Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Dear Brexit

Dear Brexit,

(I feel I should pause here just to let those who know me well get past the fact that I'm involving myself in politics...and more importantly, that I know the word Brexit...and what it means. You can close your mouth now, start breathing again and give me my cookie later).

Now where was I...

Ah, yes. Brexit. ARE. YOU. MAD? Now look what you've done! I mean it's all very well feeling a bit hard done by, or very hard done by. To feel like your needs have not been listened to or that you're living a life that you didn't choose based on decisions you didn't feel in control of. I understand that. I do. But this is not the answer.

A week ago, you were feeling frustrated that you were living in a country controlled by people outside, people who don't live in your Great Britain bubble. That is a tad annoying, yes. But you were also frustrated because, despite what you may now like to argue, to try and make yourselves feel better about the awful decision you made, you were living on an island run by people who also didn't seem to listen to your needs. The people in here running the island, on the island. The people we call politicians. Government. You weren't happy with them. So what did you do? You threw your toys out of the pram. You stuck your tongue out, blew a raspberry and said:

"Nah nah nah naaa naaa! I don't like you so I'm going to vote............."


Vote what though? You felt so proud of your little revolt that you failed to realize that what you were doing was sticking your tongue out at the annoying little boys in the playground who try and tell you what toys you can and can't use, and then locked yourself in a room with them! You thought 'I don't like you and how you treat me so I'm going to teach you a lesson...I'm going to wave goodbye to all my friends, abandon my friendship group on the other side of the monkey bars, and I'm going to go and lock myself in the Wendy house with you and see what happens'.

Do you see where you went wrong yet? I mean, you locked yourself in the Wendy house with the guys you don't like...and you shouted names at your friends outside. Forgive me if I'm missing something (as I wrote at the beginning, politics isn't my strength..) but this seems like a little bit of a shit plan. Now we're stranded on an island and you don't like the people in charge. Well done. Pat on the back.

Then there's the second big mistake that a lot of your cohort have made. You argued that you wanted your country back, that you wanted the 'outsiders' gone and our little ol' island back to how it was in the good old days. Once again, forgive me if I sound stupid, but we kind of, definitely, need those 'outsiders' to keep our home afloat. Unless you live in a completely different world to mine, I find it hard to believe that you have never relied on someone from another of our brother and sister countries to help you when you were stuck. Someone who treated you in hospital when you were ill, drove that taxi to take you home when you were too drunk to even remember your own name, to provide you with that delicious pizza you ordered from your favourite take-away down the road or to clean up the mess you created in the living room while celebrating the rugby results in your union jack underwear while eating your fish and chips.

Even I got my creativity on...pretty proud of this one
Over the last few days there have been some amazing demonstrations of creativity from the Bremain side. Facebook status' and memes' to express what this decision was based on. Articles. Cartoons. The lot. One that I read described how, now that we are free from the bounds of the EU, we will:

'wake up in [my] Union Jack jim-jams to the sound of a squadron of Spitfires racing overhead and leaving a trail of hot buttered crumpets behind them'

(You should read the rest of that one here, it's great!)

Even Winnie-the-Pooh got involved! He tried to explain to Piglet that voting out was never going to change anything, other than for the bad. Although it was promised that the Heffalumps invading the wood would diminish in number, that animals such as little Piglet would regain control of Hundred Acre Wood and the NHS would be fixed...as Pooh most elegantly puts it 'that was all bollocks'.

It's like at school, when the children are told to vote for their next head girl or boy. A child stands up there on the podium, 11-years old, quaking in her little Clarks velcro's and says: 'I promise that if you vote for me, we'll have chocolate biscuits and orange juice instead of milk and plain digestives, every day for the entire year'.

She gets her badge. Do we get our chocolate biscuits and orange juice?


The situation we are in now is like that classroom but on a much bigger scale and instead of chocolate biscuits and orange juice, you were promised a crumpet filled, union jack covered, roast dinner serving paradise with a wonderful NHS, white-skinned, Queens-English-speaking streets and God knows what else. The reality is, Farage and his minions have the head boy badges and the streets are filled with racist comments and accusations and the withdrawal of big people and money that we need to survive as a nation, a nation from which we won't even be able to escape across the waters as quickly and easily as we could before. A nation where, on top of it all, the headteacher, who led us all into this mess, deciding to take early retirement as soon as he realized his pupils weren't happy.

Great! Now we might be stuck with the dude with the funny white hair who started the whole bikes in London business. Boris...I mean, who does that to a child!...

I spent 5 years at a boarding school where a large number of the students weren't British and where some of my closest friends were from a range of countries. When it came to choosing university, I had an offer from Exeter. Ignoring the beyond crazy percentage of my course that would have been exam based and the fact that the grades they were asking for were ridiculous, one of the big factors pushing me away from choosing to go there was the student population. Largely white and middle class. If I wanted that, I could have just stayed at home in my little west Berkshire village bubble for the whole of eternity. I wanted the big city, multicultural surroundings, friends from all walks of life. QMUL provided that, with over 50% of the students "non white" whether international or having grown up in Britain. I love London and I'm so happy that I'm staying there for at least another 2 years if not longer. An international bubble in national crisis mode. 

I wished I was in charge once too...so I dressed as the Queen...
but I didn't leave the EU..and look, I'm happy! You won't be for long.
The point is, you screwed up. Families sat in front of their tellies feeling fairly confident that, despite the risks, the UK would pull itself together and, of course, everything would be fine! Eight hours later and people are on the phone crying. Families are devastated and even those who voted for this outcome are having major regrets. The number of time we've had to switch off the TV or the radio as someone is interviewed saying they voted out but 'I wish I hadn't'....or they voted out 'but I didn't think my vote would matter'. It's ridiculous. It's scary and it's sad.

It's sad that people feel so under the control and power of others that they genuinely feel it won't matter how they vote in something like this because what will happen, will happen. People feel they can use a vote on as important a matter as this to get back at the people they feel hurt them or that they can use this vote to defend what they describe as 'the country our grandparents fought to protect'. Our grandparents or great grandparents, or whoever people like to use, didn't fight to protect our right to a proper English Breakfast every morning and bunting hanging in the streets over our roast chicken and home-grown broccoli, they fought to help protect the people around us who were being hurt. People who, until 5 days ago, we were united with. People who now, we've turned our backs on.

For what?

For the sake of some crumpets and a cup of tea.

Cupcake, my dear Brexiteer?...I'm afraid they're slightly old
and I can't guarantee all the ingredients are British
These may be enjoyed by the numbers of lovely elderly folk who sit with a smile on their face that they've got their childhood back, but it isn't going to last. Soon, your bubble will burst and all you will have done is sent your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren down that path ahead without knowing yourselves what is at the end. You've strung your pretty union jack bunting up around the living room, popped on the kettle and settled down to planning your 80th birthday bash. Meanwhile, your 17 year old granddaughter down the road didn't get a chance to vote for her future.

You made that decision for her and you won't be there to hold her hand as she falls.

So, Brexit, I hope you get the message. You made a booboo. We all do it. But yours was a big one. You didn't just throw your toys out of the pram but you threw a match out after them and set the whole house on fire. Soon you'll realize that the firemen aren't coming to save you but until then, enjoy your crumpets, we'll be over here, in the playroom, tidying up your mess.

Most ungratefully,

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