27 October 2016

Off with their heads - Or Off Their Heads?

I often wonder what it was like to live in Britain four or five hundred years ago when it mattered greatly what your religion was. If you were on the opposing side of the ruling monarch in those days you were hunted down, imprisoned and killed. Catholics tortured Protestants. Protestants burned Catholics. If you were a Jew, you were always on the wrong side. It must have been a fearful time to live in, when you couldn't trust your neighbours or even close relatives to hand you over to the establishment because of your beliefs.

It seem to me that the last few months since Brexit have drawn parallels. Maybe with not such drastic outcomes, but nevertheless with some similarity. Instead of Catholics and Protestants, you have Remainers and Leavers. There was vitriol and mud-slinging on both sides a-plenty before the Referendum, but since then there has been daily outpourings of accusation, hatred and viciousness. Threats from the Remainers to scupper the vote, threats from the Leavers to bring it on. People afraid to say what side they voted for in case they were ridiculed, made to justify their beliefs, or even worse given the cold shoulder (I've heard of people refusing to have anything more to do with their parents or grandparents because they disagreed with their point of view. Really?)

I am very worried for my country and not because of the referendum result itself. I am worried that the people of this nation stand so divided (almost 50:50) on the way this country should go. Politicians have fallen by the wayside because of it and whole political parties seem to be buckling under the strain too. Apart from the Tories and the SNP, there is no viable party in opposition to help with the democratic process to take us forward in a balanced way. Whatever you voted for and aspired to, surely the way forward is to pick this country up and do our best together rather than divided. A democratic vote was taken and there was a majority result. It might not be the result a lot of people wanted, but it was democratic. To ignore it, to suggest the result was not the "right answer" and try to turn back the tables would be undemocratic. It would create the right to scupper any democratic result on whatever subject in the future, just because the result wasn't "the right one". That's not democracy.  We might as well all live in North Korea, if that's that case.

We are known all over the world for our bulldog spirit. In the last century alone we were able to withstand and rise from the ashes of two crippling world wars, not to mention a cold war. If our parents and grandparents had given up at the first hurdle,we would certainly not all be here today, able to make free and democratic decisions without fear of reprisals, imprisonment or death camps. Nor are we as a nation by any means stupid - we were the inventors of many great things such as the Industrial Revolution and the World Wide Web, to name but two things that have benefited the world immensely. We are quite capable of getting on with things and making a success of them, whether in the EU or not.

We should all pull together, not apart, and believe we can get through this rocky period together with hard work and confidence, not hatred or mud-slinging. The immediate future will be rocky and the financial markets will rise and fall as they have done since time immemorial, with or without Brexit. That's what they do, even when everything in the garden is lovely. We need to be confident we can work it out together and put aside thoughts that we can't achieve success. To do otherwise is to create a chasm so large, we could be on the brink of apathy, or worse still anarchy, and who wants to return to those awful medieval days?


Anna of the Mutton Years said...

It was a real divide and fear after the referendum. Lack of respect for others views. Lack of recognition that those views were thought out and as relevant as ones own. I see it as mellowed now. Maybe people i know just aren't talking about the referendum anymore.

Peace Thyme Garden and Weather Station said...

What we heard in the States is that so many people were so sure that the outcome would support the "staying", that a great number of people just did not vote. It is a shame that there was no set plan in place for whatever was the outcome and that now people who don't like the outcome still have to find a way and a timeline for the "leaving."

Valerie said...

Excellent post. I agree with you. We had a vote, people had the choice to elect whether to stay or leave. It was their choice and they should accept the outcome. I hate all the arguing and hatred that is flying around - in all circles.

John said...

Interesting post. I voted remain and was angry at the result as I felt we were letting down the young people of this country. Angry but not vitriolic until, that is, my friend who voted leave then tells me he's bought a house in Spain and is not worried about being able to live there because he is applying for his Irish passport.
But yes, basically it's happened and let's move on and hopefully get some politicians who can connect with many people like me who feel that they have no one really representing their views. Look what you've done, made me go all serious.
I shall follow your blog with interest.

Maggie May said...

You wrote a very good post and I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. Things are dividing us today and we need to stay together.
*No use crying about spilt milk* as my mother used to say! Get together and form a solution. Nobody seems to have one!
Maggie x

gideon sockpuppet said...

I am a Canadian, and I find it interesting to read your insider perspective on Brexit, and the aftermath of the vote. I agree that it is a worry that people are turning against each other rather than working together to find a way forward. But then, that reaction of demonizing the other and fueling conflict is not uncommon in our human history.


Jeanette said...

Funny I could say almost the exact same thing about the US. This presidential election has been nothing but vitriol and mud slinging, and neither of the candidates is worth the paper the ballot is printed on! I also fear for my country and how divided it's becoming. What is becoming of the world?

Flowerpot said...

I very much agree, Addy - we do need to work together, not fight each other.

afterthefire1964 said...

I agree with you completely. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that my country is going to waste the opportunity to have a brilliant woman in the presidency and will - instead - vote for a crazy con man due to believing lies and innuendos from an out of control media. And there will be 50+ percent of people in the U.S. who will rejoice at the outcome.

However - life goes on. In the end either person in the presidency will not solve my problems (or anyone else's). We must all find it within ourselves to soldier on...TOGETHER, hopefully! I actually am more concerned about that 50+ percent who are going to be crushed once they realize their hopes and prayers have not be magically answered.

Rab said...

The last few years have seen so much divide going right back to the Scottish Independence referendum- I've seen so many good friends have bad fallouts. It seems to me there are a number of people involved in the democratic process who don't respect democracy. There are a number of people who think we can just keep having a referendum until they get the answer they want. My own view is that in both cases any change should only come from a significant majority as a close split to me is not a push for change. With the Brexit vote I think a lot of people were left bewildered and not knowing how to vote as all the debates centred around mudslinging as you said rather than informing the public. I think most could see pros and cons for both and maybe in equal measure. But ultimately it does come down to respecting the democratic decision in the end otherwise what is the point?