Saturday, June 25, 2016

Reflections on #Brexit and the threat of extremism

When the news broke about the Referendum I was, ironically, in another part of the EU - Majorca - filming the wedding of a couple from Caerphilly. Thank goodness for the proxy vote which Wifey duly carried out for me. The result took on an interesting perspective to me as I wandered among British, German and Spanish holidaymakers all being looked after by hospitality staff not just from Spain but places like Poland (yes indeed - the Poles don't all choose to live in the UK).

To say I was gutted is an understatement. Like a lot of people I was kind of expecting a win for Remain, albeit a very close one. The outcome felt like a punch in the stomach and the resultant shock still hasn't quite worn off. There I was, watching TV in a hotel in an EU country, learning about the most momentous event in British history for almost half a century. Pretty surreal.

I've never had particularly strong feelings about the EU until recently, but my decision to vote Remain was largely a reaction to the Brexit campaign's constant undercurrent of racism and outdated jingoism. The other arguments could have potentially swayed me but using immigration as a way of scaring people into voting Leave made me shudder every time it reared its head. I won't go into the lies and half-truths peddled by both sides but now that it's over I genuinely fear for the way we're heading politically.

Just one look at the reaction from the far-right from Britain and abroad after the vote was announced should be enough to make any sane, intelligent person feel, at the very least, slightly concerned. Echoes of history, anyone? True, they are still a tiny minority but all extreme factions start off small and Brexit could just be the little push that the right-wing snowball needs to get down the hill and become a ruddy great big avalanche of hatred.

As I write this, my plane is making its way across England into Wales, descending into the capital city I have called home for almost two decades. The landscape is the same. The roads, the fields, the cities and towns fascinatingly small below us are comfortingly familiar.

And yet, I am coming back to a country that is forever changed. Its people have spoken and their future is the most uncertain it's been for decades.

Let us hope and pray it all turns out alright in the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment