Its not exactly personal and its not exactly addiction related, but today feels like a mark in history for the UK. I was absolutely stunned to wake up this morning and find that the people of the UK had voted to leave the European Union. Stunned, and not a little apprehensive about the future.
In my view, the leave vote has a lot to do with the political elite choosing to dismiss the concerns of the ‘ordinary people’ by branding them ‘racist’ and failing therefore to explain WHY immigration is not the problem that it is perceived to be, and why leaving the EU is unlikely to make much difference to the number of people wanting and choosing to make their home in the UK. If I, as an educated and interested member of the general population, was almost as confused yesterday about the merits of the remain campaign as I was 6 weeks ago, what hope for the less well informed and economically privileged who see economic and social migration as the cause of the UK’s problems.
The ‘people’ have spoken; The Prime Minister has announced his resignation in the next couple of months. There will be much picking over the bones of the referendum campaigns and no doubt much mud slinging and blaming of individuals for the outcome. The markets are in turmoil and the whole future of the EU project is in question.
What next ? Honestly I have no idea. A future where we need a visa to cross the channel, a border right across the island of Ireland (as if that country has not had enough division and segregation) the economic chaos and potential mass exodus of European companies currently trading in the UK, the real potential for a further Scottish referendum resulting in the break up of the Union – its all alarming and uncharted territory.
We must now hope for strong and balanced leadership, clear vision and a willingness to compromise and work hard to make the best of a very uncertain future. Beyond the short term turmoil and financial turbulence I hope we can emerge into a place where there is clarity of vision and direction, I hope that the tolerant, inclusive and diverse country I have been so proud to be part of, can survive this divisive upheaval, and I hope that we can work together to build a strong and thriving society for the future. But I’m very afraid that’s a lot of mountains to climb and that what we carve out will not be as good as what we have thrown away. When we realise that, it will be too late to go back.