It's been less than a week since the EU referendum, and the dust is still yet to settle. With politicians resigning left and right, and as the government continues to contradict itself, the 48% who voted remain are still reeling from the results. For our friends across the pond who have to face making a decision with just as staggering consequences in just a few months from now, we can only hope that the failings of the British government serve as a stark reminder and lesson to those before they cast their ballot this November.
The following was taken from a Facebook post, originally written by Karl McPherson, a family friend of this writer and young doctor who's reflections on the referendum struck a chord. We echo his sentiment and ask the same question; Who are we as British citizens and what do we stand for now? The answer is evermore pertinent in the political climate that 52% of the voting population chose for our future.
"It took me some time to process the events of yesterday and the referendum. Yesterday was filled with anguish and despair for me personally, not simply because we chose to leave the EU. In fact on the basic principle of sovereignty leaving makes absolute sense. And although that was the question on the ballot paper, it was far from what was asked.
I have never pretended to be an economist, nor to understand the interplay between politics and finance, but it is clear that any assumptions we made on the monetary benefits and drawbacks of a European withdrawal were built on an illusion of stability and predictability. Therefore, by proxy, they were at best educated guesses from an honest conscience and considerable experience.
Net movement across the eurozone, health, benefits and culture were equally intangible and nebulous, but one thing remained ever-present; the concept of societal inequality. Inequality for the rich inasmuch as their obligations to bankroll the faceless masses. Inequality for the poor as they continued to witness the unravelling of whatever little they already had, paying the price for the exuberance of others. It is no coincidence that this election result occurred against the backdrop of growing child poverty, familial reliance on food donations and more. It seems everyone needed someone to blame.
And so in this cauldron of chronic dissatisfaction, authority was challenged. Legitimately and without coercion. But what followed has, I fear come to define us. We allowed the Farages of this world to frame and focus the debate around minorities. We drank in the ever shifting presumptions of Gove and Johnson. And worse yet we allowed the Murdochs to focus our self determination against the same facts and evidence we begged for to inform choice. In summation we let ourselves be led into a conclusion that I suspect, in the absence of romanticising orators such as Johnson (and Sturgeon) may have necessarily selected. Both sides guilty of reducing the logic of choice to emotive reactionary and temporal twitches.
And so we are left with a nation divided by the folly of choice, ultimately left with no other blame to proport other than self. The question of national identity remains entirely unanswered purely and simply for one reason: We allowed others to change the question.
Forget politicians, this is now our time to define who we are as British citizens."
Words by Neela Choudhury-Reid (@foxyneela) and Karl McPherson