Brexit hasn’t properly started yet but just the sheer fact of it being decided has profoundly psychologically impacted on how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with the world. Everything feels different. There’s a feeling of being more constrained, smaller, of being culturally alone and communally detached. Being on holiday in Europe there was a real sense that all these other nationalities are part of a club that I’m now excluded from and they are planning all sorts of new co-operative shared initiatives that I can now only observe.
Marooned on this small island, governed by the most right wing ideologues in this section of the planet, doesn’t help this sense of being adrift in an interconnected world. The rest of Europe will be getting on with building shared institutions whilst isolated Tory UK will be getting down to the business of scrapping the Human Rights Act. The loss of access to the free movement of peoples across our continent is probably the most self damaging decision we have made in our island history. The access that my generation had to mix, work, learn and build relationships with our European friends will be lost to the next generation as Europe reciprocates in kind by closing down the continent to Brits. This decision has denied our young people all those opportunities and experiences that we simply took for granted. This generation of young people have every right to feel angered and aggrieved at the isolated, inward looking United Kingdom they will now be bequeathed.
And then there are the reasons that underpin why we’re doing all of this. A massive distrust, even contempt, of others who want to come and live and work amongst us. An agenda based on suspicion, insecurity and most of all fear. What a cultural basis to start this singular, self dependent journey into splendid isolation. Departing the European Union as a project is the culmination of decades of work by UKIP and right wing Conservatives. It is their agenda that has prevailed and will influence our journey into solitude.
Then there was how this was won. The biggest pack of lies ever presented to this nation. £350 million per week would to be returned to our NHS just being the most obvious example of the rubbish claimed by people no longer a feature of our national politics, and rightly returned to the obscurity where they belong. Then there is what has happened since. The sense of trauma, a feeling of ‘good god what have we done!’, a rise in racist attacks and intimidation of immigrant communities, a ‘philosophical’ approach to declining currency values, downgrading of credit ratings, stock market crashes and deep, deep uncertainty and insecurity. There is still a feeling of disbelief about all of this and the looking for someone to pick up all these shattered pieces.
I’m now told that I should look for the positives in this appalling decision. We’re back ‘in control’, our borders will ‘be secure’, powers will be ‘returned’ and we are free from ‘unelected bureaucrats’. They can frankly shove all that nonsense where the European summer sun don’t shine. There is absolutely nothing positive to be taken from this vote and it still feels like something to be mourned.
But Brexit means Brexit, we are blithely reassured, as if making it alright. What Brexit actually means is unfettered Tory rule unconstrained by the positive influence of partners. It means isolation and deep introspection. It means insecurity, uncertainty and absolutely no plan on how we deal with it. It means closing down the continent to our young people and denying tariff free trade to our businesses.
I still hope that my nation, a nation that voted for continuing partnership and inclusion, can still escape the ramifications of this vote. Scotland wanted none of this and Scotland’s view should be respected. I think you can tell I’m still struggling to be reconciled to this awful decision. Scotland should also continue to be angered and unreconciled about it too.