Elias Pelcastre

Brexit: A very British problem

On 23rd June, the British people spoke, and delivered an outspoken and clear mandate to our government: We want to leave the European Union. So ensues ‘Brexit’: a consequence of decades of built up anger, resentment, frustration, but also hope. The people have gone against our carefully controlled, closed establishment and for the first time in decades, have allowed their normally silenced voices to matter.

Before I properly start this article, I think it is important to be open with my views. I voted remain. I am a young person, who despite a lot of my frustrations at those who run my country, remain optimistic. I am lucky enough to have travelled extensively. Some call us the “generation who have never had it so good.” It is partly true. On the surface the United Kingdom is one of the most attractive countries to live in in the world. Among other prominent cities we have London, a truly cosmopolitan city and economic powerhouse. We have high minimum wages and a relatively decent benefits system, offering stability and opportunity. We champion freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of movement, allowing people to create wonderful lives and control their destinies.

However, it is not all so rosy. Britain is the most unequal country in Europe,The trickling down of wealth theory has been completely disproved and we have failed to identify and tackle the issues faced by some of the most vulnerable and voiceless people in our society. They have been failed, and I hope this vote is a wake up call to the need to tackle the crippling inequality in our country.

So, Brexit. There has been a lot of scaremongering going on, some of justified, most of it widely out of line. Our currency has suffered and our credit rating has been cut. This will most probably level out over the next few months, although it has kicked some holiday makers in the teeth. We need to remember that we are lucky to benefit from using one of the most powerful currencies in the world, it is in a lot of country’s interests, as well as our own, to ensure it doesn’t crash.

Nobody is going to be kicked out of their homes. Besides the rights afforded through international law, it would be complete political suicide for any country to attempt this, and would likely hamper the establishment of any post Brexit deal. On the other hand, it is sad that generations who have enjoyed the wonderful freedom to immerse themselves in different cultures and languages may in part be responsible for denying this to future generations.

Furthermore, a clear message has been sent to many European expats living in the UK: you are not welcome here. Vote Leave have thus far failed to condemn, or take responsibility (only in part) for the disgusting treatment of people who some consider ‘different,’ to what a ‘stereotypical Brit’ should look like. It is ignorant, tragic, dangerous, outdated and just completely stupid. However, it has set a terrifying precedent where racist rhetoric is somehow becoming acceptable.

I do not feel that being European makes me any less British, although maybe because my family history draws me closer to Europe. A tiny part of me does understand the yearning to assert sovereignty, in memory of a past where Britain was ‘great,’ and ruled half the world. However overall I struggle to yearn for a time where brutal colonisation ensured the dominance of faceless individuals on faraway continents, conveniently separated from us by oceans of blood.

The openly patronising portrayal of London by left wing media as the only ‘sensible’ part of the county alienates other Remain voters as well as only fuelling more anger towards London and the ‘Westminster elite’ for their dominance. It is not as rosy as it seems in the capital either, poverty and inequality are at their most prominent.

But I do not feel angry anymore. I do not think we should have another referendum. Even if Remain did win, what would be the next step? Best of three? As cliched as it sounds, we need to start working together, to create a better, more equal, more fair Britian. One that is outward looking and understands the importance of its prominence on the world stage. And I think we need to pay tribute to the wonderful comedy that has emerged, ‘Only England could leave Europe twice in a week…’ Take a deep breath, it is all going to be okay.