’s fair to say that the deluge of information that has been released since the referendum has made many reconsider their decision, or feel misinformed and underrepresented on both sides of the campaign
A trip back home to the family in rural Essex post-Brexit (so bored of that word) and a couple of out-of-character political conversations amplified my feeling of disconnect from my working class background and forced me to consider that perhaps the issue wasn’t as black and white as I had at first thought.
My concerns with leaving the European Union (loss of international job opportunities, strain on higher education, the NHS, financial uncertainty and more) were inconsequential to those who were instead fighting for more autonomy for the British public over a faceless law-maker on the continent, and a fairer deal for farmers and business-owners throughout the country.
Whilst I stick by my vote for the remain camp, I think it’s fair to say that the deluge of information that has been released since the referendum has made many reconsider their decision, or feel misinformed and underrepresented on both sides of the campaign. It was impossible to forecast the financial fall-out of the Leave vote, but the media decided to barely cover it at all pre-vote, focusing instead on scare tactics such as mass-migration, unemployment and ridiculous, cringe-inducing flotillas on the Thames.
Now, a line has been drawn down the country, dividing those who feel like ‘global citizens’ and those who cherish their heritage, with the media etching away until it forms a scar, and it shouldn’t be that way. I am both. I feel English, I love working and living with international people and I respect everyone’s right to love their own country as well as wherever they choose to live. But instead we are being flooded with interviews with people who voted because they hate that their towns are full of Polish people (misrepresenting entire counties as racist and uneducated), or whiney Londoners protesting the result in marches throughout the capital (which feels pretty undemocratic to me, you can’t keep re-voting until you get the result you want).
The decision has now been made, and as we watch the rotation of MP’s going in and out of the Houses of Parliament (like the Generation Game conveyor belt but really, really shit)
And all this is doing is driving the wedge deeper, forcing anyone who is young and wants to travel and work in a global corporation to feel like they have to go to the city, that there are no opportunities for them in the fringes of the UK. Or making those settled into their homes and neighbourhood fear diversity, and see any introduction of new or alternative culture as a threat to their way of life. One narrative that’s being strongly encouraged is that old people have voted in fear and in doing so have ruined the future for generations to come, which is a fantastic way to isolate thousands of people who already feel removed and forgotten by society on a day-to-day basis. Entire Christmas ad campaigns revolved around destroying this divide but the press are bringing it right back to the fore for the sake of an easy story.
Well it’s not that easy. Not every old person voted to leave and not every Londoner wanted to remain. The decision has now been made, and as we watch the rotation of MP’s going in and out of the Houses of Parliament (like the Generation Game conveyor belt but really, really shit) we need to focus on bringing the country together not dividing us up into tribes and pitting us against each other.
Stop inviting meme-faced villains to discuss the issue, stop whining about things we can’t change and start making positive moves towards a solution. Stop looking for someone to blame for the mess (see conveyor belt above) and start clearing it up.
In the end it doesn’t matter what you voted for anymore, these are the cards that have been dealt, and we all need to unite to make sure everyone feels represented and heard to create a more stable nation. We need to build a monumental bridge to bring everyone together, and get the fuck over it.