Like most of my blogs, I debated whether to publish this post or not. In the end I thought it would benefit me to get some of the thoughts swirling around in my head on paper (or at least a laptop screen!).
It’s probably not that surprising that I voted Remain. Immigration is one topic that always makes me get on my soapbox. After all, my husband is a migrant. He’s also a migrant who has set up his own business, buys goods from British businesses, ships them using British logistic companies and also pays a lot of tax. More than me. He also speaks English fluently and works harder than anybody I know. So when the leave campaign focused on immigration it automatically peed me off.
It might be surprising that I do get why some people voted leave. I might not agree with them but I get that people see people who need benefits be forced to undergo quite frankly humiliating assessments and deal with the impact of benefits being taken away from them. I get that people see schools full with children having to travel miles to get a school place. I get that people see the NHS creaking from the pressure of too many people and not enough staff. What I don’t get is why people who voted Leave believe that getting out of the EU would solve all of the issues that the UK has.
I’ve heard a few people voted Leave as a protest vote. I don’t understand that but I’d like to. What were people protesting about? The government? The campaign? I always think a protest is only valuable if the aim of the protest is clearly communicated and I don’t think it has been. I also think a vote is something really special to have. There are a lot of countries who don’t have a luxury of a free vote and I feel it should be respected.
I do think some of the blame for the result should not be argued out between Leave and Remain voters. From stories in the media, it’s becoming clear that people are confused about what the EU means. The fact that Africa is not in the EU and therefore this result doesn’t mean that people from Africa will be shipped back ‘to where they came from’. The fact that the EU is not the same as the European Court of Human Rights or the continent. I don’t understand the EU even though I studied EU and Constitutional Law. How can people be expected to vote for something they don’t understand. Instead most of the campaign leaflets I read focused on what would happen if we left the EU rather than the benefits of being in the EU as it stands and also what the EU is about.
I don’t think this is a unique situation. Long words. Long legislation. Long regulations. For a country which places emphasis on the Plain English Campaign, I don’t think there is much Plain English going on.
With the exception of those voters who voted Leave purely motivated by racism, I don’t blame those who voted Leave. I’m just sad. I’m sad that my timeline on social media is full of sad people. I’m sad because my timeline is full of people angry. I’m sad that the UK is seen as a country that is falling apart. However I’m also hopeful. Hopeful because my timeline is full of people standing up to racist idiots. Hopeful because my friends and family are focused on the future. The UK will have a future. What that will be remains to be seen. As a Remainer I need to continue to speak to those who voted Leave. I need to understand their reasons even though I don’t agree with them so that I can provide them with a different perspective and view. Which they might not agree with. But that’s okay. We are all part of humanity. We all have similarities and differences. Let’s try to understand the differences and focus on the similarities. Unless they really are a numpty. Then avoid them because life is for living.