Well, this has been an interesting few days hasn’t it? In New Zealand when we do referendums it is about fun things like flags and only the graphic designers get angry, in the UK referendums apparently cause the apocalypse. Those that voted stay feel like they are surrounded by idiot racists, and those that voted leave feel like they were lied to by people they thought they could trust. No matter how you voted, within the space of a day the UK went from a stable institution full of jokes about rain and tea, to a country in political and economic freefall with seemingly no end in sight. Mixed up in all the political decisions are people; me, you and the people we love and hate.
Quite literally no one knows what will happen next, and more than likely this uncertainty over the future will continue until the new Prime Minister is appointed in October. Until then there will be no pushing the big red button that is Article 50, and a whole lot of wishes and confusion raining down upon us all. Because in the UK apparently it rains all through summer.
In the meantime my expat friends are worrying about being attacked on the street because a country they love has seemingly turned against them.
That is the clincher here; the politics for this issue is not staying in the rarefied air of Westminster, it is trickling down through the media to those social networks we look at 52 times a day. Our emotions are so tied up in this referendum that no matter which way you voted it currently feels like heartbreak and chaos.
Those two emotions are not sustainable, you can’t keep feeling this sad until October when a new wave of referendum fun will happen. Which leads me to this, a few simple messages to grasp onto like a life preserver.
- We are still the country of 2012. 2012 was the year of a beautiful summer, where the country joined together to put on a kick ass Olympics. People on public transport were polite and helpful, there were joyful parties in the street and most importantly the United Kingdom was full of pride. This is the same country, the same people and even the same leaders that we have today. I choose to believe that 2012 UK is the true UK, what we are experiencing at the moment is basically a monumental bad hair day – we will soon get a blow wave and return to who we know we are. I mean, the only real difference between 2016 and 2012 a whole lot of now 4 year olds were born. I know kids are annoying but we can only really blame them for making the table sticky, not for a three trillion dip in the economy.
- You can choose to be ok with the chaos. At the moment I bet you feel buffeted by uncertainty each time you open Twitter or talk about Brexit in the lunch room. Jobs, travel, visas, housing and savings are all at risk and it is terrifying, but you can choose not to focus on them. Instead focus on the things you can control, for example if you are worried about your job being at risk this might be the week to write out a budget and stop spending all your money at Pret. I know that seems like spurious advice, but it will give you one thing in your life right now that you are in control over. And if everything all blows over then at least you will have some spare money to spend on champagne.
- Don’t let how someone voted change your relationship. Every single person voted for their own reasons, not everyone who voted stay actually likes the EU and its bollocks that everyone who voted leave was a racist. No matter which way you and them voted, you were friends for other reasons before the referendum. We have to move forward together, and the longer we let this divide us the weaker we are.
- Hold your friends tight and don’t fucking talk about the Brexit. Put your head in the sand and let yourself enjoy life, if someone mentions the Brexit take a shot, if they talk about the economy or Labour leadership take a shot – essentially any time you mention anything apart from kittens and cake take a damn shot. There are many good things in life and if you don’t have some balance between them and the clusterfuck we are in now, you will spiral.
Trust me when I say it will all be ok, it will just be a different form of OK than we are used to. We are in such a time of uncertainty that the worst is brought out in everyone, we can only combat this by being kind, understanding and holding each other close. No matter what, the fact that you are feeling so bad just means you care one hell of a lot about the future of the United Kingdom; and a fuck is a good thing to give.
All the best my loves, don’t let the bastards get you down.