And the future is still as clear as mud.
First things first. Let’s put the vote on the table. I’m a remain supporter for three reasons.
- The EU is an undemocratic, unwieldy and bureaucratic organisation that needs to change, but essentially I believe it’s easier to influence change from within. If the winds of change are already blowing in other countries, surely together we can blow up a storm to make the necessary improvements.
- For the sake of the economy, I also believe in the free movement of useful labour; I’m an expat who has lived, and contributed, to the countries I’ve lived in.
- I also fear that sudden dramatic changes spook financial markets so they jump back into the shadows. It may take years to coax them back out. The FTSE100 may recover, but the strength of the Pound is shaky and confidence has been shaken.
That said, I do believe a truly British approach is required. I’m not talking about a whinge over a pint. I’m talking about a stiff upper lip. If we can’t talk positively about an inevitable change, inevitably it will end badly.
We now have a new female prime minister and the chance to make a fresh start. How will Theresa May get the best out of the Brexit bust up?
Let’s start with the popular issues surrounding Brexit. It’s not all bad, but anything can be presented in a bad light. The main divisive issue has come down to immigration and the protection of British sovereignty.
The Brits don’t run the Union flag up the pole as often as other nations, but we are a proud nation. Unfortunately, we only seem to be united over sport (Hamilton at the British F1 Grand Prix, Murray at Wimbledon, Froome on the Tour to name a few examples). So if we’re not always that bothered, why do we need to protect our sovereignty and what is it anyway? Let’s start with what it is not:
Sovereignty protection is not about protecting British jobs for the British. After all, in some sectors of society, Brits have the energy to complain about “foreigners coming over ‘ere stealing our jobs”, but don’t have the energy to actually do a job.
Sovereignty is not even about pulling up the drawbridge to stop immigrants flooding in. Refugees and legal immigrants need help. I would want to protect my family from the dangers of war. I would also want to return to my homeland when it was safe, and we tend to make the assumption that others do not.
Sovereignty is not a teenager that needs protecting from an overbearing European parent that constantly tells it what to do, preventing it from becoming an individual.
To me, sovereignty is about community. We can’t be cookie cutter nations, otherwise what is the point of sovereignty in the first place? My children have lived in four countries and they are only seven and nine years old. They know that the world is made up of all colours, all religions, all cultures. And that’s all ok. As my older daughter said: “We all have two arms, two legs and one head, so aren’t we the same?” Essentially, yes. We are all the same, but different, and that’s to be encouraged and welcomed.
Sovereignty is about celebrating our differences and changing elements that help us work with others, while not denting our own development of community. Here’s an example: I don’t know why we still measure road distances in miles in the UK, when we have been part of a metric system my entire four decades on this planet. It makes no sense, and only complicates issues when I drive in other countries. However, when I go to the pub, I may like to have a pint. It’s a quintessentially British measure, and changes nothing else. The world does not shift on its accent. Nothing else is measured in a pint. I don’t have to convert it. It’s just a pint.
So what does this all mean? To me, it means that developing your own personality and individualism is something your parents taught you when you were growing up. As long as it doesn’t impact other people it’s fine. Individualism, or in the case of the UK, our cultural community development, isn’t racist. At least it shouldn’t be. It should be a excuse to say: “Hey, we’re a bit difference. Come and join us for a cup of tea and some scones.” It doesn’t say: “Stay out, we don’t want you to join our gang,” or “Come and take the mickey out of the way we are different by being the last to leave the party.”
So Brexit voters, you’ve got what you voted for, and in a democratic Britain that’s fine. But please don’t screw it up. Create something individual and different, so others want to join our gang and hang out with us for a while.
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