Let me clarify at the very outset: I am not a political commentator. This is not about facts, figures and economic summations. This is purely a layperson’s perspective on what has gone on since this referendum’s results were announced on Friday. What I have observed in the media, on social media, and also on the work and home front.
After having read and researched extensively, listened to debates, and spoken to people on either side of the fence, my vote was to remain. There were several reasons for this and I won’t enumerate them here, aside of saying that I felt that for economic and political stability, the UK was better off being a part of the European Union.
There were plenty that disagreed. Plenty that were fed up with the bureaucratic functioning of the Eurocrats. Plenty that wanted to regain their independence and sovereignty, and not be answerable to Europe for the voltage of their toasters and hairdryers. Amongst them were those as well who were fearful of being unable to carry the burden of mass immigration and the toll that it was taking on their public services.
On Friday morning, when the results of the referendum came in, it was the latter lot that had won.
Now, I wasn’t pleased about this. In actual fact, I was very despondent. Fearful for the future of our children, fearful that cutting ourselves off in this manner would send the markets into free fall (it did) and generate a wave of #gohomenow hashtags for foreigners (it did that too). But it was fait accompli. No amount of hand wringing or mud slinging could reverse the results that we had woken up to. Britain wanted out.
What I had not anticipated was the backlash that the Brexiteers had to face. Admittedly, it was not a decision I was happy with, but in a democracy, every person gets a choice. That’s what democracy is about. To label everyone that chose out as racist, xenophobic, small minded and inward looking is as unfair as labelling everyone that wanted to remain as a leftist bleeding heart. People had their reasons for making their choice, and if that choice was one that we disagreed with, then the debate should have centred on the ramifications of that choice, not on character assassination.
A nation was divided over this vote. It maybe further divided if Scotland asserts its independence via another referendum. This is not the time to name call and turn these cracks into chasms we are unable to build bridges over. The landscape has altered and we have to adapt in a way that takes us forward amicably and with the good of the nation and all its people regardless of colour and ethnicity, at the heart of our efforts.
If we truly want to put back great into Great Britain, then let us do so by showing solidarity and support for each other in the undoubtedly tumultuous times to come.