So, today my nation went to the polls to vote on whether we stay or go from the European Union.
Fittingly the weather today has been both terribly British (pissing rain to the degree it’s a national news story), and somewhat ‘foreign’ (muggy as monsoon season). It has been both close and turbulent. Much like the referendum campaign itself.
Personally, I don’t think this should have been decided by the people. The political and economic arguments are too varied and complex. Not enough everyday people have the time or aptitude to understand the debate fully enough to make this decision on behalf of future generations. To me, our government have abdicated their responsibilities in a disgraceful manner by even holding a referendum.
There has been so much scaremongering and politics of fear – and hate – connected with this referendum. I really don’t know what to make of the process, except that at times it has made me very sad and ashamed of some of my countrymen.
We actually had a young MP murdered in the street during this campaign, potentially because she supported Remain. Her attacker was a white, middle aged Brit. But yeah, it’s the immigrants who are the problem.
The main thing my thoughts keep coming back to is this; the world is getting smaller. Every day, more and more people communicate instantly with each other from opposite sides of the world because of shared interests or beliefs. We are all together in a global conversation. This is amazing. It’s a gift that leads to great things.
Yes, it can also be used for bad things and it can be abused to spread hate (as the Leave campaign are well aware) and hijacked by extremism. But how can we hope to reduce the spread of the bad by opting out of helping to spread the good? We need each other, we need to work as one if we have any hope of combating the evil in the world.
Footballer John Barnes made a great point in a Guardian article this week. In Britain we like to think we lead the way. We should be leading the way forward and be the first to engage and help people. Not leading the retreat into isolation. He was mainly talking about immigration but I think it’s a good point all round.
The way immigration has been used by the Leave side is beyond appalling. I saw the picture below earlier this week and felt physically sick. The people in the UKIP poster are fleeing Syria, nothing to do with the EU debate and even if they were, they are running for their lives. They should not be objects of fear or a target for hate.
The pictures it is compared to are Nazi propaganda against the Jews. This is Hitler’s politics.
It seems that the vote will be close, which I never thought would be the case. I am actually terrified that we might leave, and if we do I believe this will be largely because of the immigration debate which to me is basically a refusal to help people in dire, desperate need. I will be so ashamed of my country if we do this.
We’ll know in the morning. In the meantime, here is a great video showing how we are ALL immigrants at some point.
Come on Britain. Be Great. Do the right thing. Stay in the conversation.
UPDATE 7am 24th June: Oh Shit.