Thoughts on the EU referendum…

eu referendum

Sigh. Firstly, I’m sorry – I know you’re fed up to the back teeth about hearing about Brexit and the EU. I know you’re sick and tired of hearing people moaning about the EU referendum, supporting leave, supporting remain. I know. Still, here I am to write about it once more and fill your news feeds with my thoughts and feelings on BREXIT and the EU referendum results.

“This isn’t a politics blog” I hear you cry, “it’s about parenting!” – and it is, you’re so right. I’m not really qualified to talk about politics, though I do make it my business to try and follow bits and bobs. What I am qualified to talk about is parenting, specifically when it relates to my children, the same as every parent in the country. As a parent this is a topic I feel gut wrenchingly passionate about.

The truth is, I feel very uneasy and worried about the future of this country. My country. My children’s country.  What does the EU referendum tell us, if not that we have become a nation filled with the same intolerance that we claim to despise and rise up against?

Don’t get me wrong, I can see many reasons why the EU is not something we want to stay in; our laws approved and dictated by people we didn’t vote for, lack of diverse immigration from the non-EU residents such as our Commonwealth and an overwhelming financial burden for our country to substantiate. Geez, I get those reasons, but do you realise these are not the reasons the “leave” campaign won? Having watched a lot of the debates and taken an interest in this particular subject, I have seen very little but blatant scaremongering over the NHS and the big push towards anti-immigration, xenophobic hatred that seems to have dominated our media. If you speak to the majority of people, all they know is that we are “taking our country back!” Or “better off out because the EU is ruining our NHS” and please don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting this is everyone’s reasoning – nor do I think that anyone should be asked to explain their reasoning, but if you are going to offer your opinion (as I have here) then you have to have a rational explanation for why you have done something that, less than a week on, has had huge impact on our country.

I can imagine the leave supporters shouting at their screens right now to inform me that this referendum has not, in truth, had an impact yet – and won’t for at least 2-3 years, but if we’re honest, that just isn’t true. The impact is happening right now, not just with the economic state – which is already recovering from the initial shock, though we are still in danger of heading for another recession – but with the everyday person’s jobs and livelihood. Less than 24 hours after the announcement I lost count of the amount of mums posting in parenting groups that their partner’s or their own jobs were on the line already. One woman had already had a call from her husband to say that an emergency meeting had been issued to talk to his department, which was already in a precarious position, to say that they were to expect “potential difficulties” as their EU customers were discussing moves to German counterparts. I lost count of the posts filled with dread over Nigel Farage’s comments about the NHS suddenly not getting that promised £350million, and that it should be “privatised within 10 years”.

More so than that, whether you felt you were voting in or out, I feel like the EU referendum has changed this country irrevocably. As we have voted out, remain campaigners have started the blame game – it’s the oldies, it’s the racists, it’s the morons. Ok, a significant portion of the blame lies at the feet of racism and a terribly Americanised xenophobic attitude, but what about those who voted leave because of the reasons I mentioned above -they are pretty valid reasons to vote out. These people aren’t racist, stupid or xenophobic – rather, like all of us, they want a better future for their children and have voted for what they think is right. I saw a Facebook friend post a meme about the age to vote ratios that had the life expectancy of each group of voters with the statement “thanks for ruining the country for those who have to live here the longest”. I had to switch off at that point because… Really? Firstly what the hell makes a 20-something student think her vote is worth more than a 60-something former teacher or vet? What is the difference between that and the “youngun’s don’t know what their saying” comments? Nothing, and it’s insulting. What is also insulting is the presumption that you will automatically outlive someone because of age – only last week a young woman named Jo Cox was murdered at work because of her beliefs that relate strongly to this campaign. Nothing is assumed anymore. How dare she? Then there was the inevitable “racist” comments, “thick” comments – something in my own haste I made too, playing right into the hatred myself. Only when I took a step back and looked at my own disappointment and worries, did I realise that actually, I was contributing to the hatred with my comments about how Yorkshire people had just proved themselves to live up to their “thick in t’head” motto. How was this helpful? How did it make people feel?

By contrast, had the vote swung the other way, who knows what would have happened? There has already been a stabbing/shooting fuelled by right wing hatred – who is to say their wouldn’t be more? Is there any pride to be found in the fact that we, the Brits, have become the world’s poster child for hatred and intolerance? The French nationalist party leader has hailed us as pioneers in the devolution of Europe and has expressed a desire to follow suit, while Donald Trump, the very same man who has claimed a communist style control of the Internet is required to “stop the muslims” (ahem, fucktard), has used our country as an example of where he would like to take America.

Whether you voted in or out, you can’t deny that our future is going to be different, I personally believe it will be different in a truly dreadful way, but I have no magic ball to say one way or the other. The only thing that is certain at the moment is that the UK is suffering a political unrest that is both unpredictable and worrying to those who hold the future generations in their hearts and hands.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to disagree entirely – if you are pro-brexit, please feel welcome to comment without being belittled or attacked.

