as you may well be aware, the results of the UK referendum on whether to leave the EU came out yesterday. I am trying to find some sort of acceptance of what seems to me a truly terrible outcome.
the factors which were most important to me in coming to my own decision to vote to remain in the EU were economic factors and those of tolerance and inclusion. I am not alone in finding it difficult to comprehend the decision of 51.9% of people in this country of mine.
three things to consider here: what is upsetting me, what I believe, and what I think happens next.
there are what I consider to be strong, valid arguments for exiting the EU. I disagree with those arguments, but respect them. I appreciate that, actually, no-one really knows what the economic impact will be of a decision either way, and so can tell myself that who knows? maybe it won’t be that bad.
what is upsetting me is my belief that many of that 51.9% based their decision on beliefs rooted in intolerance and ignorance. that my fellow countrymen and women are not the people I thought and hoped that they were.
what is upsetting me is the deep divisions in our society, and what that will mean for my children in their future.
what is upsetting me is the message it has sent to others around the world, within Europe and beyond. I am also saddened at the prospect of the break-up of the United Kingdom, with the likelihood of another independence referendum for Scotland.
I am with Winston Churchill, who said that ‘democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.’
I believe that many decent, thoughtful people will have voted to leave for reasons that were priorities to them. the fact that I do not hold those same values does not make those votes invalid: it makes them part of the jigsaw of what I want for this country, to be a place where all such votes are counted and valued equally. I would like to believe that every one of those voting to exit voted in this way – to do so would certainly make life easier for me. unfortunately, my head tells me that they did not.
I think that there will be a period now of uncertainty and political upheaval.
I think that there is very little possibility now that we will not leave the EU, so I need to accept that.
I think that worrying about things I cannot control is like stabbing holes in the sides of my own life-raft and then worrying that it will sink. far better to put down the penknife, pick up the oars, and start paddling.
sending good thoughts to those reading this in the UK, in the rest of Europe, and around the world, particularly those in the US for your upcoming elections.
doing what I have learnt to do:
go for a run. keep my family close. practice gratitude. don’t eat ALL the cakes – one is fine. reach out to online and real-life friends. try and find some hope.