Friday, 24 June 2016

Lost, but looking for hope

So I woke up today to a very different home, a home that feels scary and uncertain and a unwelcoming. A home I don't feel like I fully identify with, that doesn't represent my values. Overnight Great Britain seems to have turned into little Britain. Outward looking and open to change and development feels insular and backwards. I'm scared, confused, baffled, and angry as hell and I don't know what to do. 

It seems inconceivable that a vote that was that close can be allowed to have such a massive and unreversible change on a country. Did no one think to put in a clause that said there had to be a defined majority to set this change in motion. Surely something like if it was under 10% a further period of consideration is given. You get a 10 day cooling off period when you take out a loan for goodness sake, this is a much bigger deal where were the safeguards? If you find out the day after you signed a contract that the seller lied to you there are things you can do, but this decision feels final. Now we feel like we are on the brink of a fracturing UK, a crashing economy, a rise in racism, a worse deal for the people who can least afford it, and a culture that has been the envy of the world that will erode and disintegrate. 

I might be being over dramatic, things might not turn out to be as bad as I paint, and I am not the most informed about the issues but it's how I feel and I won't apologise for that. Lies have been told and the truth has been overlooked. The EU wasn't perfect, but it's a darned sight easier to affect change from within than outside. Yes they made a minority of laws, but many of them benefited us and the environment. Working time directive, maternity leave, safety - many of these protections were enhanced not eroded by our membership. Trade was easier, markets were opened, there was give and take but I'd rather collaborate than divide. Closer to home, the EU helped Manchester recover and reinvent itself after the IRA bomb, far outdoing the UK contribution. 

I've spent most of today nonplussed and trying to make sense of where we go from here. I've seen a lot of people say they don't want to be a part of this new reality, they are not proud to be British, and to attack each other. I've been attacked myself for expressing an opinion. And it's scary and depressing.

But I can't survive in that dark world. I have to look for positives. I've been encouraged to see how many of my friends and acquaintances feel as lost and angry as I do. More people are engaged in the whole political debate than before. More people are asking questions and will hopefully hold those who negotiate our exit to account for the decisions that are made. What I value about my community, my 'logical family' as Amistead Maupin would define it, will not change. We will continue to welcome and embrace diversity, to encourage learning, to share cultures, to in small ways and big make this new reality better than it seems right now. It's the only way I can deal with this and I make no apologies for trying to find the positives. I need them, I need to think we can be better, I need to hope and believe in the people that make me proud to be brought up in this country and the values that it has instilled in me. I hate this decision but I still believe we can be better. 

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