On Friday morning I took a taxi from Waterloo station across to the Montcalm Hotel in The City. It was an interesting day to be in London. Naturally, the cabbie and I started a conversation about the morning’s events following the referendum vote of the previous day. I have often found black cab drivers to be some of the most knowledgeable and down to earth people I have ever met, and this one was no exception. I was surprised and comforted to hear his thoughts. He informed me that he believed that people of his age and over shouldn’t have really been allowed to vote. They had had their ‘time’, their ‘career’ and really, whatever happened ‘it don’t matter to them'(sic). It did to his kids though and he told me that, because of the result, he was genuinely worried about their future. As our journey progressed, he showed himself to be a man who had put a lot of thought into his decision. After seeing this table below shared on Facebook, I could see that he certainly had a point about the over sixties.
I was one of those people who woke up on Friday morning at some ungodly hour and started to watch the news unfold as the result of probably the most important vote for this country in my lifetime showed itself. As it did, and over the course of the past few days, I have seen smug posts on Facebook from people who had voted leave, news reports of people who had voted leave and then wish they hadn’t, some awful racist tweets, people despairing and saying that they want to leave the country (and are seriously looking into it), a petition set up for a 2nd referendum…originally by a Leave voter prior to the 23rd June but now being used by those who wanted to remain!!, an article about the Banks making moves to leave the UK as well as a article written by Nick Clegg preempting pretty much everything that has happened so far and, experienced first hand, the genuine fear of not only foreign people living in this country but also of those greatly concerned – understandably – for our economy. Plus, David Cameron was damned if he stayed, and damned if he didn’t.
I have never really been a political person but I, for one, voted remain (and I don’t care who knows it). For so very many reasons. I am one of the most British people you will ever meet. I love this country and I
was am so proud of it. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that we should pull together with the rest of Europe. What I am not proud of is the way that people, including members of the same family, have started to disagree about what has happened and fall out with each other – whichever side of the fence they are on. Everyone has a right to an opinion and that has now been cast. People should respect the decision that has been made but they also have a right to express their feelings peacefully without others condemning it.
What I do worry about most in all of this is that it has given the sickening racists amongst us carte blanche to start making threats and saying things that (I hope) many of us Brits don’t feel. I worry that we will now go backwards when we were doing so well at going forwards. I travelled the tube this morning. Mainly because I wanted to go and take some photography on the underground, but, as I sat there amongst the Jewish, the Chinese, the Americans, the French and the Indians and many others, I had a feeling of concern for the first time ever that at least one of those people might think I am a racist. Me, a person who likes to live and let live, a caucasian woman, who for the first time felt embarrassed about the colour of my skin! I am all for making sure that this country doesn’t get over-crowded but it didn’t mean that we had to leave the EU to get this under control, surely?! I then walked across to the South Bank where a mixture of people were enjoying the mid-morning sunshine and the eclectic mix of entertainment under the watch of the London Eye. Then I sat in tears on the wall, watching this and wondering what next? A lovely Asian man came over and asked me if I was OK. I thanked him and told him I was.
This vote was so much bigger than a general election and should have been taken so much more seriously than some people did. Take the interview with this woman on Sky.
I have heard some say that many of those who voted Labour should have just shut up after the Tories got in. Of course they had a right to an opinion but at least for them there would be another chance in around 4 years time. Not so for the Remain voters of the referendum and that is why they should be allowed to have their say and feel their feelings – whether it be on their blog, on a Facebook post, on Twitter or wherever – because for them there won’t be ‘another chance’ in 4 years time.
As I said in a Facebook post on Friday, I don’t bear any malice towards anyone who voted leave. I just want them to prove those in the Remain camp wrong. Surely we should work together, united in this, to make what has been decided work for everyone? Que sera sera. In my opinion, having a second referendum would make a mockery of the first, make the leavers complain that their vote wasn’t taken seriously and make the remain voters look weaker than I believe they actually are.
Maybe it won’t be as good as the leavers hoped and maybe it won’t be as bad as the remainers feel but I just hope that this country can now pull together in a dignified way, find someone with the balls to lead us from the front and find a way through the complete and utter shambles that it is quickly materialising into.