A personal response to ‘Vote Leave’:
Brexit is a fundamental attack on my values, beliefs and my community. My friends, family and colleagues might be seen from the outside as living in a urbanite cosmopolitan bubble, but that is because we share similar a ideology.
This differs from person to person, obviously, but for most it is a heady mix of beliefs in openness, liberalism, equality and meritocracy that reaches beyond borders – certainly beyond the regions of the Shipping Forecast.
Although we don’t slavishly follow ‘experts’ or the establishment, we are hungry to understand the truths behind the rhetoric and the balances of the arguments.
If there is one slogan that we can unite under, it would be “Well… I think it is probably a little more complicated than that…”
For me, the Brexit campaign was founded on attacking these progressive values – and even if voters share these values and voted Leave, then they aligned themselves (and gave tacit permission to) the voices of the small-minded, anti-intellectual and bigotry.
These are the same voices that have taunted me all my life.
From the bullying of the playground, through the university jocks to the sneering voices dismissing ‘luvvies’, we are used to synonyms of ‘clever’ being used as an insult or a ‘love of culture’ being reduced to a presumptive slur on sexuality.
I have a son, who cannot yet talk, but who is already funny, open, loving, sensitive and curious. All wonderful qualities – except not the ones he needs to survive in the world of ‘Vote Leave’.
I should be teaching him to fear difference, to look inwards, to disregard education and knowledge, to dismiss those in public service rather than aspiring to join their ranks.
Whatever the arguments around free trade and sovereignty, Vote Leave has uncovered a putrid, seething side to society. I cannot put a brave face on it. I hate everything about that side of ‘Britishness’ and those people who espouse it.
They are as much a threat to my way of life as a right-wing American hotelier or any religious fundamentalist. They are the maggots eating away at the heart of the apple.
I hope I can use my anger and hatred to positive effect, but don’t ask me to deny it. I refuse to turn the other cheek. The world is a worse place because of their actions, and we are right to acknowledge that before we move forwards.