I don’t think it is any co-incidence that when I was uploading and looking through my photos from our week in Cornwall the photos end abruptly on Thursday early afternoon. Instead of waking on Friday and greeting my husband with “happy birthday”, I took one look at his face and realised that the world was a different place. I was then too shocked and heartbroken to pick up my camera. I love Cornwall. I love Britain. But I love and cherish and have become the person I am because of being part of the EU and the people who are in my life because of being in the EU. I love being part of the EU. Perhaps I (we?) should have articulated this earlier; perhaps in part it is only realising how important something that we have taken for granted every day is, until it is broken. Gone. Destroyed.
And heartbreakingly, destroyed by people that I hadn’t thought about but probably should have. Safe in my little part of north London I am surrounded by similar people – which includes as many EU nationals as it does “British” (whatever that means, because I sure as hell don’t know – we were all from somewhere else originally, surely) and I have friends and colleagues from across the EU – and we are by and large likeminded. Middle class, middle income families, working and raising our children. But, Britain was already broken; it just hadn’t had an ability to articulate it before, or we (I) hadn’t listened. I am guilty of being cut off from the other people of Britain. Those who voted to leave because “it can’t get any worse” or because they believed that the factories would re-open, fishing quotas would improve, subsidies and funding would remain, that we could access the single market whilst closing down immigration, and that suddenly we would be out, and that we’d have an extra £350m funding for the NHS. How disappointing it must have been to realise that actually, none of that would actually happen. That the rest of Britain and the world may now be listening, but it’s too late. That racism and xenophobia seem to have been legitimised and given a platform. That the very people that gave all these broken promises and false hope based on lies would then walk away.
This was never an issue we should have been able to vote on. We should have realised that years of being shafted by London centric governments have left broken, disenfranchised, angry and saddened people. And that given a vote where their voices would actually be heard, people were not going to vote in answer to the question asked, even if the campaign was largely dominated by lies and promises which could never have been fulfilled. Even people close to me, apparently seem to have voted in answer to another question. The question was not “do you think the EU could do things better?” or “does leaving the EU benefit me personally”. I find it hard to see how when weighing up everything we gain from the EU, and everything we economically, globally and politically stood to lose, that the answer was a gamble for a might have been.
This blog isn’t a place for politics though. Despite spending such a huge proportion of my time reading and writing about legal matters and reading about politics, I don’t feel qualified to write opinion and comment here. I know that there will have been a lot of people who did similar reading and when they weighed up their final opinion will have come down on a different side of the line. (There must be – tens of thousands of people were happily watching Coldplay at the weekend) and some of them may well be readers of this blog. I am not trying to alienate or divide. I am just explaining why it’s been hard to write anything this past few days.