I woke up this morning feeling blue. The UK is making a monumental decision today, and I am not sure that my decision is correct. I voted in the EU referendum (3 hours ago) feeling sick in my stomach. I cast my vote without the usual smile and joke that I normally give the people working in my local polling station. This time it was serious, and there would not be the usual chance to change my mind a few years later (in a future election). I was committing myself to something that I would have to remember for the rest of my life.
In every election vote in the past, I have passionately believed in the party that I was voting for. I could make long and detailed arguments about why I truly believed in that party. This time, I can see both sides of the argument (“Brexit” or “Remain”) and I simply cannot defend either side for some of their views.
So instead I voted with my ‘gut instinct’. It’s not a vote I made after poring over all the EU policies over a period of months. Instead, it was made after living in the EU all my life, and seeing the benefits/drawbacks that it gives.
If my choice wins tomorrow, I will not be celebrating. I simply cannot tell for sure if my gut feeling was correct. More importantly, I know that the ‘United’ Kingdom is unbelievably divided. It will take years to get over the divide that this referendum has caused. Some people will never get over it. It is a sad day, and I am in a melancholic mood.
I think that the mood of Britain is best summed up by this video: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2016/jun/22/eu-referendum-welcome-to-the-divided-angry-kingdom-video
It is made by the fabulous duo John Harris and John Domokos. They have made a series of videos called ‘Anywhere but Westminster’. Their premise is (essentially) that people have put too much weight on the views of Londoners, and not enough of the views of people all across the rest of the United Kingdom. This is a mistake that I believe so many politicians have made, assuming that what they hear in London (especially at the middle-class BBC) is replicated across the UK. Rightly or wrongly, ‘ordinary’ non-London people tend to have different views. Their documentaries are fascinating and illuminating.
John Harris’ interview style is reminiscent of the fantastic Simon Reeve (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Reeve_(British_TV_presenter)) who interviews people from all walks of life, and does not judge, condone or preach to them. He simply listens. It is a rare gift.
I hope I voted wisely.
I wish for peace and healing in both the United Kingdom, Europe and around the world.