A Calamitous Day

The Prime Minister has signed the Article 50 notification. Our country has begun the process of leaving the Europe Union. The 52 percent that voted for Brexit (actually 26 percent of UK population) is now in charge. Whatever happens now is their fault. Don’t blame us if it’s a complete mess. And don’t blame the poor, the immigrants, the muslims, the homeless, the children, the sick, doctors, the nurses, the banks, the schools. This is your UK now, if you voted for this, own it.

I’m sort of an immigrant to this country. I sneaked in. It is a country I have loved but always felt a bit of an outsider; aware that I was adopted by both a new family and a new nation. I’m lucky in that the colour of my skin makes it easy for me to hide in plain sight in the UK. But it also means people have been willing to share their hateful views with me – thinking I’m one of them. But I’m not. When I hear their racism, the darkest recesses of what might be loosely called their soul, when they use immigration to justify this political leap into the dark, they are talking about me and my children.

And so no, this doesn’t end today. Like millions of others in this country I will fight for a decent future for my family. A future free of hatred and bigotry, a future free of lies painted on buses, free of ignorance and lack of education. A future where instead of isolating ourselves and dreaming of some version of 1950s that only existed for a privileged few even then – instead a future where we try to be part of something bigger and better for the benefit of our children and their children. A future where expertise, education, science, and truth are still important.

Today the UK takes a terrible first step into isolation, into a petty small minded version of this country that’s unwilling to be part of a community. A hideous mashup of The Darling Buds of May and Love Thy Neighbour. A future molded by US health insurance companies, big sugar, the Daily Mail, Murdoch, a USA in political turmoil, and the Kremlin.

I still hope our government will see sense. I hope they realise the incredible damage that could follow and thus make a brave u-turn. But I fear that the most likely outcome is that our children will be damned to a nation suffering a prolonged political, social and cultural ice age. We have a government more interested in maintaining party unity than protecting us against any external threat to the UK. We’re sleepwalking into oblivion with the scriptwriter working in Cyrillic.

To those who voted for setting the clocks back 40 years, I hope you enjoy your bendy cucumbers and incandescent light bulbs. But I don’t think they will be much compensation for the many hardships to follow.

In some ways I hope you are right. It would be wonderful to think we’re beginning a new golden age, a revitalised and glorious United Kingdom, once again earning the Great in Great Britain. We’re not though, we’re really not. You can’t build a golden age on bigotry and lies.

Maybe one day the 52 percent will understand that, and they will even apologise to us. Until then, the rest of us will fight this massive mistake. Not just for our sake, but for your sake and that of your children too. Because that’s what being part of a family, union or community is all about. You’ve just forgotten.