We are headed into a strange unknown, with a plummeting pound and a rising right-wing - despite this, we must try and unite
It’s happened. Despite a palpable rise in optimism from the remain camp over the past 48 hours, Britain has voted to leave the European Union. Here’s how I feel: angry. Angry that the pound has consequently suffered its worst drop in its history, angry that Nigel Farage is on television at all (a man who has unsuccessfully stood for parliament seven times), angry that he’s on television saying the battle has been won “without bullets being fired” (Jo Cox was shot just a week ago), angry that he’s on television already rowing back on the Leave campaign’s promise that we’ll be able to give £350million to the NHS. Angry that he posed in front of a poster akin to Nazi propaganda.
I’m angry at David Cameron for calling a referendum as part of his election campaign and gambling with the futures of millions of people in a bid to sate his own desires for power. I’m angry at Boris Johnson for spearheading a Leave campaign with the same motives. I’m angry at right-wing tabloid newspapers and their relentless appetite for chaos and fear. I’m angry with the generations above us, generations who had everything – secure jobs, the ability to buy houses, pensions, generations who voted overwhelmingly to dictate a future that the youth didn’t want, without ever asking them what they want. We were just outnumbered.
I’m angry at reductive namecalling – “you’re just all racists, you’re idiots”, I’m angry at racists, particularly those with increasing levels of power. I’m angry that we’re headed into a great unknown without a political figure fit to lead us there, angry imagining who may succeed Cameron in October. And I’m angry with myself.
However, those of us who voted to remain – a move Dazed came out in favour of – must remember the key tenets of the campaign: Stronger Together. This referendum has been vile, vindictive and violent, a stain on this country’s history, not just in the result but in the way it was achieved. There is a ghastly split that exists in this country right now, consequently we can’t continue divided into “us and them”. We need to talk more, and now figure out how to progress as a country. It will be long and hard, but let’s try and frame Britain’s decision in our minds as a vote against the establishment, against a political elite.
Ultimately, Cameron’s decision to call a referendum and give people who have been alienated and denied a voice for years the chance to have a say on how the country is run has backfired. What did he think people would do, offered an opportunity to put two fingers up at the state?
A positive is that this has politicised people, and we must maintain that enthusiasm for new ideas, for change. Let’s remember that we are stronger together and work to try and unite this horribly divided (and small) country. We are not doomed – let’s try to start again, outlooks fresh, mistakes learned from.
“We have far more in common than that which divides us” – Jo Cox