Thursday, 30 June 2016

The mess that is Brexit

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with politics but I’ve never been so angry, disappointed and ashamed at an election result in the UK before. The leave campaign was one riddled with  lies, empty promises, scaremongering and manipulative language about more money for the NHS or less immigration. I don’t think anyone expected the leave campaign to win and maybe that’s why they went all out – because they had nothing to lose from doing so. I certainly didn’t expect a campaign that used such tactics to the point of inciting racism and xenophobia to win at such a pivotal moment in history. To me, this is what the leave campaign represented; I saw no clear plan or manifesto for change and no fact based arguments. Simply a campaign that placed blame for the state of an entire nation in the hands of foreigners, rejected a joint union of other nations and called for isolation from the rest of Europe. While the remain campaign also had faults of its own, it seemed that the logical way to vote would be to remain in order to show that, actually, we are not a nation that can be manipulated by xenophobia or a nation that rejects a co-operative union. Except I was wrong. Now I’m not sure that I hold the same view of Britain and British politics as I did before. In fact, after seeing just some of the consequences of this vote, this country and what it represents has now changed for me.
Source: The Spectator

The morning after the night before

It astonishes me that Nigel Farage made such a bold claim about giving the NHS £350 million a week for him only to then call this promise a ‘mistake’ and swiftly attempt to move on. A ‘mistake’ that was repeated over and over again during the campaign, one that many leave voters heard and believed. Or about Daniel Hannan who rejected the notion that now we are out of the EU, migration and free movement of people would stop. Then what was the point in the whole campaign? To quickly backtrack on pivotal points of a campaign that people believed in requires only one skill – being able to take the concerns and fears of the majority of people and use that in order to boost your own political and personal gain.

Being out of the EU but still wanting to be part of Europe will cost us big time. Talks to now negotiate plans with the EU are laughable. To think that the UK is in a stronger position after leaving to then negotiate with the EU is delusional and there’s no doubt about that. Let’s be realistic - the UK will now be held as an example for the rest of Europe and the divorce will not be pretty. You can shout ‘Great Britain’ and ‘Rule Britannia’ all you want, but when we still require access to the single market, movement of skilled workers to fill jobs and boost our economy and imports of many goods from other EU countries, how can we go it alone?


Has Brexit legitimised racist and fascist behaviour?

Not all those who voted to leave are of the same opinion or share the vision of a racist and xenophobic Britain, nevertheless, the results from last week have somehow given more confidence to those who do. Carrying out and justifying racist behaviour has spread like wildfire, targeting EU migrants, ethnic minorities along with certain religious communities. The opportunity to share opinion and to exercise the right to freedom of speech is a privilege granted in this country. However, why should this type of behaviour be tolerated and why are some of the opinion that they are now justified in acting like this? There should be no place for racism or xenophobia in politics – in a system that will dictate lives and change the course of a nation.

Of course, it didn’t have to go down this route, not at all – a leave campaign could have been just as successful without using such petty tactics. Yet, immigration was used as leverage during the campaign. When these leaflets were printed or when Farage stood in front of this campaign poster he knew exactly what he was doing. He got away with it and that terrifies me.

Immigration, migration or the free movement of people doesn’t have to be scary, it doesn’t have to be seen as the unknown invading to steal something that doesn’t belong to them. We’re living in a world of ever increasing globalisation – no longer is it necessary to stay where you are, if you don’t want to. I’m not under the illusion that we don’t need immigration policies or borders, but when the choice is as black and white as either welcoming migrants or not at all, it all seems so nonsensical. The possibility to travel, work abroad and share stories on an international scale has now become such an exciting part of the human experience that it saddens me to see that some are so determined to shut themselves off from this. Being open to others has left me more educated, knowledgeable and with a greater understanding of the world around me and of who I am. Sharing my own culture and heritage with others while learning about their own has never caused any inner turmoil or angst and being inclusive, open and honest has carved the way for further growth and understanding. Sometimes I wanna hang out with the Nigerians, eat jollof rice and share stories about growing up in a Nigerian household, sometimes I want to spend a day drinking tea, eating scones and complaining about the weather, while some days I want to attempt to dance Salsa, swear in Italian or try baklava again for the twelfth time because maybe this time I’ll actually like it.
Source

Whatever, move on, get over it

The great thing about democracy and having the right to exercise our vote is that everyone eligible will get the chance to voice an opinion and the right to exercise their right to vote. What I feel is undemocratic however, is when that vote is based on misinformation, lies and manipulation. I’m so angry at this so called 'post-factual democracy' where, sure, we got to vote, but what we based our votes on was nothing more than words strung together with no real meaning. Does a vote cast on the basis of a lie or very unrealistic promise still hold its value? This remains true for both sides of the referendum campaign and politics in general.

Make no mistake – I am in no way deluded, the majority of the people who voted chose to leave the EU. Whether it’s eligible that a simple 4% majority win can determine an outcome that leads us down the path of no return seems irrelevant as it is becoming increasingly clear that a second referendum may not be granted (despite the argument for a second referendum being very strong). Nevertheless, my Facebook feed is a mixed bag of remain supporter’s arguments against leave campaigners calling for the nation to ‘come together and look to the future’ or to ‘get over it and move on’. Ok, tell me, what’s the plan that your vote was based on for a post EU Britain?

Being able to ignore all this or think it’s time to get over it and move on must be great. Unfortunately with the looming possibility of living in a world where the likes of Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen or even Donald Trump are gaining more influence, that is not a privilege that I, along with many others, have been granted.

Update: I'm sharing more thoughts on Twitter regarding the latest news on the Boris fiasco.
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What are your thoughts on the referendum? Will it be celebrated in years to come as a great day in British history or will it be marked as a day that caused great political, social and economic upheaval?



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3 comments:

  1. Such a well written and articulated post! I totally have to agree with all your points, I'm still completely in shock that that's really the outcome :(

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  2. Love this post...Brexit really does have us heartbroken as so many young people like us couldn't even get a say in what happens to our future :(
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