While I was depressed I considered writing about Brexit repeatedly but I couldn’t face it. I also suspected that my views might not go down to well (particularly with the tone police) and I couldn’t be bothered with the argument.
My view on Brexit before the referendum:
I didn’t really care one way or the other. I had no strong feelings about Brexit. I strongly suspected that Leave would win but I didn’t really care.
I looked at the claims being made by the Leave camp. A bit of research led me to the conclusion that most of their claims were nonsense. I found most of their claims of what would happen following Brexit unlikely. I was highly skeptical about whether they could or would do most of things they were saying they intended to do.
My personal viewpoint has always been that the EU is institutionally racist, impoverishes the poorest countries in the world as a matter of policy, puts the needs of finance and business above the needs of poor people and workers time and time again and is pro-austerity. Thus it, at the very least, needs significant reform. The necessary reform is unlikely to happen given the mechanisms for change and thus it probably should be dismantled and replaced.
I looked at the claims of the Remain camp and was highly skeptical of the doomsday predictions. I think there will be short term pain due to uncertainty in the markets but because markets can change so quickly I have little confidence in the long term predictions regarding the economy. That being said the benefits of free trade to the UK economy should not be understated and I think it will hit the UK economy hard in the short to medium term if a good deal is not negotiated. I have little faith in the government to negotiate a good deal.
I then looked at who was leading the campaigns and found the people leading the Leave campaign marginally more objectionable. Pretty much everyone in both campaigns was pretty terrible in my opinion.
I concluded that the referendum was essentially about deciding which thoroughly objectionable bunch were making which decisions and about whether increased sovereignty was worth taking a possibly massive hit to the economy in the short/medium term.I decided that I didn’t know enough to make an informed decision and that I was unlikely to any time soon as neither campaign was saying much that was plausible to me. I was concerned that if the Leave campaign won there would be an increase in racist nonsense but I hoped it wouldn’t be too bad.
I eventually decided that I came down on the side of Remain (barely). This was mostly because of the race-baiting from elements within the Leave campaign. There was sensible arguments on both sides and I didn’t feel equipped to weigh them in the balance. The news was no help at all. What I did know was that I didn’t fancy my kids going through what I went through as a child where racist abuse and violence were very real. I strongly suspected that racists would be emboldened by a Leave win and that life would get worse for visible minorities as a result.
My view after the referendum:
What I feared would happen has happened. If there is a positive so far I must have missed it. Markets have fluctuated and a lot of waffle about what that means has been written and spoken. I’m none the wiser as to whether this is good or bad. So what has happened that I do understand?
- I have either been personally involved in or witnessed over 20 incidents of racism. Most of these have involved verbal and physical aggression. Ordinarily it’s 3-4 each year. (I am not including minor irritants like people assuming I’m a Muslim or assuming I’m an immigrant and the many other things of a similar nature that I deal with as a matter of course in those numbers)
- Anecdotal evidence suggests I am not unique in experiencing and witnessing increasing levels of racism.
- The number of people I can’t abide has grown enormously.
Number 3 is probably the most problematic for me and the reason I have given some thought to the possibility of leaving the UK.
You see I am angry now in a way that I wasn’t before the referendum.
I am angry with;
- All the people witnessing the racism and doing nothing about it. Every single incident I have seen and been involved in has been very public. When I have witnessed abuse I have been the only person that has intervened. When I have been abused nobody has offered any support during or after the incident.
- The people who told me to “calm down” and “stop being so aggressive” when I got angry with the 2 guys screaming abuse at me. I was more angry with them than the main racists. Each and every one of those people that treated me like I was the problem can go **** themselves.
- Anyone who thinks the increase in racist incidents is made up or not a thing.
- Anyone who thinks the increase in racism is not important, nothing to do with them or nothing to do with Brexit.
- Anyone who lectures immigrants and visible minorities on how they ought to feel or what they ought to think.
- Anyone who tells me or any other visible minority or immigrant that they are wrong to feel the way that they feel about this.
- Anyone who gets defensive and feels the need to give a lecture establishing their “not a racist” credentials. I know not everyone that voted leave is racist. I know lots of people that voted leave that are staunch anti-racists. I don’t want or need yet another tedious lecture on who is and is not racist.
For me the bottom line is simple. I feel less safe now than I did before the referendum. I am hyper-vigilant now in a way I haven’t been since I was much younger. Despite being born and raised in this country I feel less like this is my country now then I did before the referendum. I feel that it’s a matter of time before my kids are faced with racist abuse and I hope that it’s not violent when it comes. I feel that too many people do not or cannot empathize with people like me who have experienced a fair bit of racist violence in the past and find the recent rise in racist incidents anxiety provoking because they are too busy lecturing us on what we ought to do/think/feel or going on about how not everyone that voted Leave is racist or going on about how they aren’t racist at great and tedious length to actually listen. I feel that things will get worse before they get better because when article 50 is triggered I think the economy will take a hit in the short to medium term. As usual immigrants and anyone who looks like they might be an immigrant will get the blame from some quarters.
In short my view post referendum is that I have no idea whether Brexit will be good for the country or not but I can say for certain that, thus far, it hasn’t been great for me. I still don’t have strong feelings about whether leaving or remaining is the better option. I simply don’t know enough to know which will be better long term. I do wish that the government would get on with it whatever they decide to do.
Rant over. If you made it to the end of this post then thanks for reading my stream of consciousness and apologies for the length of the post.