Its done, the votes are in and the UK has decided to finish its pint and head home before last orders. Or if I’ve lost you already we are leaving the European Union. I’m torn about whether to write about what I’m feeling right now and even as I type I may not publish this because if it goes the way I’m feeling I may end up pissing off a large group of my friends…
Am I disappointed we are heading for the door? Yes I am for many reasons. They’re the same as what many of you have articulated over the last few weeks and months and they are based on a foundation of what may happen to European stability over the coming decade. See previous note.
I looked at Facebook this morning (I’m still not sure whether I hate it or not) and I saw the disappointment echoing up and down the country. Also, sadly, I saw the anger, the sweeping generalisations, the recriminations. I saw “I hate this country”, “well done you mass of racist bigots” and other, I’m hoping, emotionally driven knee jerk responses. I’d hate to think that my FB feed had gone from well reasoned and argued points to “you’re all a bunch of racist pricks and I don’t want to play with you anymore”. The thing that REALLY annoyed me this morning, the thing that nearly caused to me to just post an emotive response on FB without thinking was this: “I’m off to X”, “Lets go to Canada” etc etc. I nearly posted, bleary eyed and pre-coffee and in caps (because that’s how I roll) “Ok, don’t let the fucking door hit you on the way out”. But I didn’t (OK pedant I’ve written it here but it was as a demonstration of how annoyed I was).
I get that people are worried,scared for themselves and for their families. For the idea that the rest of the world know thinks we might be a bit more “What Ho!” rather than “Alright mate?” after all. I get that people are truly terrified that the face of the Leave campaign is how we will be seen from now on and that we have the potential to head down the path of rampant nationalism. I get that (some) people, me included, are worried about the potential break up of the Union. I get that this will cause massive economic uncertainty which could have ramifications everywhere. In general I get that it looks like a dark and lonely road ahead with the spectres of economic deprivation and mass rallies at Wembley Stadium.
But to want to up sticks and head for Canada or parts elsewhere? Well cheers. You liked the country enough to stick around (most of you) when the times we’re good and everything was going along in a rough direction you liked, but now that more people disagreed than agreed with you over this issue you’re off? So the country is worth fighting for when its part of the EU but its not worth fighting for when its not? Its not worth sticking around and fighting to make the country as good as it can be outside of the EU? To fight against the potential rise of nationalism? To try and make it a better society in a globalised world?
We won’t have suddenly descended into V for Vendetta world this morning. Yes you might hate the tories, you might hate labour, you almost certainly hate UKIP and parties of that ilk. But you still get the opportunity to change it. We’re still in a parliamentary democracy where you get to vote for possible change at least once every five years. Don’t like the way it is currently? THEN WORK FOR CHANGE! SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT! I can think of maybe half a dozen people on my FB list who are directly involved in the politics of this country, or who have family members who are.
Too busy? Bullshit! If its that important you make the time. Even the smallest activity contributes to a larger whole. The system in this country is this way because We (the royal collective We) have allowed it to stay this way. We are fundamentally disengaged from the political system because we hate it and don’t trust it. Voting once every five years, in bi-elections etc is not longer enough. Annoyed at the Masses(TM) for blindly (?) voting the other way? Feeling desperation at the power of the mass media and its ability to influence the Masses (TM)? Get involved in changing the debate, in changing the message. Work to convince people through other mediums that there are other ways. Is it going to be easy? Of course not. Are you going to convince everybody? Don’t be daft.
But fight for the system you want. Get on the rooftops and shout it out. Harrass your MP’s, Councillors, MEP’s (Ooops…..too soon?) and local activists. My FB feed has lots of people belonging to various communities based around some kind of nerdery where they are organising events and meetings and talking about ideas all the time. Yes that’s fun and nice, but use those skills to better the country too. You can’t in all good conscience sit there and say “loving this, loving that, not sure about that, but happy to tolerate it” and then go “fuck this noise, i’m off” when something really upsets you. We live in a world that is more connected than ever before. It should be easier to mass organise, to create different parties, to reach different viewpoints, never before has it been so easy to make our voices heard. We don’t need to march from Jarrow in a big mob anymore just to be heard. Although there is still very much a place for that kind of activity.
But you have to get involved. You have to take a stand and say “fuck you” we’re not going down this route. You have to have courage and commitment to do this. Even the smallest thing can help. I get that We’re busy. Instead of playing XBOX, watching the latest reality TV show or posting on FB about how great “x” is, spend 5 or 10 minutes of that time engaging. Find other like minded people and organise. Make your message heard. The information age is truly the time to be able to do this. Communicate, talk to people. Raise the level.
Don’t just quit. Who’s to say it won’t happen in the paradise you end up in?