Thursday, 30 June 2016

Kindness and the EU Referendum



I, like many of you, am struggling to get my head around the events of the last few weeks here in the UK. Like many of you I have a very strong opinion on the EU referendum, and like many of you the outcome was not the one I wanted. I wasn't going to put pen to paper on this blog – I wasn't sure if politics had a place here – but the volatile atmosphere and possible impact of what has happened, and what continues to happen, has left me wanting to address it.

I'm twenty-four years old, and although not particularly old (and probably not that wise) I have been privileged to explore of my own free will some of the most beautiful places in Europe, from the cities of Paris, Munich and Amsterdam to the beaches of Greek islands and beyond. I have also had the privilege to study alongside, and now work with, people from all manner of backgrounds and of all kinds of nationalities. I do not take it lightly that this privilege is being taken away - it has really enriched my outlook on life and provided me with eye-opening experiences.

It sickens me to know that out there are large working class communities who've been duped into thinking European immigrants are to blame for our nation's failing services and poor economic outlook, instead of the real culprit: government cuts. The Spanish waitress serving your meal didn't do this. The Polish delivery driver bringing your order didn't do this. The Greek surgeon tending to your wounds didn't do this.

I could go on and on about the referendum itself (anyone who knows me will probably agree that I already have!), but the thing that's struck me most in the 7 days since the verdict is that the Leave result has been used to legitimise racism, xenophobia and abuse. It's not OK. Without understanding, without empathy, and without kindness, we lose what it means to be human.

Like many of you, I've always identified more with forward-thinking, outward-looking European values than with the stiff, insular and close-minded British attitude that seems far too prevalent these days. I'm not sure where or how young progressive people will fit into this bleak new 'Great' Britain. I don't know if there's any coming back from this, or how we'll actually fix it, but I know it starts with understanding, empathy and kindness.
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3 comments

  1. Kindness definitely needs to be the most important aspect of the outcome, what's done is done and we need to move forward despite the result :) xx

    Eleanorclaudie.com

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