Sunday, 26 June 2016

So, what Remains now?

Given that I made my 'Remain' views clear before the referendum, I shall use this space to reflect on my reaction to the whole process and result.

Disappointment doesn't get close to how I felt on Friday morning. I am deeply fearful for our future. My generation will probably suffer nothing worse than a few unpleasant ripples. I only hope that, by the time my grandchildren are adult, new bridges have been built with Europe and a commitment to peace is sustained. History would suggest I'm a hopeless optimist.

Meanwhile, we all have to pick up the threads of our lives.

But it's not true that we can do nothing. We can continue to live with integrity and dignity and uphold the principles underpinning the European Union even when we've left: opposition to racism, sexism and homophobia in all its forms, upholding the dignity of working people and disabled people and protecting their rights, compassion for those in need or fleeing persecution. We can challenge xenophobia. We can hold our representatives accountable, especially when they fail to keep promises.

Many of us can do this because we have the education that has enabled us to think in this way, and are well-enough paid to meet our own immediate needs and still have energy to engage with political processes. We have social opportunities that are denied to millions. For what this referendum has exposed is the depth of the disaffection felt by those who have felt excluded - socially, economically and politically - for decades, and the failure of Westminster to begin to understand that. Unfortunately, I can't see that changing in the short term. Whatever happens next it seems likely that the government will be run by rich white men from posh schools and Oxford - men who would feel an urgent need to wash their hands if they ever entered the house of an unemployed steel worker. And it might be worth reflecting, as we try to get to grips with our own feelings of alienation when faced with Brexiteers, that many may have felt like this for decades and no one has listened.

What can we do? Not a lot? It would, surely, be arrogant for anyone outside disaffected communities to begin to speak for them. But we can listen. We can try to understand. We can join movements that seek to bring the powerful to account when they ride roughshod, yet again, over the powerless. After all, right now we know how they feel.

And it is fine to want to smack Farage. It's just not okay to do it.

And, for those who have space to even notice anything else going on in the world at the moment, Frogs and Frigate Birds is out!!! Give me a week or two and I'll tell you more about it. Here is the link for readers in the UK.

18 comments:

  1. Oh Jo! I am so sad for the future of this country...and for the world..the rise of the far right, the 'justification' the 'posh toffs' have given or racist behaviour sickens me. I will behave in a civilized manner, and pray, and hope that a better world is created. Sorry, but I may have to kick Farage....

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    1. After his behaviour at the European Parliament today, kicking him is fine!

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  2. I too feel sad for the world but I'm afraid we've been heading for troubles whichever way the referendum had gone. There's too much extremism and hatred of other cultures and beliefs out there for us to feel safe and secure even in our homes. Terrorism is an insidious form of war and that's what our country and over half the world is facing. I fear but I would have feared whatever the results.

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    1. We are certainly living in frightening times.

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  3. A great post Jo, I can't believe that a man like Farage has become so powerful, I wonder if that was what it was like when Mossley and his supporters were on the march. Trying not to be to gloomy or pessimistic but, I sometimes feel as if we are on the eve of terrible events. I pray we ain't!

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    1. The parallel with Moseley is frightening - but there are good people doing good stuff as well (Nicola Stugeon, for instance). We need to hang onto that,

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  4. Spot on, Jo. Wonderful post. Please can we kick Boris and Gove as well, though?

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    1. Given how things are evolving, yes we can!

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  5. Right with you! And I might have to join that queue, which will surely grow, behind Carol to kick Farage...

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    1. The queue gets longer by the day.

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  6. A good analysis, Jo. I specially agree with your point about trying to understand dispossessed and poor. It doesn't mean their views were right, but now we are in their shoes, with our views ignored by people who don't care about us, we need to remember how it feels! My biggest fear now is a long term one if Boris becomes PM, as he is (incredibly to me) apparently tipped to do. He's been fired from 2 different posts for lying, and in London he surrounded himself by cronies, and got involved in some very dodgy stuff. London developed a huge reputation for money laundering and corruption, which has warped the housing market with awful results for those who are not rich. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f454e3ec-fc02-11e5-b5f5-070dca6d0a0d.html#axzz4Cm5r0NIQ I would hate for him to follow a similar path with Britain. I really don't want us to become the Panama of the Western world.

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    1. Thanks for that link. We can only hope the Tories realise what a charlatan he is,

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  7. It's a dismal Britain at present. The Leavers, who didn't believe they would win the vote, are slowly realising their folly as the pound plummets to a 30-year low and their standard of living slips.

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    1. They told lies, didn't beleive, didn't even have a plan!

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  8. Well said, Jo. I fear a domino effect all over Europe, the right wing populists are raising their heads all over calling for their own exits. I hope this is a warning now. What worries me is the ignorance displayed by some as if a vote such as this is like clicking a like button on facebook but maybe that's just the way the media picks stories.
    Well, farage the MEP is out of job now. I wonder if he can apply for a pension based on his "work" in Brussels.

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    1. Some people were beginning to realise just what they've voted for, which I suppose is something. It's the racists that are creeping out of the woodwork that terrify me.

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  9. I got the book. As for the rest, this ex-Brit remains surprised and interested. She follows the views but doesn't express any.

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    1. You well away from it all, Miriam!

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