Brexit: The Fallout

Yesterday I wanted to write something because it seemed appropriate to claim my loss and attempt to express my sadness and bitter disappointment. Today I want to talk about the fallout. Not the political fallout or the economic implications; I want to talk about what’s happening out there at street level and on social media.

I want to talk about the range of emotions being expressed on both sides. From the Remain camp I have seen everything from gracious acceptance to poisonous vitriol. And from the Brexit side there has been both quiet celebration and cruel derision. Friends and family have clashed, angry words have been splattered on the walls. Remain wants to tell Brexit that they are stupid and racist. Brexit wants to tell Remain that they are petulant and don’t understand democracy.

The thing is, I don’t really think Remain are angry because they don’t understand democracy; they’re angry because this doesn’t feel like democracy. Let’s think back to the Scottish Referendum in 2014. Those who wanted independence were angry with those who did not when the result of the voting was announced. But not to this extent. And I can’t help but to think that there’s one simple reason for that: The possibility of Scottish Independence had not completely disappeared. There was always the chance of a second bite at the cherry. Perhaps not for more than a generation, but it was there. The result was not irrevocable. With Brexit, 48% of the electorate have been dragged into something they not only didn’t want, but which is also irreversible. There will never be anything that can be done to change this decision if the outcome is not favourable. So to tell over 16 million people to grow up and pipe down is, when you look at it like that, more than a little lacking in empathy.

That being said, I do not advocate the insults that I have seen and heard being bandied about since yesterday morning. It is not acceptable to cry “racist!” at every person who voted to leave. It is, frankly, offensive to tell another person they are stupid because their beliefs do not mirror your own. Maybe not everyone who voted to leave the EU did so off the back of sound research and reasoned argument, but that doesn’t mean that you get to call them an idiot.

I have grown accustomed to losing. It’s synonymous with wanting the best for everyone. So yesterday’s result came as no surprise to me. But it was, all the same, a terrible shock. And shock and surprise are not the same thing. At a party at which Surprise and Shock are both guests, Surprise delicately sips rose wine at a quiet table while Shock slams vodka shots at the bar. They know each other and are often in the same room together, but they are very different animals. Shock is a bit of a dick after a few shots, and he often encourages people to say and do things that they would not normally say and do. I’m not excusing bad behaviour, violence or offensive language borne of Shock, but sometimes it is an undesirable side-effect.

Here’s what I hope for the future of this country: I hope that we can heal. Forget the stuff we don’t know, forget the uncertainty of our future. There is only this; that we must not let our differences drive us apart. If we do, we are letting the worst amongst us win. We are legitimising everything they believe in and stand for, and we become no better than the racists, bigots and xenophobes – and they exist – whom we are so quick to decry. I know that it won’t be easy for us to forgive each other, and I equally know that it could well be a slow process, but it’s important that we try.

Yesterday, the first person I hugged (aside from my husband and sons) was a colleague who had backed Brexit. When she realised that we had voted for opposing sides, she asked me, “Are we going to fight?” I replied that of course we weren’t going to fight and gave her a cuddle. The second person I hugged was an elderly lady who came into my work with her husband. She asked me why it was so quiet in town and I suggested that perhaps everyone was at home watching TV. I make no exaggeration when I say that she literally welled up as she said, very quietly, “I can’t talk about that. I feel as though I’ve lost a limb. What have they done to us?” I told her that I was very sad too and we embraced in solidarity. I believe that this is what we need. We need to support one another through this transitional period. We need to tell each other, “It is going to be alright”.

I hope that this rift will heal before our children can inherit it alongside whatever consequences – good or bad – that Brexit may have in store for us.

