Random personal thoughts on Brexit

If you’ve been following the news wherever you are you may have come across a few news articles discussing something known as Brexit.

Recently it’s been called many other things as well. It’s the latest target in an endless global game of pin the tail on the donkey.

I sometimes feel when I read the news that it’s written by people who don’t get enough sleep and their lack of sleep makes them prone to fearing their own shadow and they’re passing that fear on.

There’s a hint of tabloid in every headline, panic in the paragraphs, with stiff sentences and heady harsh words. The focus is on catastrophe, the worst side of the situation, the negative implications, and complaining about everything and everyone. The glass is empty and everyone is fighting over the last drop.

It seems as though people are going through the five stages of grief:

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prometheus-5-stages-of-grief-mark weinstein

Prometheus by Mark Weinstein

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At least that’s what it looks like if you read the news, social media, get your information from others.

Certain reports makes it sound like the pro-leavers are now being hunted by the pro-remainers who are shouting ‘Not in my Name!’ as they stab the people who didn’t agree with them with pitchforks (or selfie sticks). If you can’t win the vote one way, maybe you can win it another way?

It’s okay to be bigoted against racists, right?

And since all pro-leavers are judged to have voted to leave because they’re racists this makes the pro-remainers feel righteous in their vocal vitriol against them.

Hating haters is justified and solves the problems which hate causes.

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Everyone is accusing everyone else of giving in to fear and believing lies.

The UK is tearing up and tearing itself apart. Or at least that’s how it sounds when you look at it from a media perspective.

Locally though things seem to be business and life as usual with the main disruption being caused by the flash floods we’ve had in the past couple of days rather than rioting and anarchy in the streets. But I do live in a sparsely populated area where most people voted to leave… so, there’s that to consider.

One of the online issues about Brexit which stood out for me was the ‘youth of today’ claiming that the majority (64%) of them had voted to remain and that their vote was drowned out by the ‘old people of today’ who the youth seem to think have ‘ruined the future’ for them. Apparently ‘old people’ (which seems to include anyone in their mid-40’s and upwards) will all die soon and therefore their vote shouldn’t count as they won’t live long enough to have to deal with the consequences of their actions.

The way it was ‘voiced’ in the media made it sound like the ‘youth of today’ thought that anyone ‘old’ did not have a right to an opinion (or a life) and should have voted for the next generation rather than their own. It sounded a bit narcissistic, entitled, arrogant… but the media makes everything and everyone sound that way.

When did being effed over by the generations before you stop being a regular rite of passage?

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This Be The Verse - Philip Larkin

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That filled me with pathos and bathos simultaneously as I recalled how I felt and what I thought when I was the ‘youth of the day’.

The shit the generations before you get up to always feels likes it’s ruining everything for you and that the world you’re inheriting is a bloody mess… if only they’d think of you before they made a move, if only they’d stop being so selfish thinking about themselves instead of about you and what you want and need… their life isn’t theirs it’s yours, it’s about you and not about them! Do these old people not realise they’re almost at death’s door while you’ve only just stepped over the threshold of life

In my youth the ‘old people’ were involved in ‘Star Wars’ and every day was another round of who will nuke who first. I don’t remember too much about the politics of that time because I was too far up my own young arse, worried about another type of politics (fitting into my social group by bending over backwards until I broke, transforming myself into who I was not, saying, doing, being what I was supposed to according to my peers who based their rules and views on their peers who based them on their peers… stuff like that), thought I knew everything and was convinced that everyone else didn’t know anything, especially not those older than me who were planning on destroying the world so that if I survived I’d get to live in a nuclear wasteland (fighting mutated beings and others for food, drink and a roof over my head to protect me from radiation rain)… I do remember scouring a world map to try and figure out the safest place to live to survive a nuclear blast (these days I wonder why I wanted to survive such a thing, but… I guess that’s primal instinct at work).

Then Chernobyl happened and it made me aware that you can’t hide from that kind of change because the world turns and keeps turning. Nuclear meltdown has nuclear fallout which forms into a thick cloud that rains its toxic particles down on everyone no matter where you are… or who you are.

