So Britain voted to leave the EU.
As a result, I saw a lot of mixed reactions here in Bristol over the last few days – from people being highly supportive towards immigrants, crying over the outcome of the referendum and wanting Bulgarian citizenship, because they no longer want to stay in this country, to xenophobes on the street shouting that immigrants are ruining their country.
”Yesterday, three middle-aged women, all dressed up for going out, asking a parking bus-driver for directions. He responds with an accent, saying he’s not from England so he doesn’t know. One of them, laughing “You’re not from England, are you?”, and then turning around to her friends “I voted out!”.
The bus driver was so ashamed of the whole situation, when they asked where he’s from he said he doesn’t know. This is only one situation of many, with the leave campaign portraying migrants so negative, even three fat, middle-aged women now feel they can laugh down on a foreign bus driver. Fucking disgusting really,” a friend of mine explained what we witnessed yesterday in a Facebook status.
The xenophobia won’t stop because there are articles like this one coming up now – apparently immigrants are supposed to start invading the country in hordes once again before article 50 is triggered. It’s interesting to see who has actually predicted this (the author didn’t reply to my tweet) and have they not noticed what happened to the pound overnight.
I’ll break it down for you: No one wants to come here now. People – both EU nationals and Brits – actually want to leave.
It’s important to say that if you encounter xenophobic behaviour, you’ll be doing a good thing, if you challenge it, because you might embarrass the xenophobes and (more likely) you’ll restore the faith in humanity in the victim of the verbal attack.
As much as I don’t like the outcome of the referendum, if we’re to be objective the democratic decision of the Brits should be respected and article 50 signed.
However, I’m deeply shocked by the amount of people who came up on TV and said that they regret their vote. Apparently, they didn’t realise that their vote matters and they would like to take their decision back.
The Bregretters phenomenon scares me as much as the rise of xenophobia and the fact I have no clue how will the Brexit affect me personally. The Bregretters are people who:
- Didn’t think their votes add up to the end result.
- Didn’t research what they’re voting for, although it was clear that this is the most important political decision they’ll take in their lives.
- Went and voted Out for a questionable reason.
- Were then shocked by the result, an outcome of their own actions.
- Went and spoke on TV about 1 and 4, not realising that they look a bit stupid.
I’m not saying they’re stupid, they’re probably just victims of the media propaganda from the last 3 years. But their behaviour shows that Britain has a serious problem in regard to civic education and explaining to people how democracy works (probably we could include common sense here, as well).
Initiatives like Bite the Ballot are indeed trying to fill in the gaps. Perhaps a similar campaign aimed at older people (Bite the Ballot focuses on students) will be a good idea.
For now however, I, as a Bulgarian immigrant, will kindly translate this Macedonia video for anyone who doesn’t get how voting and elections work.
A guy and a girl wake up in the same bed.
Guy: It was very cool last night, wasn’t it?
Girl: What are you doing here?
Guy: I’m just having a rest.
Girl: Who told you that you can have a rest here? (angry)
Guy: You did.
Girl: It was a mistake. (Goes to the bathroom and closes the door)
Guy: I’m so happy that you chose me. Open the door and we’ll go on. It’ll be great! We’ll close every door around us, we’ll live in isolation from the rest of the world; we’re enough for each other.
Girl: Could you please leave?
Guy: I’m not leaving. I’m here and I’ll stay here for the next 4 years (length of the political mandate)
(Girl facepalms, realising that her choice/vote matter)
Voice over: After f*cking, it’s too late to regret.
Hope this wasn’t news for you, but if it was, do let me know which part, because I’m interested to find out how we could tackle the problem.