Dear Britain I Resign

At the very heart of me lies an optimist – a glass half full kind of girl. And it is a rare moment indeed that I cannot see, or at least try to understand, the point of view of others’. Yet in the days since the referendum result I have been struggling to come to term with Britain’s decision. And I’m sad, sad that fear won over facts.

Maybe we’ve been papering over the cracks of unity for so long that this needed to happen. Maybe the rot was already there, covered only by a sea of everyday niceties. At least now we can see the foundations of our society. We may not like what we see, but the cracks are now exposed and they are much wider and run much deeper than we thought. Can we ever repair the damage? I’m not sure. Britain will survive, but I don’t think it will ever be the tolerant, multicultural nation I believed it to be. The erosion is too immense.

Make Britain Great Again

Many voted Leave because they believed the Vote Leave camp’s ‘Make Britain “Great” Again’ slogan. In the last few days it has proved itself to be just that – a slogan, all be it a very powerful one. Who wouldn’t want Britain to be great right? What was never made clear is HOW will we be great again? And WHO’S idea of great will it be?

In the last few days I have travelled across Britain. Visiting companies for emergency talks, and reassuring my EU tenants that they will not have to pack and immediately leave the house they have called home – despite their neighbours demanding they do so. The streets of the towns and cities looked the same, but there was something in the air. A shift, a crackle of uncertainty. As a nation we have succeeded in completely dividing ourselves in two – where’s the greatness in that?

This division has been blindingly evident in the last few days. The sheer weight of viciousness over social media has been astounding. But vilifying Leave voters serves no useful purpose, we live in a democratic society and people are allowed to exercise their right to vote. But when that vote was cast on the basis of fear and lies is that really democracy?

A European glad and a British flag pointing in opposite directions as a result of Brexit, demonstrating my thought, Dear Britain I Resign.

For some, worry about immigration was the catalyst for their Leave vote – having these legitimate worries is NOT racist. Yet their vote has endorsed Nigel Farage, a man who has stated that staying in the EU would see an increase on sexual assaults, that he would be worried if Romanians moved in next door to him and that employers should have the right to choose their employees based on their nationality. Is it any wonder that calls from the minority of Leave voters who seriously believed that their vote meant not just stopping immigration, but actually sending immigrants ‘home’ have become more vocal?

For others, Brussels setting the standard of imported fruit and how powerful a hoover is allowed to be is unfathomable. They’d simply had enough of bureaucrats making decisions for ‘their’ country and seeing money ‘pouring’ into the EU. And I get it, I really do. Through this referendum they have voiced their concerns, it’s just a damn shame that the only people listening fed them lies, ‘£350 million a week for the NHS’ being the most prolific.

Moving Forward

I may not agree with the vote, but I have been made to listen and now I have to somehow understand the worries and fears that reside in some of the vote Leave camp and move forward.

But I have no idea how. Every fibre of my being is shouting at me to run away, to tell Britain I resign, to travel as far from the UK as I can and never look back. In the last few days I have seen my hopes for retirement in a sunnier climate compromised, my businesses surrounded by uncertainty and my pension drop by 30% overnight. I have worked my entire life to build a future for myself and my family in a country that I believed in, only to see it ripped from me in a furore as voters frantically scribbled their X in the box they believed would mean a future without immigration, without having to bend to the will of Brussels. Voters who are now standing open-mouthed as they learn the truth.

So if you weighed up the pros and cons of a Leave vote, checked the facts and still voted ‘out’, then I respect your decision. But please don’t expect me to work with you to make that decision work for ‘us’.

Our Prime Minister has quit and left the country to pick up the pieces, racism is openly rampant, the pound is at it’s lowest for over 31 years, the opposition is falling apart, property prices are predicted to fall, over 120 billion has been wiped off the value of British companies, large investors have been removing Billions from Britain and are forecast to continue to do so, Scotland is seeking a new referendum to leave the UK and stay with the EU, Britain’s credit rating has been downgraded to negative, discussions ensue on not IF there will be job losses but WHEN, as a direct result of the vote 2 Trillion Dollars has been wiped off global market and large companies are already moving out of Britain and relocating to Europe.