Even a fallout shelter (or a Bond villain’s hideout) isn’t the ideal place to be, especially if it’s full of other people who are all scared shitless about the future which is no longer the one they thought they had ahead of them (want to hear god or whatever laugh – tell him or her or whatever your plans). All their plans are ruined and it’s not their fault, it’s always someone else’s fault. And there are only a few cans of water and food, not enough for everyone but everyone wants it.

Just when you think you’re safe… you find the safe you’re in has limited amounts of oxygen and at some point you either get out or you suffocate.

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If I sound like I was pro-leave… I wasn’t. I wasn’t pro-remain either.

I figured that we’d probably remain because people tend to go with ‘better the devil you know than the one you don’t know”, but if we didn’t…

I was the worst kind of human, the one who sits on the fence and waits for others to make a decision, then waits a bit more for the panic and fighting after the decision which would probably occur regardless of the decision) to die down, then waits a bit more… then gets on with whatever life is in the now.

I’d accept and adapt to whatever comes.

I wasn’t always a fence sitter, nor did I adapt and accept. I used to get stuck in to the fight… I loved fighting, it was almost easier than breathing, it was breathing… thinking that one way was right and the other was wrong… then I experienced that thing known as finding out that what you believed was right had a lot of wrong to it and that what you thought was wrong had a lot of right to it.

And ultimately the universe doesn’t give an eff what you believe or think, and neither do other people… they only care about what they believe and think and your view is either for or against their view, and they’ll make use of your view either way to promote theirs.

When I was younger I didn’t know what I know now that I’m older… which is that I really don’t know anything I just think I know stuff and that illusion makes me think that the stuff I know needs other people to know it too the way that I know it (smartest person in the planetary room syndrome) and if they don’t know it I need to use a hammer on their heads to make them know it (and they think the same thing about themselves and me, and that I need to unknow what I know and know what they know).

When I was younger I waited for the moment when it would be ‘my turn’ to make rules and make a difference… I always thought that would be when I was older, but now that I’m older… apparently it’s still not ‘my turn’ because now what was once all about being older is all about being younger.ย  I guess I missed the small moment when I was just the right age on the right side in the right place at the right time…

But strangely enough I no longer care that I missed my mark or making my mark.

Perhaps because it’s not about me… it never was… it’s not about you either… it never was…

It’s about us… and us is very hard for us to do consciously, but we do it unconsciously…

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john donne

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We’re all in this together whether we’re together in this or not…

I haven’t been out of my house since the results of the vote, partly due to local flooding and partly because I had no personal reasons to go out, but today I’m going to a community party which will… be interesting and will maybe give me a better idea of the ‘mood of the people’ than the media…

There will be some funfair games at this local event, not sure if there’ll be a duck the pro-leavers or pro-remainers in the (boiling) water option, hopefully not because… no one wins those kinds of games even if for a second they feel victorious.

Victory is fleeting… the real meat and potatoes of life is in the work we do together to sort the messes we make as humans out.

Or something like that…

Love it, them, others, yourself or hate it, them, others yourself…

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rumi

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6 thoughts on “Random personal thoughts on Brexit

  1. Fascinating blog. We are having a similar phenomenon to ‘leave’ movement in the US now hence the popularity of Donald Trump. Many people are tired of business as usual and so many in the middle class in the United States are under employed and struggling due to lack of ‘real jobs’. They’re not sure exactly what they want, they just don’t want what they have no. Or when we passed Obama care on a Sunday scrapping our current healthcare system while most in power had not read the entire bill and the infrastructure necessary to achieve it was not even imaginable

    I wouldn’t be too harsh on myself for not voting one way or another. No one can tell what all the ramifications of a decision of that enormity will have as witnessed by the chaos in the financial markets As Donald Rumsfeld said before Iraq ‘then there are the known knowns, the known unknowns and the worst – the unknown unknowns.

    Tough to want to be responsible for a choice w so many unknown unknowns. I think the leave vote might have hoped to serve as a show of protest that some Weren’t happy w the countries direction but after they prevailed, even they were shocked and even experienced buyers remorse as evidenced by the ‘do-over ‘ petition.

