I have never been an overtly patriotic person. I have often deemed it foolish to be proud of something that is as randomly delineated at birth. But now knowing what we have lost I think I can say that I was once proud to be British. I was proud of the acceptance and tolerance that this nation promoted in the modern era. I was proud of the diversity that we promoted and the welcoming spirit of most British people. Just last weekend I walked through Manchester City centre during the Manchester Day parade and said “This is Britain.” But that Britain has been lost. It is now a relic of the past.
I am not sure what to be proud of now. This Brexit vote gives traction to the worst elements of the far right. A campaign of xenophobia has won. From the euphoria of the rejection of such hate in the London mayoral election in May I have arrived at the lows of the acceptance of this vile, nasty campaign. Last night Nigel Farage gloated that he had won independence without a “single shot being fired”. Such a statement was sickening in light of the horrific killing of Jo Cox last week.
It is now obvious that the British public have made an immense decision. It is a decision that demands action. There is little time to weep given that those of us on the left now face the greatest fight of our lives. All that we hold dear, the ideals that we have fought to defend our entire lives is now at threat. Our economy is in free-fall but at least we have Boris Johnson’s apology to soothe our pain.
Those who preach the myth of Lexit will soon be brought crashing to earth by economic reality. At 10 o’clock yesterday evening one pound bought you $1.50. Now it buys you $1.33. The FTSE is predicted to lose £100bn. Anyone who says that such economic indicators are irrelevant to the working class population is lying. While this seismic decision will hit everyone, it will be the poor and the working poor who face the brunt of the pain. Yes, the working class vote has been heard. But we must surely ask at what cost. As a working class person I am fearful for the future of this country.
As I write this there are pundits laughing and joking about this vote as if things will just tick on as normal. Believe me, they will not. We have rejected our allies and reverted toward splendid isolation. Project Fear is materialising as project fact and we have little time to pick ourselves up and prepare for the battle ahead. David Cameron’s position as Prime Minister is untenable. We are headed for a Johnson-led government with Gove in charge of the nation’s finances. If rumour is to be believed we may even have Nigel Farage in the Cabinet.
Rather than turning in on itself the Labour Party must look outward. This cannot descend into a pointless slinging match concerning the leadership. Jeremy Corbyn’s position is as strong as concrete and any attempt to remove him will only hurt Labour’s chances. We need a strong Labour party more than ever and we must come together to fight for it.
The stuff of nightmares has become our nation’s reality. But the people have spoken and we must respect the vote they have cast. I just hope that they understand exactly what they have voted for.