No matter what our financial situation, we will ALL be affected by the vote. The loss of investment in the UK will undoubtedly lead to the loss of jobs, which means less tax payed into the treasury. A tax shortfall inevitably leads to higher taxes and cuts in benefits.

So if you voted Leave my question to you is this: the country is now yours, what are you going to do with it?

Cheerio.

P.S. I thought long and hard before publishing this post. We have all been told at one time or another to never talk politics or religion. But as I’m a big advocate of self development, and self development means doing things that scare you. And hitting the publish button on the post scared the sh*t out of me

19 Comments

  1. June 29, 2016 / 4:26 pm

    As a British person living abroad (luckily I came to Portugal when I was ten years old so I am very much an official resident of this country), I feel incredibly sad at the decision to leave the EU. Shocked, is probably a better word. I worry about what will happen to the country of my birth, and I worry for my family and friends that live there. I sincerely hope that it can become ‘Great’ again – because it is such a wonderful country on so many levels, yet has caused so many problems on so many others. I love England and I only want what’s best for everybody living there. I’m saddened that already there has been such a negative impact on the economy though. Let’s hope the new leader (whoever that may be) will carry the country forward over the coming years.
    Suzy x
    http://www.suzyturner.com

    • July 5, 2016 / 5:33 pm

      I think a lot of people were shocked Suzy. It’s been two weeks since the referendum and I’m still trying to get my head around the vote. As you say, let’s hope we have a strong leader who can carry the country forward.

      BTW, I adore Portugal – My husband and I have spend a lot of time there.

      Michelle xx

  2. June 29, 2016 / 7:33 pm

    I’m glad you did post this even though you had reservations. Some things are too important to not say. I’m incredibly sad about the whole thing, bloody furious in fact. I don’t want my EU citizenship taken away from me – if the arguments for leaving had been honest and transparent it’d be a little easier to accept, but the referendum was based on lies. It’s been horribly divisive, I can’t look at some people who were spouting Brexit propaganda in the run up to the referendum in the same way any more. Like you, I feel like leaving the UK. My dad lives in France and we’d hoped to retire there too. If Scotland leaves the UK and remains in the EU I’d seriously consider moving there. I know it’s early days and knee jerk reactions are not the answer but nobody has any answers, just questions.

    Emma xxx
    http://www.style-splash.com

    • July 5, 2016 / 5:36 pm

      Well, we’re two weeks later and we’re still no closer to having answers. It’s pretty obvious that there was no exit strategy, nothing, zilch, nada. I’m just hoping that a rabbit can be pulled out of a hat. Unfortunately, even if the magician can wave a magic wand, it might be too late for some businesses.

      Tough times ahead I fear.

      Michelle xx

  3. June 30, 2016 / 10:32 am

    I am so glad you wrote this post. As an Australian it is not quite clear to me what the change has meant to your country. Your post has helped me to understand it a little more. I hope things iron-out in the long run for everyone. I can’t help but wonder what my English father might have thought of this development.

    • July 5, 2016 / 5:37 pm

      Jody, I’m British and I have no idea what the change means to my country – we’re kind of making it up as we go along. Sad, confusing times 🙁

      Michelle xx

  4. June 30, 2016 / 1:13 pm

    I’m also pleased you wrote this post. I don’t think the people who voted Brexit had any idea of the long-term implications, and definitely don’t understand Economics. What producer closes the door on the customer who buys 50% of their goods? Because that is what just happened when the UK decided not to trade with the EU anymore. I think lots of us will be exploring options, and deciding if the fallout from this vote creates an environment in which we want to build a future. As for the immigration issue, even if you take out the European immigrants, the UK still has more immigrants that aren’t even from the EU. So what exactly did this Referendum solve?!