    As an outsider, and having nothing to do with race, simply speaking as a person who earns their living through the financial markets, I never quite understood what being a member of the EU would bring to the UK. I always saw the UK as separate from Europe. Of course, the closest I’ve been to England of late is watching Downton Abbey.

    But I for one am booking my trip while the dollar is strong.

    I understand both sentiments. The wish for change and the safery for ‘the devil you know However it sorts, you can not turn back the clock and go back to the UK of the 1950’s.

    I did force myself to vote in the Primary election even though neither candidate was a perfect fit for me. I’ve never missed a vote but it doesn’t mean I’ve always made an informed choice. Those pesky unknown unknowns.

    Best of luck to all in the UK and I hope for the speedy return of stable financial markets. Don’t be too tough on yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

      I read quite a few tweets and articles where those in the USA thanked the GB and Brexit for knocking Trump out of the main news for a moment. The ‘thanks’ were mainly ironic and sarcastic in tone because you still have to decide which of two devils you want running America and how that will mess your country up… and really, who thought Trump would get this far (and if he gets in will he run the country like he runs The Apprentice).

      It does seem like there’s a trend in the western world to rebel against conformity and go for something different… but the different option doesn’t really seem any better than the same old stuff.

      Usually I don’t go in for ‘conspiracy theories’ because they’re always so tidy and tend to rate human intelligence highly (excluding the fallout which goes with when humans think they’re highly intelligent), with some evil genius/cabal orchestrating a complicated manipulation, and they rarely accept the mess that humans are into their conspiracy theory stories, but right now a ‘conspiracy theory’ seems better than the mess which seems to be what it is. It’s almost nice to think there’s some evil genius who planned all of this and everything will be okay… maybe… eventually.

      I’m not being hard on myself (or at least I didn’t see myself as being that way, but now I’m wondering if perhaps I’m so used to being hard on myself I don’t notice it…).

      Quite a few of the people I know who voted ‘leave’ were doing it to register their ‘rebellion’ against government and they didn’t think their vote would matter… uhoh! They thought ‘remain’ would be overwhelming and… double uhoh!

      You know that thing when you don’t think something is serious until afterwards… because you’re so used to no one taking you or your opinion seriously. I think the UK has just found out that the people have more say than they thought they did and now they’re all reconsidering what they said but it may be too late for that.

      Speaking of the pound being in freefall… I’m thinking about making the work that my recently purchased house (the value of which is now plummeting) needs doing on it into a ‘personal experience workshop’ for rich foreigners (everyone who lives outside of the UK). You (rich foreigner) gets to stay in my house and help me fix it up while we figure out how this will help your self-esteem ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m kidding (at least for now) but there is always opportunity for the entrepreneur to be found in human mess.

      History is full of events like this… we’re just part of that now in a way which is different from how we imagined these things to be.

      I hear there’s a big sale going on on British products… not sure about this, but maybe you can buy one of the actors from Downton Abbey at a cut rate price including costume – I’d opt for Maggie Smith, she’s pretty awesome and rather funny in RL. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      1. Thank you for the response. It was the first bonafide comment I’d read that was not an actual tabloid driven ‘sound bite’. Same here w the Trump vote Those that voted as a protest were shocked that he won in so many states.

        We have a Trump National golf course nearby and there are always ‘never trump’ protesters outside.

        The quote I responsed to was ‘I was the worst kind of human,….. Ok just a tad harsh.

        We had a sort of similar situation in 2008 with our credit crash. Everyone’s home plummeted 30-40 percent overnight. My advice to my horrified self and my clients was’you bought your house to live in, not as an investment, so live and enjoy and wait.’ But those who were brave and made improvements while others couldn’t afford to do so or froze in fear were handsomely rewarded for their risk. Our housing market is at an all time high. It is perverse how the misfortune of others often sets the stage for the opportunity of many.

        My thought is just like in the US, the government ( whomever that will be) will step in and ‘stabilize markets’ so the average man will not be totally destroyed as they seem to be regardless of whichever way they turn or vote. The US govt did this in 2001 after September 11 and I have gotten used to operating on an unlevel playing field as these props have been in place for so long, our economy will fail if our’stimulus’ is removed.
        I would gladly participate in your home renovation. I’m Gemini, double Capricorn so I bring a lot to the mix including the love of a good practical joke and a keen sense of business

        Lastly, Thank you so much for the snippet from the Young ones. I watched that show with my first husband weekly on mtv. He was an Australian who’s mum still was a UK citizen and refused to become an Australian. His dad had to sign her in each time she re-entered Australia He rebelled against his mum and her picture of the queen that hung in the kitchen and moved to the US. Today my son enjoys all the perks of being a dual citizen- US-Australian.