H x

42 Comments

  1. July 1, 2016 / 4:52 pm

    Sometimes it so hard to be positive in a world were there is so much negativity, I am honestly trying to block all negativity from my life and my thoughts its not healthy at all. So much sadness happens everyday but we have to keep moving and try to enjoy life because we never know when were going to be gone. People don’t like to think that way but I do life is too short and I want to enjoy every bit of it.

  2. June 29, 2016 / 11:17 am

    I am absolutely devastated by what’s happened to this country in the last week. I just can’t understand it at all.

  3. June 29, 2016 / 9:55 am

    I am fed up of all the negativity that has occured since the result. I am quite happy to state that I voted to remain, and whilst my choice wasn’t successful I haven’t felt the need to call names or be horrible to anyone who chose to leave. The items that I have seen on TV about attacks and racist behaviour have saddened me greatly, What happened to “love thy neighbour”? Sad times indeed

    • Harriet June 30, 2016 / 11:01 am

      I agree, it has become such a hateful situation, especially towards older generations and I can’t cope with that. Everyone has a right to vote.

  4. June 29, 2016 / 1:04 am

    I don’t care what people voted, as long as they had a good reason that is up to them – but the hate at the moment from the minority is just so wrong! x

    • Harriet June 30, 2016 / 11:03 am

      Amen to that! I really think everyone’s choice is there own, and while I do think the campaign was won on xenophobia and lies, there are A LOT of people with very valid reasons for voting out, and it’s happened now so we have to move forward from it.

  5. June 28, 2016 / 11:00 pm

    A really good post, Harriet. I’ve kept quiet really on the referendum – My overwhelming feelings are of sadness. I just have worries about what is happening in our country, to our relationships with each other and our neighbours. I think it will be a long time before I can properly vocalise why I am so sad but for now, I bury my head in the sand and sincerely hope it all goes away.

  6. June 28, 2016 / 10:04 pm

    So over 52% voted to leave, and the majority of the remain backers are going around acting so hard-done by. Bearing in mind quite a lot of remain campaigners i’m reading comments from are suppose to be leaders and figures of authority they are just throwing racism comments around. I’ve even read things as far fetched as saying “it goes to show over 50% of the UK is part of the EDL”….

    Nothing to do with the loss of the steel industry in the UK and fishing ports etc. There’s a list that could go on and on….

    I didn’t actually vote as I’ve been travelling for the past few months before anyone asks 🙂

    • Harriet June 30, 2016 / 11:07 am

      Like I said in the post, I find the attitude that everyone has voted leave is a.) old or b.) racist, is as bad as the xenophobic comments flying around too. There are so many valid reasons to vote OUT, though in my mind the reasons to vote IN are more prevalent and that is why I am devastated we’re out. That is my choice though, and while I do believe that the leave campaign was won on xenophobia and lies (despite the fact that many didn’t vote for those reasons) I feel like we have to acknowledge that it’s happened and move forward. I would love a second referendum, but to what end? Will there be a third for the people who voted out if the result changes? Sadly, this is democracy. We have to let it go, and try to move forward as best we can.

  7. June 28, 2016 / 2:24 pm

    I am gutted remain didn’t win, I am hoping we still don’t leave the EU some how x

    • Harriet June 30, 2016 / 11:11 am

      Sadly, I think that is already decided 🙁

  8. June 28, 2016 / 11:45 am

    I voted remain and think Brexit is a massive shot in the foot for the economy. Had the Government taken better steps to sort out immigration controls I doubt so many would have voted leave. I also think there’s a significant number of people who didn’t have a clue what they were voting for. Sad times.

    • Harriet June 30, 2016 / 11:14 am

      Me too Linda, I think it’s very sad times!

  9. June 28, 2016 / 9:20 am

    Although I agree with you regarding the EU, I do wonder what makes the racism here an ‘ Americanised xenophobic attitude’? Although there are many things about America that I would desperately like to see changed (and don’t get me started on Trump), as an American living here I often hear attitudes and habits of the British that people don’t like blamed on the worst cultural stereotypes of America and I’m not sure I see the logic.

    • Harriet June 30, 2016 / 11:18 am

      Sorry that has come across that way Erin – I think in British media, the portrayal of American politics is very xenophobic. It is often the case (and not just with Trump) where we are shown large portions of the “us and them” side of American politics – especially during campaigning with the “make America great”, “For the people of America”. Also, racism and xenophobia don’t go hand in hand, (in this referendum I fear they do) but not in all cases. America seems very isolated as a country, and the politics I feel we are shown here suggest that this is the way American politics like it.

      That is what I have based the comment on, if that portrayal of American politics as being xenophobic is incorrect, then I need to see more of that in our media.