    • July 5, 2016 / 5:40 pm

      Exactly Lisa, I’m not quite sure what some of the leave voters thought their vote would achieve. I’m all for democracy, and have the utmost respect for anyone who did their research and then voted with knowledge, but I think a lot of votes were cast as a protest. Which now leaves us with one hell of a mess to clean up, and at the moment I’m refusing to reach for my rubber gloves!

      Michelle xx

  5. July 3, 2016 / 2:45 pm

    In the words of the brilliant philosopher Meatloaf – You took the words right out of my mouth.
    I couldn’t bring myself to right a post about this, my heart is still aching. I took my hurt & disappointment out to the streets of London & marched instead. Ever the optimist I still hope rational good sense will win out & Article 50 will not.
    I’m ever so pleased you wrote this post, thank you Michelle. I couldn’t be more proud of you my friend, it was a brave move.
    xxx

    • July 5, 2016 / 5:44 pm

      Ah, Meatloaf – a wise man indeed 🙂

      What I want to do is leave this country like a bat out of hell (see what I did there), but we have no idea what is going to happen with our businesses so it looks like we’re stuck here – for now.

      I really did almost bottle it before I posted this, but I felt I had to do something. I’m too far from London to march, so I used my words – I’m glad they struck a chord.

      Michelle xx

  6. July 3, 2016 / 6:58 pm

    Being German with a dream of living in England when I retire and my daughter studying in London and seeking for a future career there, I am worried too, Michelle.
    Not every decision imposed by Brussels may be perfect but we have to stand together as strong nations and the EU is the only option we have!
    Thank you for this great post.

    xx
    Annette | Lady of Style

    • July 5, 2016 / 5:47 pm

      The repercussion of the vote are being felt worldwide, not just in Europe Annette so I understand your worry. Let’s hope that we can somehow pull together as a nation and move forward. Though at the moment I can’t even begin to work out how we do that.

      Michelle xx

  7. July 3, 2016 / 7:31 pm

    I am very glad you published this. Sometimes I am in doubt too whether I am going to ventilate my opinion on my blog. Like I did with my view on weapon possession. But then I think: it is MY blog and I will write what I want. And if somebody doesn’t like it… tough. The more backbone you show, the more you show of yourself, the more the (right) people bond with you.

    And I think your piece wasn’t just an opinion or knocking the people who voted differently. I thought you were very balanced and emphatic in your post.
    Thank you.
    Greetje

    • July 5, 2016 / 5:51 pm

      Thank you Greetje

      It was never my intention to knock the people who voted to leave, and I’m so glad that has come across in the post. I am simply at a loss as to how we pick up the pieces, and part of me feels that the leave voters made the mess so they should clean it up. But, I am British, so I will probably stiffen my upper lip and roll my sleeves up – in time.

      I agree that writing something on a subject this volatile can be risky but, as you say, the blogs are ours and we are entitled to publish what WE choose.

      Michelle xx

  8. Mary Furr
    July 6, 2016 / 5:54 pm

    I live in Oregon and we Americans are going through a national identity crisis, too. I feel especially worried about future generations and the struggles they will have. Thank you for voicing your views.

  9. July 8, 2016 / 12:08 am

    I’m sad too that the England has chosen to leave and am hopeful for a solution. This was a superbly written post and I command you for writing it!

    • July 12, 2016 / 1:23 pm

      Thank you so much Sylvia. I put a lot of thought into the post before hitting the publish button, I’m so glad you liked it 🙂
      Michelle xx

  10. July 11, 2016 / 6:00 pm

    Some people live in a bubble, when that bubble bursts they feel disappointed and upset that this wonderful round shape with all the colors of the rainbow and ever expanding will not longer exist in the mind they created….

    hey, chill out and blow another bubble ! and be amazed by it again, your fuzzy world wont change that much i can assue you…….. the puppet masters who rule us all will ALWAYS HAVE THERE WAY..

    some of us who voted leave are glad the bubble burst and the made up bubble world is no longer is the same……as university educated, well off and happy person i am for the first in in 40 + years excited about a future we may take…but then again my bubble will be burst as the reality that nothing will change will happen….

