So we voted to leave the EU.
To say I’m gutted is an understatement. I don’t like change, and this is one terrifying change.
But what terrifies me the most is the reaction of the Stay crowd. The same people preaching peace and love on my FB feed for months are full of bile and anger at the people who voted leave. Apparently half the country are bigoted, racist twunts (love that word).
I don’t buy it.
I agree that anyone who is racist probably voted leave, but not everyone who voted leave is racist. I know a couple of them, they’re nice people.
The problem is the hype. The Remain team had two camps they could support – the Tory ‘it’s all about economics’ one and the Labour/Green ‘it’s about workers’ rights and the environment’ camp.
Brexit only had one visible camp: the right-wing, ‘immigration is to blame for everything so let us close the doors’ camp.
But they’re not the only people who voted leave. They can’t be. I can’t accept that half this country are that awful.
The scary part, as someone who studied history at university, is the parallel with the 1930s. The division, the blame, the strong leaders who spiel vitriolic nonsense and are given a mandate to rule.
We’ve given Nigel Farage a mandate. Just let that sink in.
That’s why I’m feeling sick today. Regardless of why people voted, we gave the right-wing a mandate, we gave their views permission and authority.
We need to take it back.
The 15 million people who voted ‘stay’ need to rise above. We need to build bridges and find a way forward.
We preached ‘in it together’ and ‘more that unites us’ about Europe.
We need to find it in us to have the same thoughts at home. We need to be more Jo Cox and less Nigel Farage.
However hard it is, however much it hurts, we must.
I suggested this on my FB feed: it didn’t go down well. Perhaps I’m a peace-maker too far.
It’s an interesting time. A scary one. Perhaps an inevitable one. But how we negotiate the choppy waters ahead is down to all of us.
There has never been a more important time to find out what unites us rather than concentrate on what divides.
That will decide our future, more than any Article 50 decision ever will.