  10. June 28, 2016 / 8:34 am

    The hate and insult going on around is so sad. Everyone has an opinion and they are determined to force it down on others. I believe democracy has spoken so instead of tantrums, we need to look to future and think of how we can take the country forward together.

    • Harriet June 28, 2016 / 8:41 am

      It’s hard isn’t it? I think you are right, its now a case of finding a way to move through this in a positive and a progressive way!

  11. June 28, 2016 / 7:39 am

    It’s scary times we live in. I feel incredibly frustrated that Scotland voted to stay, while England voted to leave, and now Scotland’s going to be dragged into England’s mess. I hope a new independence referendum is called.

    • Harriet June 28, 2016 / 8:34 am

      I hope so too, I’ve said to family that this will be the end of the united part of us.

  12. June 28, 2016 / 2:11 am

    I’ve heard some arguments for and against the leave campaign from people on both sides of the spectrum. It’s hard to really understand it without having been a part of the EU but clearly the xenophobia was wrong. All I can say is hang in there and don’t fear the unknown.

    • Harriet June 28, 2016 / 8:34 am

      Thanks Liz, I hope it all works out ok!

  13. June 28, 2016 / 12:23 am

    I’m glad to read a blog post about something important like this. I totally agree, the leave campaign has encouraged xenophobia and intolerance, and it’s scary to think that so many people have voted to leave!

    • Harriet June 28, 2016 / 8:35 am

      Thanks Emily, I find it scary too!

  14. June 27, 2016 / 11:14 pm

    I’m pleased that we live in a country where we can have our say and for that I respect the result. But I am really upset and the result and I worry for what it means for my children. x

    • Harriet June 28, 2016 / 8:36 am

      Hmm, my sentiments exactly!

  15. June 27, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    I strongly feel that the country voted the wrong way in the referendum, and I really worry about how things will pan out, Worse than that, ever since the result, it seems that racist and bigoted attacks are on the rise. Such a horrible, horrible shame.

  16. June 27, 2016 / 9:15 pm

    I didnt vote for out but respect the decision that has been made, though I don’t like it one bit. It does make me feel uneasy and I am not a big fan of the unknown, but this is democracy at work x

  17. June 27, 2016 / 8:22 pm

    I haven’t got over all of this, Am still reeling and hoping that we will get a 2nd referendum but I think the damage is sadly done now on some many levels. Shocking.

    • Harriet June 28, 2016 / 8:38 am

      Me too Talya, there won’t be a second one. What would stop there being a third then… or a fourth… or riots from those who voted and stand by voting out? Sad times!

  18. June 27, 2016 / 7:46 pm

    It has been such a difficult weekend hasn’t it! I am heartbroken to see some of the horrible comments on social media. I was firmly in the remain camp and just about starting to recover from the shock. But what is done cant be undone and as you say things are going to be very different going forward, I just hope as a country we can stand united, accepting that we all made our individual choices for a reason xx

    • Harriet June 28, 2016 / 8:39 am

      Me too Yvonne. It was a huge shock for everyone, remain were supposed to be the obvious winners!

  19. June 27, 2016 / 4:23 pm

    I’ve watched as both sides battled and seen all the hateful things everyone has said. It’s been frightening and certainly made me anxious for the future. I hope as a country we can put our differences aside and get back to being Great.

    • Harriet June 27, 2016 / 6:48 pm

      It is scary isn’t it, it has become very hateful from both sides.

  20. June 27, 2016 / 3:24 pm

    I am still pretty raw about this. I know there was the initial backlash, with the remain side feeling shocked and blaming. Then there was backlash against the backlash… and even backlash against that.

    While I know that tarring all with the same brush is unhelpful – plenty of older people voted to stay, and plenty of educated people voted to leave -I feel very stongly that we should be able to criticise this decision, and some of the people who made it.

    It’s not whining or refusing to accept democracy (note, I know it isn’t you who have made comments like this, Harriet. It is based on what a lot of people on my fb feed are saying) and unfortunately it seems there are a fair few people who made the decision based on at best naivety and misinformation, and, at worse, ignorance.

    We should be able to call out and argue against ingorance – while taking care not to generalise or stereotype – because that’s the only way to get rid of it! That’s my bit 😉

    • Harriet June 27, 2016 / 6:50 pm

      I couldn’t agree more. Like I have said in the post, too much was done through ignorance but I made the error of generalising and I had to take a step back and say I was only fuelling the hate fire. It’s such a sad decision and I am so upset about it, but I fear that it won’t be changed. We have to live with it.

  21. June 27, 2016 / 2:35 pm

    Ooh its a tricky one, personally I feel we are all entitled to our own opinion and whilst it pains me to see what will happen to our generation outside of the EU I can understand why some would choose to leave the EU. As long as it is not influenced by xenophobia then I have no problem with it.

    • Harriet June 27, 2016 / 6:51 pm

      That is EXACTLY how I feel Ana. I am heartbroken by how much of the campaign was built purely on xenophobia. It’s not good at all!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.