Saturday, 25 June 2016

A Time for a Break

Friends, I have decided to take a break from social media for a couple of weeks. The outcome of the EU referendum has meant that I am seeing a great deal of nastiness on Facebook and Twitter. Whilst in the most part my friends have been pretty decent about this, and a special thanks to Josh here for being especially nice despite being on the other side of the vote to me, there have been people sharing posts saying that anyone who is unhappy with the outcome of the referendum is a whinger. This crassly insensitive approach is unnecessary and offensive to me. Had remain won there is no way I would have posted articles or memes telling leavers to stop whinging. People have real concerns about Europe and whilst I do not share those concerns I would never belittle my friend’s worries in such a nasty way. It disappoints me that some friends of mine have done so. On my side I have allowed myself to be provoked by this and responded discourteously which is disappointing. I have heard that there have been many remain voters being unnecessarily rude to leave voters. This is unhelpful, offensive and again unnecessary.

I have also seen a worrying trend in the increase of offensive behaviour by the extreme right who wrongly believe that an out vote is because people share their morally abhorrent views. Some seem to believe that the out vote has somehow given them licence to be racially offensive to people from other countries and Muslims. This is especially apparent on Twitter and the LBC comments where the trolling messages relating to the EU vote have seemed to be increasingly racially charged. I place the blame for this on the leave campaign for their irresponsible rhetoric throughout the referendum where they blamed immigrants for every problem facing the country.
A Note to Leave Voters:

Many people I know are scared by the result of the referendum. There is now massive uncertainty surrounding our futures; hence the fall in the pound and the global stock markets. Nobody knows what is going to happen now, anyone that tells you they do know is either fooling themselves or a liar. A senior member of the Leave campaign quite openly said that manufacturing in the UK would go as a result of a vote to leave. If this is true people are going to lose their jobs. Uncertainty in business as a result of this vote could mean less spending from businesses which would mean the potential for lower economic growth. Lower economic growth for ordinary people means further pay freezes more government austerity and less full time jobs as businesses seek to reduce costs. Whilst this is a worst case scenario and I am hopeful this will not happen, we simply cannot be sure. After stagnating wage growth over the last six years, further wage freezes are a real worry for people struggling to pay their bills every month.

You may disagree with these worries and think they are unfounded, but to belittle these views as whinging is at best unpleasant. I ask you to bear with us remain voters. Let us get to grips with the fact that the UK is going to change forever. Change is scary without all of these additional worries that I have highlighted above. Give your friends some license to be upset and support them. Trust me they will appreciate it as I appreciate the support I have been given.

A Note to Remain Voters

Not everyone who voted leave and did so for concerns about immigration is a racist. As an optimist and from experience I would say most UK people are not racist. Now the Leave campaign have won, if there were views that lead your leave voting friends to vote out that you disagree with, take the time to explain in the less charged climate (with a vote no longer imminent) in a patient and friendly way where you disagree. Whilst I believe a second referendum is unlikely, now is a good time to challenge people’s views and point out the lies of the Out campaign as they all unravel.
There is time before the UK leaves the EU. The complete absence of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove from the frontline since the Leave vote went through is because the Leave campaign have no plan for what happens next. Our job is to ensure we play a part in shaping the UK’s future relationship with Europe. Maybe we can model one of the other European countries relationships with the EU in a way that does not restrict trade and free movement so the impact for us and our families is minimal. Whilst I will be sad to lose great MEP’s like Glenis Wilmott (Labour) and Catherine Bearder (Lib Dem) I will be delighted to lose MEP’s like Roger Helmer and Nigel Farage from UKIP who have been absent and/or ineffectual and have teamed up with other European far right political groups.
Finally a positive note: