What happens now?

This is me, just pouring it all out. It’s a bit rough and ready, raw, like I feel today.

I can’t believe this day has actually come, but I also knew it was coming. We have actually gone and voted to leave the EU. A vote by older people has betrayed the voice of the young who wanted to stay. But it was also a vote by the poor, the working class, the left-behind. Those who feel betrayed by austerity, who feel under threat from people moving into their communities who are different. People in areas where schools can’t attract teachers and surgeries can’t attract GPs. Where jobs are scarce, where cuts to benefits bite hard and where council cuts are felt the keenest.

So – what happens now? Will we build a hospital a week with the £350million a week we supposedly now have at our disposal? No – because we don’t actually have that much at our disposal because the figure was a fallacy anyway. And Farage has already said that to suggest we could be spending this money on the NHS was a ‘mistake’. Hm.

What does happen now? Sterling is already worth 9% less. We are already 9% poorer in the world. Which businesses will invest in our economy now our relationship with the mass market of Europe is now in doubt? Sunderland were afraid to declare in case they upset Nissan. Will Nissan pull out? Other manufacturers? I’m guessing the French won’t be building our nuclear power station now?

I can’t see how the future will make things any better for those who feel betrayed and disenfranchised now. What happens now to all those EU citizens currently living and working here? and what happens to those Brits living and working in the EU? Do we have to swap in a ratio of 2:1 hard working EU citizens from schools, hospitals and businesses for elderly, retired Brits? What happens to our NHS? To our European Health Insurance on holiday in Europe?

What happens to those workers’ rights which EU law protects? Do we trust whoever comes next in this country’s government to honour them? What happens to the European Convention on Human Rights? As we’re leaving the EU we can leave that too. Will a so-called British Bill of Rights really secure our rights? Remember, we helped write the ECHR – what’s wrong with it now?

We will no longer be able to stand with our neighbours to fight climate change and protect the environment. What happens to our clean beaches? To our heritage sites and sites of special scientific interest? To our ability to influence and drive forward reforms to save the planet?

Will we really now act with compassion towards refugees? Now people actually have to reach our shore to claim asylum, will more drown in the Channel? Or die in the Chunnel? What happens to those waiting at Calais? Will the French just send them over? Or send them back? Now we are acting alone and can keep out ‘economic migrants’ will we really welcome those in need escaping war and persecution in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea…? In my heart, I don’t believe we will.

I read one person’s reason for leaving was the EU’s unfair trade rules making life almost unliveable for African farmers. Well – no we have no chance of making EU rules fairer. And what of our own trade rules as they emerge? Will we protect our own farmers? I think we will as it seems much of the leave campaign was driven by farmers wanting to escape the EU agricultural policy. Will there be fairness and compassion to support African farmers at the expense of our own? What do you think?

Today I believe we are all poorer – in Britain and in the rest of Europe. Leave keep talking about the United Kingdom, but I don’t believe we will be a United Kingdom for much longer.

My husband is pretty upset with those who have led us down this path. But I am just sad. Sad for my children’s future, who feel betrayed. Sad for our country and how we feel about ourselves. Delusions of grandeur but about to cut ourselves off from friends and neighbours to try to regain something we never had and not realising what we’ve lost.

I am deeply sad that the outpouring of love and grief after the murder of Jo Cox MP could not translate into a desire to move forwards with reconciliation and unity. We have moved significantly politically to the right as a country. How did a fringe political party become mainstream policy? How have we embraced a ‘them and us’ policy? A narrative of ‘othering’ those who are different?

Where do we go from here? Who will look after those places once regenerated by EU funding? Who will rebuild our relationship with Paris, Berlin, Prague, where I get the impression all they feel is bewilderment? Who will stand with them against the far right? Are we in a place to rebuild? To regroup? Will we actually listen to those who voted to leave because they are beleaguered – do we have the political will do make their lives better? Or will there be more cuts, more austerity, more division?

I’ve poured it all out. Now all we can do is watch and pray.

Well – OMG – as I’m writing, David Cameron has resigned!! Is this worse?? Does this meant we’ll now get Boris Johnson and Michael Gove? A new PM by October



2 thoughts on “What happens now?

  1. Thanks for writing, Jo. You’ve pretty much summed up what I’m feeling and in reading, I feel less alone.

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