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26 comments

  1. Helen Cherry · June 25

    Thank you for this.. I voted remain and I am finding it very difficult to forgive those who have thrown us into such uncertainty.. I lived in Ireland for many years and my 2 grown-up children who are both Irish and, like me, now living in the UK are immigrants.. They don’t feel comfortable right now.. where my daughter works some colleagues were talking, disparagingly, about all the European Immigrants coming into the country and my daughter pointed out that she is a European Immigrant. They said they didn’t mean her… sigh. I can easily imagine this is happening up and down the country… so sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 26

      From what I’ve seen, it’s happening everywhere and it is disgusting. As I said in this post, I know that there are many – hopefully the majority – people out there who voted to leave for economic reasons. Some even voted out of anger at and protest against the government (which, of course, will change nothing because that is what general elections are for). But the inconvenient truth is that this referendum has legitimised and given rise to racism and that cannot be ignored. So as well as working together to heal from this divide, we also need to work together against the true racists and xenophobes who want to make our country a state of white supremacy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Helen Cherry · June 26

    This is happening in the town next to me.. http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/reports-of-no-more-polish-vermin-signs-distributed-in-huntingdon/story-29443411-detail/story.html I feel so ashamed.. I am going to be leaving facebook for a while.. and maybe Twitter too while I think about what I can actually do.. to help stop England in particular, sinking further into a racist quagmire.

    Like

    • Motherhood IRL · June 26

      I’ve seen this on the news. It’s disgusting. I can’t believe the things I’m seeing. And I am just speechless over the fact that some of the people who voted to leave genuinely believed that getting us out of the EU meant we could make every single EU immigrant in the country, effectively, political refugees. Do they not realise that not only is that not how this works, but that a large number of those people have children who were born here and are, as a result, BRITISH citizens? It’s vile.
      Like I said in the post, there are plenty of people who voted to leave for reasons not related to immigration, but for those who did, this behaviour seems to now be legitimised.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. great post. I feel like ive lost a limb too. I didn’t think id feel so impacted but I do. my family and family in law voted leave and we haven’t spoken for a few days because it just seems to raw. they sent a gloating text and hubby and I just didn’t reply. what can we say. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 26

      I cried on and off from 4am on Friday. I was – and still am – heartbroken. I don’t know how I will forgive my colleagues whom I know voted against me, but I will not say angry words to them. I refuse to widen this cavernous divide. However, your family sending a gloating text on Friday morning is unnecessary and wrong. Would you have done the same had the shoe been on the other foot? Probably not, and neither would I.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. themotherhub · June 26

    God the divisions that this referendum has highlighted are just awful . I am a remain myself but I feel ultimately sadness for those who voted leave , for the fear they seem to live under of people only looking for a better life.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. beccaweatherall · June 26

    A brilliant article and you have highlighted the importance of what we need to do now regardless of which way we have voted. I have been in a state of shock and mourning since 4am Friday morning and I need to keep reading articles like this to get back on track. Thank you. x #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 26

      You’re not alone; I’ve been right there with you. Even having written this, it is not going to be easy for me to heal both myself and the rifts between me and some of my friends, neighbours and colleagues. But I hope that in time, we will all be able to forgive each other and salvage what we can of our previous relationships to each other. X

      Like

  6. Lydia C. Lee · June 26

    I’m not in the UK but I’m stunned at the stories of race-hate signs and things being yelled at people. I had assumed it was all economically based until someone pointed out to me this other side. That said, as the world spirals into an economic collapse, those that voted to leave will be viewed as the catalyst. We now watch with fear the rise of Trump and the end of the world as we know it….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 26

      You know, it sounds a lot like hyperbole, but this referendum genuinely has given rise to the extreme right in this country and that is no small thing.

