Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dear Diary

Something strange has happened to me. I have morphed and changed. Apparently, and I only have other people's word for this, I have become an unintelligent, racist, xenophobic bigot who has no mind of his own.

Remarkable. All I did was to vote leave in the referendum.

That, it would seem to some of those who are upset by the result, is enough to prove I'm an idiot. As if all the non-white friends I have, my upbringing in central London alongside children of migrants and actual migrants meant nothing. Nor, it would seem, is my degree in History, and certainly not the modules on the EU, migration in Early Modern Europe and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

None of that matters because I voted to leave the EU. My actual reasons are irrelevant as I've placed myself alongside bigots and racists and have therefore become one.


The young have complained about the old ruining their futures. Would this be the generation that suffered during WW2 and stormed the beaches of Normandy? The same generation that built the NHS and the welfare state? Or are you thinking of someone else?

Maybe you're referring to my parents' generation, the ones that voted remain in 1975, kicked off the 60s revolution and the freedoms that came with it. The ones that brought in the race relations act and the equal pay act in the mid 70s and made the country better as a result

Or maybe you're referring to my generation, the inventors of punk rock, the protestors against the Poll tax, the ones that supported band aid and live aid and who currently volunteer in charity shops up and down the country, the ones that started the trend to work abroad for charity and married who they loved whatever their skin colour or race.

Just one question, young 'uns: If it was so important, how come only a third of you voted?

You may have degrees, but you gained in an era when a degree is available to all, not just an elite. My generation and my parents' generation had to make do with apprenticeships and CSEs if they weren't academically bright.  Though I bet you couldn't pass one of their, or mine for that matter, exams.

We may be old, but we still think of the future, of our children and grandchildren...YOU. We've not just read about the past in books, we've lived it, been through it, survived it. We can see the patterns repeating.

The break may have shocked everyone, it certainly took us by surprise, but you know what? I don't regret it. Not. One. Bit.

I, like a good number of those who voted to leave, have had enough of smug, arrogant people talking down to us...people like those who now claim we're all racists and xenophobes because we didn't do what they told us.

There were many reasons why people voted to leave, only a few of those who voted leave are racists. Being concerned about the impact of immigration is not racist. Asking if globalisation is really a good thing doesn't make you a communist, nor does wanting to break free of the EU make you a luddite or a protectionist.

And if you think that the racist behaviour we've seen over the past few days is bad, you've not been paying attention for the last couple of centuries. They'll creep back into their holes soon enough.

As for Boris and co? We knew they lied. We didn't listen to them anyway. As for lies, what of the threat of wars and economic desolation that the remain camp placed in front of us? Was that the truth?

I voted to leave the EU because I do not trust politicians with that much power. They have rushed headlong towards political union and patronised those who ask them to hold back. The rise of the right is only one consquence of that dash as they are, seemingly, the only ones who will take the EU on.

I don't know what the future holds, no one does. But we never do. In January 1989 we thought the cold war would go on for years. By the end of the year the Berlin wall had fallen, and by the end of 1990 Germany had been reunited.

Britain has voted to leave the EU. It's called democracy. Whinging about it and calling people names is not just being a bad loser, it's childish and arrogant.

You can either help make the deal a good one, or you can sulk. Make a choice.


Mary Patrick said...

Well said Martin, all these generalisations flying around are aweful. I voted the other way to you, sticking to what I voted in 1975 as a youngster. I may be disappointed with the result, but the electorate has spoken, and now we need to get on with it. As you say lies were peddled by both sides, but the both sides were our 'wonderful' political leaders so no surprise there really; their collective contempt for us 'The People' is shocking.

So let's see what they actually do now.

Cheer Mary

Martin Willoughby said...

They'll fudge, apologise, break promises and treat us like mushdrooms: keep us in the dark and feed us on manure.

Lexa Cain said...

I'm an American and a liberal, but I agree with every one of your points. I can't believe the idiots who voted "leave" and are now complaining they didn't know what they were voting for, were lied to by politicians (REALLY?), and want a new referendum. BREXIT does not portend the end of the world. The UK will do fine.

Personally, I've always been against Schengen and the open border policy not because of immigration but because of the large number of criminals, human traffickers, smugglers and fugitives who move from country to country with zero control. I've watched several serial killer documentaries about truckers who kill in Germany or the UK and then zip home to Belgium, where goodness knows the police are worse than useless. Interpol is a joke. No one communicates or knows a thing. Too many slow gov't workers and too much red tape. The EU would be better off having border control rather than currying favor with tourists.

VEG said...

See this is my main gripe about the entire thing - it wasn't ABOUT migration or immigration or anything like that, that was a tiny part of it and people treated it like it was a vote on migration. It's frustrating as hell. Personally, I want Scotland to get its ass in gear and get out and join Europe and I think we're a lot worse off for this decision. But then when you've been an afterthought FOREVER, where the UK is concerned, I guess it's normal. This vote wasn't just about migration it was about EVERYTHING. I am still against it. As much as I am against that giant ball of dough with the comb-over running for president. :)

Martin Willoughby said...

Politicians will always use one small thing, highlight, bang on about it in order to get their way.

It's quite funny watching the leave politicians back-pedalling as they didn't expect to win. They have unleashed something here which will not go away. If nothing else, it got people energised about government and voting.

Caitlin Lane said...

I sympathize with this post very much. Although I'm not in the UK (American over here), the volatile divisiveness between parties or who voted for what is so harmful and only further divides members of the same country, who are often more alike than different. I'm sorry you're going through this right now.