Welcome to Post-Brexit Britain. Please leave your freedom of speech at the door. Your opinion is only welcome if you’re one of the 52%.
Waking up to the news that the Brexit campaign had won on Friday morning was a bit of a shock if I’m honest, as it was to millions of others. However, it was the following reactions on Facebook and other Social Media sites that shocked me even more. As more and more remain campaigners started to share their feelings, it became apparent that freedom of speech was no longer welcome by a lot of users.
Remain voters were being called childish amongst other things for venting their frustration. Will it change the outcome of the referendum? No it won’t, but it’s a natural reaction when you’ve been so passionate about something and I’ve got no doubt that those who voted leave would feel the same, if not worse, had the vote not gone their way. To now be told by various media outlets and countless individuals to ‘get over it’, ‘shut up’, ‘stop being childish’ etc. is awful and against the entire idea of freedom that you voted for. Just remember you’ve added your friends to your Facebook feed as you want to see what they’re up to, how they’re feeling and what they have to say. Don’t then complain when they actually go ahead and do that.
Don’t get me wrong though, there is shade being thrown from both sides of the arguments. Accusations of all Brexit voters being racist and xenophobic coming from the Remain camp are just as bad and the sense of decorum has been lowered on both sides of the fence. I read a quote that perfectly summed this up for me which was “Not all Brexit voters are racists, but all racists are Brexit voters.” It’s for this reason that this tar covered brush has been unleashed and I feel that it can’t be denied that a sizeable amount of people did vote for those reasons. What the size of that group is, no-one knows. However, I’m sure (or at least hoping) that the majority of leave voters did their research first and voted for real reasons and not just because they believed this would stop the flow of immigrants.
Now I’ve got reasons for why I’m shocked and disappointed over the result, especially so after some of the things I’ve seen since the result was announced. This includes voters who have now admitted they only voted leave because they thought remain had it in the bag (albeit there are probably remain voters who also would have voted differently), to people who didn’t vote at all because of the same reason.
However, the biggest shock for me was the 53/47% swing of Brexit/Remain voters in Wales. Wales was the area with the most to lose from a leave vote, receiving approximately £70 per head more from the EU than we paid out. This is mainly due to Wales being under-funded by the disillusioned Government in Westminster, although looking back at the campaign; I can now understand why the Welsh electorate voted this way.
When looking at the campaign as a whole, everyone was aware of the British issues affected in the vote as the mainstream media were more than happy to relay these messages back out, however the Welsh media and Welsh government were hardly anywhere to be seen. As such, unless you took time to go out of your way and research your own information, you wouldn’t be aware of the Welsh issues effecting Wales.
Let’s take immigration for an example, we kept being told that this was a drain on our resources, however when only a small percentage of the Welsh population are migrants, it doesn’t really make that much difference to the Welsh resources. You’d probably be more likely to see a migrant GP than be stuck in a queue behind a migrant at your local doctors surgery.
Second to this, Wales is largely forgotten about by Westminster as far as funding is concerned and we relied largely on handouts and subsidies from the EU in order to fund projects to regenerate local towns and villages. This includes new bypass roads, leisure centres, train stations, sixth form colleges and more. Personally, I think you’d be largely disillusioned if you think Westminster are just going to change their ways and start giving Wales the same level of funding that the EU gave us in order to thrive.
One thing is for sure though. We are now in a time of political, economic and personal uncertainty. However it is now, more than ever, that we need to keep applying pressure to the politicians that led us in to this situation. The same politicians who have already gone back on promises that led the winning campaign. The same politicians who are likely to take over 10 Downing Street within the next 3 months. We need to pressure them to deliver fair redistribution of the funds that will no longer be paid to the EU and ensure the working communities in Wales, the North and Cornwall receive the level of support they need to continue growing and not be forgotten by the big cities.
I just hope the passion that this referendum has ignited continues on to whenever the next general election is and also through the lead up to it. One thing this has shown us is that the Tories have truly divided the nation across all political parties. We need to take this opportunity to keep stoking that fire and let the government know that no, we’re not happy no matter which way we voted we were lied to.
Yes I was gutted when I heard the result, but it’s time to let the dust settle, regroup and then roll with the punches. We need our leaders to now deliver what is best for Britain and lead us back to a United Kingdom and not a Divided Britain.