On June 24th, I woke up to the dead silence of change. An eerie calm crept across the British Isles as people tuned into the EU referendum results. Despite unrelenting media coverage and the vacant, icy stare of #CatsAgainstBrexit, Britain chose to walk it alone. Under the electrostatic noise of my MacBook, the world stood still as the United Kingdom’s experiment in democracy was etched in stone. I sat deadpan in my chair. Completely. Fucking. Flabbergasted.
The country is now a mixture of joy and chagrin. Anger and jubilee. Like the fool, Britain now walks it alone and without a compass. During its first baby steps, news reports traded insults between the Leave and Remain camps. The pound buckled. Markets collapsed. ERASMUS students wailed. Merkel, Junker and the EU Commission grimaced. In a matter of a week, Cameron resigned. Boris Johnson, the stalwart supporter of the Vote Leave campaign, abandoned his bid for PM leadership. UKIP leader Nigel Farage wittily stepped down. Both Labour and Tory were flung into disarray. My, how these first steps have been painful.
We thought about joining the 48% movement; you know, those that wanted to remain in the EU, and people have been beating down our door to make t-shirts for this. As much as we’ve wanted to, we decided against it because it feels counterproductive. We don’t want to fuel the immense anger that is swelling on both sides of the argument. All that we know in the wake of the vote is that we must stay united. Europe is not the enemy, neither is our interpretation of democracy. We are all we have left. We are not nationalists. We are not xenophobes. We are not imperialists or sycophants. We are British and we are Europeans. We are a multicultural nation with a multifaceted history. No matter what happens, we cannot lose ourselves. Despite our long history, we are still young. Let’s grow together. That is the true essence of democracy.