I am not ashamed to say that I cried every evening for a week after the EU referendum. In an attempt to avoid thinking about it for as long as possible, every evening I would prolong my children’s bedtime routine, read them an extra story and hug them for a little longer than usual. But as soon as I sat down, there ‘it’ was – on the news and across social media and it felt impossible to escape from the confusion and chaos.
As the days rolled on, I found it harder – not easier – to digest. I felt a weird sickness all the time and the moments I spent not thinking about it were fewer than the hours spent talking and worrying about it. It got to the point, maybe 3 or 4 days after the result, whereby I was genuinely afraid of what each new day would bring. Watching the news scared me. With monumental events occurring so quickly and in such an unprecedented manner, it made it difficult to keep up and take stock of what exactly was going on. Political analysts struggled to make sense of it all so there was no hope for me.
So, why did I cry every night for a week? Was it simply because I was a sore loser? Was it because I don’t like it when I don’t get my own way? Or was it because I am a ‘lefty liberal’? (just a few of the common jibes from some of those who voted Leave). Maybe there is a smidge of truth in the first one, simply because I didn’t believe in a million years that we would have a Leave majority. And of course, because of my lifestyle and social beliefs, I would be described by some as a ‘lefty liberal’. But this is far preferable to the alternative term of ‘right-wing loon’.
The reasons I cried (and still cry now) are many. I cried initially from the shock and the worry of the complete unknown, and then for the immediate spike in racists jumping out of their racist little closets, believing they were suddenly legitimised to spew out all their sick predicable bile at anyone who spoke a different language or had a different skin tone. I cried for many personal reasons; our dreams of moving abroad in the future seemed suddenly less achievable, and the knowledge that our children wouldn’t be able to rock up in Amsterdam with 50 euros and get a job a few hours later, or pick strawberries in Denmark or have any of the other amazing experiences that I was able to have across Europe with ease. The breadth of their futures were limited overnight.
As the news did begin to sink in, I also began to realise the potential effect it could have on our business – a business still in its start-up years and a business that would suffer greatly if we were dealt with another recession. It felt like all our years of hard work could slip away from us because of something completely out of our control.
Overall, the thing that I feel saddest about is the fact that I now truly feel that I have nothing in common with a huge proportion of the British population, and the fact that things just feel different now. I do believe that a large number of Leave voters did so based on issues surrounding immigration – some deny it, yet some wear it as a badge of pride. From my exchanges with Leave voters, it seems that they do indeed blame immigrants for everything from housing issues, GP waiting times and school places. But instead of directing their anger at the real people responsible – the government, they read their inflammatory News Corp headlines and tell Polish families to ‘go home’. Instead of the culturally diverse and accepting society that we currently have, these people want the complete opposite.
For me, the shock and grief has finally given way to a more productive anger. Although my initial feelings were that I just wanted to run away and live in a forest, right now reality prevents this so we’ve got to battle on. And besides, I never like to give up on things. Admittedly I have limited my social media and news intake over the last week which has helped me to focus more on my business and worry slightly less about things that I really can’t control. The more I know, then the angrier I feel about it all so I needed to take a step back.
Amidst all the chaos, a great many of us looked for a leader that we could believe in – something to cling on to when it felt like everything that was happening was just a frat boy game to many of our politicians. I can’t even bring myself to write a blog about how angry I am at Cameron (a man who put his penis in a dead pig’s mouth – please never forget this), Osborne, Farage, Johnson and many others, so instead my next blog will be about the person whom I have chosen to put my faith in – the first politician I have ever truly believed in. During these past couple of weeks, this politician has given me the only glimmer of hope and sanity in this sea of madness so I will be happy to explain my reasons for why I will be standing firm for Jeremy Corbyn.