As a British citizen, every single day I am informed of a new development in our country, another “breaking news” notification telling me that the pound has plummeted yet again, or that another politician has resigned.
As predicted by myself and more importantly, all of those pesky experts… Brexit has, at least temporarily, completely thrown our country into disarray. We were told our economy would be affected negatively, and it’s clear to see this is absolutely the case. Our once strong currency is now more volatile that Bitcoin – a virtual currency infamous for its volatility! Businesses are already moving offices overseas; I have a friend who owns a business, and he is so reliant upon the single market that he is seriously considering moving he and his business to Germany in the next couple of months if things don’t settle down and somebody somewhere gives us any kind of indication of the “deal” we’re going to strike with the EU. The future is a little bleaker for many of us, job advertisements fell by a whopping 700,000 the week after Brexit due to economic instability and uncertainly – for someone trying to get their first “proper job” out of Uni, this is a pretty terrifying fact.
Perhaps even more shocking is the state of our political parties. Predictably, David Cameron resigned when he lost the referendum and the country voted to leave. Of course, this triggered a Tory leadership battle. Every single candidate was and is, utterly horrible. The list read like a who’s who of the “Biggest Twats in Britain Club”, and isn’t getting any better as we progress to later rounds. Now we’re down to two: Theresa May, the home secretory that, although experienced, isn’t particularly likeable, and once said immigration makes it “impossible to build a cohesive society.” I mean, obviously that’s a load of rubbish and it’s that kind of divisive rhetoric that got us in this situation in the first place, but the scariest thing of all? She is the lesser of two evils.
Andrea Leadsom is our other potential candidate. Unlike May, she is relatively inexperienced in parliament; I had no idea who she was until she took to the stage during the referendum debate and repeatedly barked “take back control.” Leadsom doesn’t support gay marriage in case it bothers Christians (apparently gay Christians don’t exist, sorry). She also wants to bring back fox hunting (WHY?!), and has literally no idea about the concept of feminism. If May is unlikeable, Leadsom is totally insufferable. Choosing between these two is like choosing which STD you’d most like to have, and regardless of the result, politics is likely to lurch further to the right and leave more voters disengaged and angrier when inevitably their social situation doesn’t improve.
Despite not even being in power at the moment, the Labour party is battling through it’s own shitstorm. Leader Jeremy Corbyn has faced a vote of no confidence from the party, and virtually every single shadow cabinet member has resigned. He will now face leadership challenges from other party members, and I certainly can’t predict the result of those. Whether you love or loath Corbyn, it’s hard to argue the timing isn’t poor. It feels a lot like there is no government in the UK at the moment, with parliament so preoccupied with in-house problems. This is doing nothing to help quell the post-Brexit fear that is very real in half of the population, and certainly isn’t doing anything to calm the pound.
Resignations have not been limited to the Labour party. After years of being a pain in the arse, and making noise about leaving the EU, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage resigned. He claimed he felt he could do nothing more for the country. That I agree with, short of blowing a hole through the centre of London, Farage could do no more harm to this country if he tried. Though his resignation does feel an awful lot like this:
Post-Brexit, xenophobic attacks have increased by almost half. This referendum appears to have given previously closeted racists a mandate to come out of their miserable little caves and openly spew their intolerant bile over the shoes of anyone and everyone from anywhere that isn’t Britain. It seems like the Polish have been particularly affected by this, and of course Muslims are being told to “get back to where they came from,” which is laughable in itself, as our Muslim population has approximately 0% to do with EU membership anyway. This behaviour is disgraceful. Thankfully, the majority of people living in the UK do not condone these attacks, and awareness has heightened as a result. In general however, the country is still very much divided into “Leavers” and “Remainers.” Families have been fractured and friendships have been broken. I’ve lost count of the number of arguments I’ve seen erupt between total strangers, each believing with utter conviction that they are correct.
Break-ups are unfortunately not limited to private relationships in this instance, and it’s looking more and more like this could spell the end of the UK as we know it. Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain, whereas Britain voted mostly to leave. Scotland has already had one independence referendum, and this might just trigger another. The previous result was very, very close, and the idea of leaving the EU could be enough to convince the Scots to leave the UK in favour of remaining in the EU. Northern Ireland also wanted to remain, and noise has been made to join the Republic. Ireland has been plagued with trouble in the past, and, although right now it’s too soon to tell, this referendum could result in the rise of the IRA and the troubles once again. As is stands, the Republic of Ireland are EU members, and therefore the free movement of people applied across Ireland; those wishing to live in the Republic could do so, and those wishing to reside in the UK also could. If free movement is restricted, that could cause some truly awful problems for Ireland, and could again result in violence.
On top of everything referendum related, after seven years, the Chilcot report has finally been released. The document found that not all steps had been taken prior to going to war with Iraq, and the general public had been led to believe that the threat of Iraq having access to nuclear weapons was far greater than in reality. I personally was too young to remember Britain going to war, but it seems that there was plenty of demonstrations against it at the time. Again, people in Britain are angry. Again, they were lied to by their establishment.
As someone that voted to remain, I look around and want to tear my hair out. We were warned again and again what the affects of a Brexit would be. Expert after expert told us not to do it, and look at us now. I hope I’m wrong. I hope that this all works out brilliantly well for the UK, and this is all just a bump caused by uncertainty, but I have a sinking feeling that I’m right and have been all along; Britain was stronger inside the EU, and further bad news is yet to come.