    In the end, nothing will change…

  11. Wendy
    August 13, 2016 / 6:48 pm

    Well, I love your blog in general (you are in my list of “extra special” blogs that I prioritise reading), but on this subject of Brexit I must respectfullydisagree. Not only do I thoroughly disagree with you about Brexit, I worked (every waking hour for the last two weeks, volunteered, not paid) with Vote Leave, and “Make Britain Great Again” was nowhere to be seen in anything from Vote Leave that I saw. Our slogan was “Take Back Control”, which is quite different. Perhaps you are thinking of the dreaded Donald Trump slogan? (What a ghastly man he seems to be!)

    Vote Leave was about DEMOCRACY and FREEDOM. I voted to leave because I think those things are important. I think it is very bad for us to have ceded control to an unelected, unaccountable foreign power that we can’t vote out. I think it is very bad that our highly evolved and good level system is now under (overruled by) an inferior continental system. I think it is disgusting that poorish people in Britain (rich enough to pay tax but not in any way wealthy) are having to foot the bill for profligate spending by vast numbers of unelected EU officials, and it is an absolute outrage that we have not had any means of requiring the EU to sort out their finances. They have failed the audit for 20 years! That means there is SERIOUS corruption, and there is nothing we could do about it short of leaving the EU.

    And it is not just that tax money from poor Brits and other Europeans is going to pay for insanely high salaries and expenses and other EU stuff, it is also that because we are in this protectionist customs union, the poorest people are also being hammered by artificially high food prices. If we can get out of this ghastly thing food prices will drop (and other prices too) which will make life easier for a lot of poor people in Britain.

    It will also promote small businesses because the cost of raw materials (anything they buy from other places in the world as part of their business) will be lower, and they will also have the burden of the madness that is EU over-regulation lifted so that they stand a chance of surviving. In the EU, there are literally thousands of corporate lobbying groups in Brussels, working on behalf of crony corporatists to arrange things in such a way as to cause their small-company competitors to be unable to compete. The EU is wonderful if you are a crony corporatist. It SUCKS if you are a small business wanting to trade with people outside the EU.

    Why anyone would want to be a member of an antiquated protectionist customs union that inhibits trade with the rest of the world and costs an absolute fortune, I have no idea. Why anyone would want to systematically discriminate against the poorest countries in the world (the EU has massive tariffs that harm the economies of countries in Africa, say) I don’t know. Why anyone would want to be a member of a bloc that has a discriminatory immigration policy, such that someone we might really want to come here from, say, Africa or India, now finds it impossible or very difficult, because we have to have space for EU people, I don’t know.

    I could go on, but I’m sure you’ve heard enough! It’s about freedom and democracy. It’s about bringing back political accountability. It’s about us being able to vote OUT decisively those who rule us. Power without accountability is very dangerous. It’s about bringing back our long tradition of a political system that fosters error correction. The British system traditionally had that. The EU not only doesn’t have it, it is structured in such a way as to systematically evade criticism and avoid correcting errors.

    Vote Leave was nothing to do with hate, or fear, or xenophobia, or racism, it was about restoring our democracy. Restoring parliamentary sovereignty. And restoring the primacy of our own legal system. It was about freeing up our country to trade with the entire world instead of remaining shackled by the outdated protectionist customs bloc that is the EU. It was certainly nothing to do with hating Europe. I LOVE Europe, and have many many European friends, and incidentally, almost all my European friends are DELIGHTED that Britain voted to leave the EU, and THEY ALSO WANT THEIR COUNTRIES TO LEAVE TOO!

    I hope this helps you understand why Britain voted to leave. ?!

    Anyone interested in understanding Brexit more deeply might like to read Daniel Hannan’s book *Why Vote Leave* (ultra cheap on amazon now), or better still (for a deeper grasp of why this is important and nothing to do with how Remain people are painting Vote Leave people) read Daniel Hannan’s *How We Invented Freedom And Why It Matters* — whose title outside the UK is *Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World* — very important book if you want to understand why Britain voted to leave the EU and why that is actually a good thing not a bad thing.

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