BREXIT: I’m Sorry We Failed You: A Letter to My Daughter
My world changed when you came into it last year, and now the world has changed again. When the decision was made by our nation on the 24th June 2016 to leave the European Union, I saw the implications not for me, but for you. In the few short weeks since the vote, while you cut two more teeth and learnt how to blow kisses, we made a mockery of the democratic process with our blind vote.
Following the Leave result, I was saddened, and maddened, to hear the highest searched term on Google was “What is the EU?”
I’m sorry, my love, for all those who continuously campaign for a fairer, democratic nation, to be disappointed by ignorance and voters fuelled by hate and misled by incorrect information. We were told our healthcare and our public sector would benefit from extra funding if we were to leave, a notion slammed by our very own Prime Minister , the very leader who allowed us to make this change. We were told that leaving the EU would prevent our services from crumbling under the weight of increased immigration. We were told our nation, standing alone, would be stronger than ever.
I’m sorry for those who voted to leave. For those who could not see the benefits that the EU brought to employment law – the right to take breaks during the working day , a safer work place and the right to paid maternity leave . For those who could not see the benefits we had in the economy – with free trade boosting our economy, it was both organisations and consumers who benefitted from lower priced goods and stability . For those who could not see the benefits we had in our human rights – the right to not be discriminated against for your age, gender, race or due to disability , the right to equal pay, without archaic barriers on gender. We made financial ends meet during my maternity leave from work thanks to EU laws, protecting us during the most precious time.
I’m sorry that economist predictions on our fragile economy were thrown away on a whim, setting a bleak and frightening future. As the pound took a nosedive, no one dared to say “I told you so”. I’m sorry we took a step forward back in 1973 when Britain joined the European Community, only to take ten back now. In trying to prove our strength and independence, we’re here now, with our country divided in two. Two opposing side of the argument materialised in news articles, social media and a fractious atmosphere left following Brexit.
I’m sorry that the decision made by an overwhelming percentage of baby boomers – those who enjoyed a nation with free education, affordable housing and a mostly peaceful life, gifted you only with uncertainty for the future. Our older generation too, voted heavily on leaving, focusing on our identity as a nation. Wishing, perhaps to keep Britain’s voice from forming a whisper within the EU.
I’m sorry that I was so confident that we’d stay, dismissing the very idea of a Leave result and believing that the decision to even hold the referendum was an empty joke. The weight of the decision of 52% of us now hangs heavy. I’m sorry that we allowed ourselves to be led into this decision by a so called “free” press bolstering the Brexit campaign with their sensationalist headlines , and I’m sorry for a government too focused on staying in power and with a misplaced confidence in the public.
I’m sorry that this deteriorated into an argument of “taking our country back” and for the confusion people feel on who “they” even are. I’m sorry to our European and international friends living in the UK who now feel victimised and who no longer want to stay as our choice has made them feel so unwelcome. I’m sorry that already, the number of hate crimes reported have risen fivefold and as a nation, we’ve become intolerant, discriminatory and racist. I’m sorry that even those born here, are experiencing hate and spiteful comments.
I’m sorry that within days, our Prime Minister and many campaigners for the Leave campaign resigned, filling us only with dread and paving the path ahead of fear, confusion and uncertainty. For if they crumble with the weight of this decision, how can we remain positive?
I’m sorry our nation failed you.
8 October 2016
Louise Kirk is a marketing and communications consultant living in the south of Spain. Louise is passionate about British politics, sustainable living and when she’s not running around after her toddler, you can find her with a book and a cup of tea.