      Like

  7. 2travellingtots · June 27

    Such an amazing piece of writing! Highlights how we all feel I think! I’m not angry with those who voted to leave but I’m not going to pretend I understand it because I just don’t! It is sad to see the country split down the middle because let’s face it despite the claims it was a pretty close run thing! I also worry for my kids futures, to the point that we are now seriously considering moving abroad (we were anyway but this has made us look at it in a different light) and yes maybe that is running away but if that’s what it takes to give my kids a better future that’s what we’ll do xxx

    Like

    • Motherhood IRL · June 27

      We have also looked at this option, Laura. And living around here makes it even more of an attractive option because we are definitely in the minority as far as our opinion on this matter goes! It’s a really worrying time, but I hope we can all pull together to get through it. X

      Like

  8. 2travellingtots · June 27

    We are definitely outnumbered yes! x

    Like

  9. laughing mum · June 27

    I think that everyone just needs a decent amount of time to process it all. Ultimately we are all going to have to get it together because whats done is done, and now we have to move forward (united preferably) regardless, because if we don’t unite, THAT is what is going to our downfall! The people were given a choice and the people have spoken, it was done in fair way. We MIGHT even thrive and be better off as an independent country, we don’t know…there are others that make it work phenomenally well, why can’t be like those? I say we all pull up our socks and crack on, it will only work if we all make it work, and as we have no further choice in the matter it makes sense to stick together and be great, rather than fall out and become totally divided forever. #kcacols

    Like

    • Motherhood IRL · June 27

      I think it’s important that we all give each other time to think and yes, to mourn. Because it would be unfair not to acknowledge that there are people in this country really grieving this loss and really afraid of what the future looks like.

      Like

  10. Jenni - Odd Socks and Lollipops · June 27

    I can honestly say I have never felt as devastated as I did when I woke up and saw the results. I am not sure what’s worse all of the lies, the fact that so many people believed the lies, the fact that people voted leave and then regretted it or ‘didn’t think it would count’, the fact that my husband is Danish and we don’t know exactly how all this is going to effect us – or the fact that the result seems to have legitimised racism for some people and each day since, I have read on social media about all the horrible things that are being said to people… #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 27

      I agree with you. I was heartbroken. I was afraid this might happen, but I hoped that I was wrong. I hoped that those who wanted to Leave were just louder because they were angry. But I really do hope we can all come out of this and be okay, even though I know it will take time.

      Like

  11. Educating Roversi · June 27

    First thing I’ve read that I’ve understood and thats made sense! I voted remain and felt very sad on Friday when the result was announced but you’re right, people shouldn’t be fighting over it. My thoughts now is that we just have a wait and see what happens…and pull together as a country. #KCACOLS

    Like

    • Motherhood IRL · June 27

      Obviously I won’t let racism pass, but that goes without saying. We should all call it out when we see it. But there’s no point in being assholes to each other. It’s done now and whether it’s a good or bad thing, there’s nothing to do now but live with it and mend the broken relationships between us.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. The Speed Bump · June 29

    Very well said! I totally agree with you. However, I think it may be too late; some relationships and friendships have fractured in ways that I don’t think they’ll ever be able to heal. Personally, I’m ashamed of my Leave-voting (mostly for racist reasons, as they’ve admitted!) community, and we’re looking to move. We may not stay in the EU, but at least we’ll be with tolerant people! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 29

      Oh, I’m with you there! We have a large community of Polish people in my town who are mostly lovely people (because c’mon, like the whole fucking indigenous population of the U.K. is made up of stellar people, right?!) who work bloody hard. Now they are being persecuted by people who voted to Leave here purely on the grounds of racism and intolerance because now they feel like it’s okay.
      So I’m perfectly accepting of those who voted to Leave for economic reasons or because they’re just pissed off (even though taking their frustrations with the government out on the EU is totally backwards), but the scum who were just looking for some kind of white British supremacy state? Nah. They can take a long walk off a short pier!

      Like

  13. Its a difficult subject to comment on i feel. I would like everyone to accept what the result is and move forward towards what ever future we have now. Yes there will be lots of change but we can not stop it. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday x

    Like

  14. Kat · June 30

    You have wrote this much better than I ever could. Despite the result not being what I wanted, we all need to move forward together, work together and stand together. We shall see what happens. #kcacols

    Like

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