Since the Brexit referendum, I’ve not written much, choosing instead to sit back and understand how the results will play out.
It’s been a whirlwind of activity. Almost comical at times watching politicians one after the other, most of whom supported leave, back out of the deal they so vehemently supported. Unfortunately, however, the results have not been so funny.
I voted remain. I made no secret of this fact.
And for the first time, my 5 year old was watching.
I explained to her, in the simplest of terms what we were voting for, making sure I played it as neutrally as possible knowing full well there were people she knew and loved who sided with the leave campaign.
I explained to her that our country was deciding whether it was better to be in a team or to play on our own. That some people thought the team made decisions that may not always be best for our country but that we were united in our end goal to fight for what’s best for all of us.
She understood. And she came with me to the polling station, as did my two younger girls. I showed her the ballot paper. I made her read the question. (I didn’t go so far as to let her do the X fearing perhaps she’d ruin my ballot paper=). And she carefully folded the paper and inserted it into the ballot box. With me all the while, explaining that although it seems simple, this is an important decision that many people around the country will be deciding on.
We woke up the next morning and heard the news. The same news that shocked a Nation. I knew very few people who had voted leave. And so, living within my bubble, I had thought it was in the bag. How I react from this point onward is exactly what my children are now watching.
Never before (at least in my lifetime) has a nation been so deeply divided. Never before, have so many people been so politically engaged. Never before has politics drawn so much discussion, heartache and emotion.
And yet, the divisions run deep- perpetuated perhaps by the relative ease at which we all have access to a keyboard and the internet to jot down random thoughts and dig at others without any thought to consequence. It’s highlighted the deep divides between class, London vs. the rest, England and Wales vs Scotland and Northern Ireland, young and old and immigrant vs native.
I didn’t like the outcome, I still don’t. But this was and is the ultimate show of democracy. A result where there are winners and losers and where division of opinion exists in its extreme.
So isn’t this exactly how we show our children that there will be setbacks? That we may not like the outcome of certain things that happen?
We have a choice here. We can choose to be one of the sore losers who are still angry and calling for a second referendum despite the millions- 52% of the country- who clearly said they wanted change. We can direct our anger toward the racists that choose to lash out at hardworking migrants and immigrants and we can live in denial, supporting politicians who are looking for a sneaky way out.
Or, we can choose to get on with it. This is a lesson in life. An opportunity to show how we can take lemons and make lemonade. Particularly where difference of opinion divides families, couples and friends right down the middle. I was raised to understand that healthy debate and difference of opinion challenges you. I want that for my daughters as well. I choose to react differently. I choose to move on. I choose to abandon my hope for another referendum and understand the protest that the have-nots have stood for.
Our nation will be great. And it’s those who called on all of us, just hours after the results came in, with tears in their eyes to work together and make this work for all of us- that’s what I have admiration for.
With all that is happening across the globe, our world is divided like never before. With a new PM about to take charge and a woman at that, we have an opportunity to start over.
So let’s do this Britain. For our children.