        Keep your sense of humor. I think real people have little say in how it all sorts in the long run.

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        1. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

          I agree that when you buy something, especially like a house, it should be about living in your decision, owning it your choice and all of its possible consequences. Your investment should be in yourself, and we need to support and stand by ourselves. Of course there are issues, extenuating circumstances, that can affect our ability to do that.

          People are often encouraged to live beyond their means as this helps the economy, to make choices that are about an investment in a dream, and as long as the financial situation stays stable they can do that but instability can cause the sort of reality check which bursts too many bubbles too quickly and leaves everyone owning a money pit which sucks their bank account and their ability to fill it dry. If you can wait out the storm things will eventually re-balance themselves, but being able to wait out the storm may be a luxury people can’t afford especially if they invested in a collective dream for the future and that particular future is no longer one that is available. Governments or other establishments make promises to get people to invest in them – when the storm comes governments and other establishments often can’t fulfill the promises they made to the people because they made those promises while things were different, and they rarely seem prepared for things to be a different kind of different.

          I’m enjoying renovating my home with my bare hands. I’m trying to learn to do as much as I can DIY style. I’m a bit of a miser and love learning new skills too, but also it’s a good way to connect to the land beneath your feet and the roof over your head. It’s an intriguing type of therapy in some ways, including couples therapy. My partner and I are both very independent, working together on the house has been interesting and fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

          I thought you might be referring to ‘the worst kind of human’ remark. I was pre-empting. I’m also rather comfortable with that ‘role’ thanks to growing up with narcissist parents, and dealing with social judgment (esp. social judgment instigated by my narc parents). I found that agreeing with people that you’re the worst cuts their lecture short. Sometimes I don’t even notice that I’m doing it, unless someone reacts to it in a considerate manner as you did.

          I grew up with parents from different cultures and countries, it’s an intriguing experience. It can make you sometimes feel rootless, but you also get the benefits of being a citizen of the world, in some ways your country is Earth. Being US/Australian is a great mix from many perspectives – the history is awesome!

          Seeing the funny side is my default setting. It helps to laugh at the vagaries of existence and life on Earth. Being human is one crazy and chaotic mess which we’re always trying to tidy up and bring to order.

          Thank you very much for sharing, you’ve given me a lot of nourishing food for thought ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Hello
    I’m not sure what age has to do with setting on the fence. We actually blame young people that they set on the fence and don’t get involved, especially when it comes to politics because it is not interesting, is not cool, like discussing music or fashion or sports or whatever the youth of today are interested in. But maybe it was always different when I was growing up, maybe when you come from a country that caused 2 world wars and paid a huge price. When you grew up taught that setting on the fence is as bad if not worse than speaking out. I grew up with this saying
    First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.

    I learned that scapegoat and blamin refugees and immigrants or others is not the answer to our problems. It’s just an easy way to resolve bigger issues. I live in England now for 16 years. I came to England to study and met then my ex boyfriend and had my daughter who has a German passport but lived all her life in England. When I first came to England it was different, I lived in the north people were so friendly. They were angry with political leaders. Today England has changed a lot they are more angry with the East European and the emigrants blaming them for a government that didn’t invest and didn’t manage the situation well. I’m not saying and I don’t even believe that all those who voted out are racists. I think unfortunately they are just humans that are furious with the situation and with economic development and taking it out. I agree with you the media is making an elephant out of it, but I am still worried about the growth of the far right and nationalist not only here but everywhere. Just because as you said We’re all in this togethe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

      Age has nothing to do with sitting on the fence. The ‘age issue’ of this referendum result controversy was one which caught my attention because the news articles I’ve been reading were using it heavily, saying that ‘young people were angry at the old people for ruining their future for them’ (even though the statistics show that a majority of young people didn’t actually bother voting), in a rather tabloid manner, and it stood out. It reminded me of how I saw things when I was younger versus how I see things now I’m older.

