The following are posts made by family and friends, or friends of friends of mine on Facebook and other social networks in the 24 hours following the British decision to leave the EU.
They are presented here unedited and anonymised. If anyone would like to be credited with what they have said, or have their writing removed, please contact me as soon as possible.
As a 25 year old grammar school educated, redbrick university graduate, it should come as no surprise that my social circle almost exclusively feel very negative about the event.
Some tried to keep a sense of balance…
“This was unexpected.”
“Is it worth retaining a glimmer of hope about referendums not being legally or constitutionally binding in this country?”
“Wow. You actually did it. Thanks guys. Thanks for voting for a future the younger generation does not want.”
“Oh Britain, you believed the hype (well, 52% of you). I fear we have chosen to be on the wrong side of history this time. All i can say is I hope I am proved wrong.”
“Can I just remind everyone that voting to leave doesn’t magically change the continental shelf. Britain is still in Europe. We will always be part of Europe. Half the country still wants to be part of a wider community, values multiculturalism, cross continent support, friendship and strength and that’s not going to change.”
Some had stronger opinions…
“I feel incensed and vengeful and dispirited and powerless.”
“I have never felt more frustrated, angry and demoralised. Bloody buggering buggeroonis. Bugger.”
“It’s not democracy when almost exactly 50% want the opposite of what is decided! It’s like we flipped a coin on the EU. It’s too important to be decided in this way.”
“Well it’s official. The majority of people disagree with Steven Hawking.”
Some kept it simple…
“Congratulations England, you just fucked yourself”
“Canada here I come”
Some wrote more…
“A great victory for anti-intellectualism, inaccurate and manipulative media and borderline racists. It would be fine if we voted to leave the EU based on actual facts. Hope no one was planning on exchanging any sterling any time soon…”
“Waking up to find that half of the people, which I am now stuck in a country with are a bunch of racist, narrow minded bigots is very unsettling… all I’ll say is that I hope that the people with sense, who voted remain can work together in their own union to block out the inevitable hatred and build towards our future”
“Devastated by the results. A gullible and frustrated England (deliberately not including Scotland and NI) turns its back on the European Union and Internationalism – and all based on lies from narrow minded right of centre political fraternity who have conveniently blamed for all our issues, namely our current austerity and funding limitations for social and public services at the door of inward migration and the European Union.”
“The vitriolic rhetoric of hate has won in the UK. This is such a sad day for Britain. Photographs of Nigel Farrage cheering are devastating. He is whom we have become. Absolutely appalled.”
“What the hell??? We actually voted to leave…… Really?? People voted to leave with the leave campaign’s racist, xenophobic, divisive propaganda, with Nigel Farage standing in front of a wave of Syrians as if refusing people in need is something to be proud of. I know the European union is not perfect, and there are some serious issues, but my God, most people are voting to leave because they are scared of immigration, scared of others, scared of actually being part of something bigger and more integrated. Even when they live in a sleepy, white village and barely see any immigrants, when they barely see any tangible negative difference to their lives. Most people didn’t and don’t know much about this question we were given, but when such an important question is thrust upon people who didn’t really engage or think about it before, it’s like leaving the decision to a coin toss. And this time, Nigel Farage has tipped the balance and it has landed tits up. I wasn’t that vocal about this before because I genuinely didn’t think we’d be stupid enough to vote leave. This result had made me feel more ashamed of this country then ever, and I wake up not really feeling like I belong here. Shame on you if you voted to leave.”
And one offered some kind of conclusion…
“Plus ca change, and all that, in politics at least.
Having had some time to think about it and absorb the overnight shifts in the political landscape of the country and the supra-national Union which we are, currently, still part of, here are some observations.
Firstly, it is genuinely a good thing that so many people engaged in this collective decision and made the effort to come to the polls. The campaigns on both sides were, regrettably, full of slanging and lies, rhetoric, empty promises, and personal insult. I think in the face of such divisive and nasty campaigning, the public have, by and large, done very well to examine their own feelings and fears, instead of blindly accepting all the campaign information on offer, and voted accordingly, especially as general trends show the country is becoming increasingly apathetic and disenfranchised about suffrage.
Secondly, it is very sad that so many people have been personally attacked, in many cases by their own friends and family, over their personal inclinations. There are doubtless many private and compelling reasons why people voted for either option, so it is saddening to see large groups of people being tarred with the same brush. I think we would all do well to remember to be gracious in defeat and in victory. The country is clearly deeply split, and the best thing to do is to talk to each other, listen, and understand. Diversity, including of opinion, is one of the the UK’s strengths.
Finally, whether you are celebrating or commiserating today, we should remember that the EU and its forebears were created in the aftermath of the second world war, in order to try and bring peace and cooperation in Europe. We all have our own private views about its success or failure in this endeavour. However, I would urge everyone, regardless of opinion, to remember that the founding principles of the EU are “the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities … in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail”. These are not values exclusive to the EU. Even if or when we do formally sever our ties with it, we should make sure we do all we can to live and work according to these values in the UK.”
If you have any of your own views, or comments that struck you as particularly prescient, please share them in the comments below.