What happened on the 23rd of June? Oh yeah, it was my birthday. It was also the EU referendum. I was ill with a nasty cold and headache that made me dizzy when I stood upright, and so was my husband and son, so our household were all miserable and grouchy. Also it was raining stair-rods and it continued to rain like the emptying of God’s bathtub all day long, while the light struggled to grow brighter than funeral-appropriate charcoal.
In this festive weather DH and I, and son, went out to vote to remain in the EU. There’s a long subplot to this story that involves taking son to the doctors’ for his injection only to find it had been stored wrong and he’d have to come back tomorrow when they’d got some new stuff in, and then the car breaking down in the rain on the way back, but I’m not going into that.
What I am saying is that I went to bed confident that everyone in their right minds had turned out to vote Remain, and that life would carry on without much upheaval in the morning.
First thing I heard this morning was DH going “Bugger. They’ve voted to leave.”
So, now it looks like we’ve shot ourselves in the foot, shut ourselves in with far right Conservatives and UKIP nutters actually having a chance to turn back the clock to Dickensian times, potentially lost Scotland and Northern Ireland as part of the Union and are looking at becoming more alone than we’ve been for three hundred years.
Time to take the ‘Great’ off Britain, I think. In fact, will we even need the term ‘Britain’ any more?
I’ve spent the day trying not to panic. It’s certainly a boot up the backside to my complaisant belief that nobody could really take UKIP seriously – that nothing could really go world-changingly wrong. I take some comfort from the stats that say the overwhelming bulk of the people who voted to leave are old – older even than me. As we die off, things should get better. (A cheery thought.)
And in the mean time it’s time for those of us who thought it was certain that sanity and compassion would win the day to realize that it’s not certain unless we fight for it. I’ve always voted and I will continue to vote, but clearly more is needed. I don’t know what exactly I can do, but I can at least make sure I’m speaking up against xenophobia and far right fascism before it spreads any further. My age demographic is the most evenly balanced on issues of social justice, so perhaps just talking to them about politics will help.
Remaining silent certainly won’t. God save us!
Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.