      When I was younger I thought sitting on the fence was awful, but now that I’m older I’ve gained an appreciation for it even if it makes me a bit of a fence-sitting pariah in social discussions on the matter. I never sit on the fence if someone is being bullied in my vicinity, I will defend anyone who is being bullied regardless of whether I’m on their side or not. There are other ways of dealing with differences. Bullying is ugly regardless of who is doing it or why they’re doing it.

      The ‘racism’ issue has been focused upon heavily too. I think this is part of the ‘leave’ movement but not everyone who voted ‘leave’ was doing it for racist reasons. Many of the people who voted ‘leave’ were focused upon the ‘fed up of being told what to do by unelected delegates in Brussels’. The EU has a lot of problems which need to be addressed and redressed. It needs to change with the times. A few more politically serious (and less political side biased) news articles have said that this vote to leave may cause the EU to sort those problems out for the benefit of all EU members (except for Britain if it actually follows through on leaving).

      It’s a mess right now, but it was a mess already – this referendum has just made it a very open and vocal mess.

      You’ve highlighted some very interesting points. One of which is that living under the shadow of what our ancestors did before we were born often handicaps us. The Germans of today are not responsible for what the Nazis did. The Germans of today are not Nazis. Those times were effed up for everyone and what happened in Germany had a lot to do with what came before the rise of the Nazis – what came before lead to the rise of the Nazis. They managed to take power because of the screw ups of the generations before them – the Treaty of Versailles is considered to have been a major influence in what happened. History is not just about one moment in time but what came before which led to what happened afterwards.

      I don’t think they came first for the jews – they came first for the people they could bully into going after the jews first. To persecute a group you need another group to do it, so first you need to create a pack mentality, the pack has to be what occurs first. To stop that we need to stop what causes pack mentality – that’s hard to do but can be done if the individual members of a pack feel they can express themselves without being bullied by their pack or attacked by another pack. Packs often form because someone manages to convince people that they’re being attacked by a common enemy.

      I’m half Italian. My grandfather ended up in jail during WWII because he refused to become a Fascist. This had ramifications for the generations which came later on in our family. One particular family member joined a ‘terrorist’ group later on and was excommunicated from the family even though the only reason he joined that group was because he was ‘angry at his father’ and he didn’t actually believe in the beliefs of the group he joined and left quickly when he realised what it really required of him to be a member of it. He also ended up in jail for a short time which scared the crap out of him. He’s since gone on to be a fence-sitter and a decent member of society even though his family still don’t really talk to him – he moved to Asia to start a new life after a brief restart in the UK thanks to the EU.

      There is a lot of anger going on in politics and in the populace at the moment. That kind of anger is both negative and positive – it can sometimes be hard to find the positive because the negative is always more in your face and parties, groups, packs, use anger and fear to motivate people.

      The Syrian refugee crisis was used to push a lot of buttons, but I don’t think it was the only button pusher. There were major issues long before then. The bankruptcy of Greece was also an issue.

      Britain has always been a place of uprising and anarchy, and recently the ‘people’ have grown increasingly tired of government. The whole ‘weapons of mass destruction’ mess which lead to the war in Iraq hasn’t been forgotten.

      The ‘old’ generation of today grew up on things like this:

      We’re living in one of those historical moments which you read about in history books… it’s always easier to read about them in history books than to live through them.

      Recently I’ve read quite a few articles in the local news of regular people letting their ‘foreign’ neighbours know that things are okay between them – this vote to leave isn’t about wanting foreigners to ‘go home’ or ‘stay away’ it’s more about wanting the government to actually be about the people rather than about a bunch of ‘old school ties’ making money so they can buy country piles and build fancy mansions for the ducks in their duck pond.

      I guess we’re living in interesting times and that’s always going to be a mess… later generations will read about this in history class, be bored by it, and won’t realise how much what happened now made things better for them… unless it made it worse.

      We still don’t know if this ‘leave’ will actually happen, but what the possibility of it has stirred up is something we need to understand even if it doesn’t happen…. and definitely if it does.

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