I have a friend who lives in London. He’s originally Irish, and he’s married to a lovely German woman. They just had their second child, they bought a house, he has a great job. Things are finally looking up, getting on track.
They might have to move to Germany now, because his wife may not legally be able to stay in England.

I have a friend who lives in Wales. She’s originally American but just got her UK citizenship. She’s married to a New Zealander academic and they have two children who are attending the local Welsh-speaking school. She loves Cardiff, their friends there, the walkable city, being European, and her new job at an architectural firm. She just qualified as an architect last year, having totally switched careers after starting a family and moving across the world.
She and her husband might have to move internationally yet again, because though they can both legally stay in the UK, the probably inevitable recession may well sound the death knell on both their jobs. This is not the UK she just jumped through all those hoops to become part of. Her local Polish shop just put up a sign saying they’re closing.

I have a friend who lives in Northern Ireland. She fears the return of border patrols, a future that harks back to the past her country has come so far from and tried so hard to move on from, when a drive down the road meant bringing your passport and being looked over by the army. She fears, as do many Irish, a return to sectarian violence where peace is so fragile, so recent, and so prized.

I have a friend who lives in Scotland. Seventy-five percent of her city voted to remain in the EU, but now they’re out. She works as a doctor for the NHS. The Leave campaign told the people of the UK that if they left the EU there would be 350 million pounds a week to spend on healthcare, but now they’re saying that’s not really the case.

I have a friend who lives in Dublin. (I have a lot of friends who live in Dublin, but she’s one of them.) Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland, which is not part of the UK and is a member of the EU. The Irish economy, however, can’t fail to be badly affected by this decision. She worries for the business she just started last year, because it probably won’t survive a recession.

These are the people in my social media bubble. Because of the friends I have, the friends they have, the newspapers I choose to read, the TV stations and radio stations I listen to or don’t, these people’s opinions are the ones I see and hear. They are real people whose lives are being directly affected in scary and very concrete ways by a decision that was made by others, who often don’t seem to have understood what they were doing.

Yesterday I got tired of commenting on the Facebook pages of so many friends who were sad, devastated, worried, disbelieving, scared, and angry. So I just changed my profile photo and left it at that.

Captain Picard despairs of you


5 thoughts on “Bregretsit

  1. Angela O'Donovan

    I think we all need to relax on this. There are so many knee jerk reactions. News travels so fast these days and no one pauses to take a breath. The sun comes up, the sun goes down. None of our lives are threatened, unless there’s some secret war about to erupt I’ve not noticed.

    It was a close vote. There were people who would have liked to vote ‘exit’ who couldn’t quite bring themselves at the polling station and so, they went for staying in. Fear of alternative. It’s how Tories go in with such a majority last time around. I doubt very much there were many ‘remainers’ who couldn’t quite bring themselves to vote ‘exit’ when in the booth.

    I’m Irish, living in London. London is different. No doubt about it. My son is not quite into the workplace yet but we know he’ll be ok, unlikely to ever be rich, but he won’t starve and he’s likely always have work.

    People outside the metropolitan bubble have a different situation. Many people, particularly in northern regions, are poor, feeling hopeless about the future, frankly, well and truly forgotten by Londoners, the government, the bubble dwellers. Didn’t Boris come out with some dreadful comment on the people of Liverpool some time back? He was caught but lots of people sneer at the idea of north of Watford Gap.

    I worked in the credit department of a bank during the last really bad recession of the early 1990s. Most people could feel or see the effects but my God, outside London was really worse hit. As a youngish person, nothing sobers you up than speaking with and trying to help someone much older than you, with few years left to improve his lot, in an area with few positive signs, someone who never experienced really good times, just less bad times.

    Since 1980 I have lived in the UK, mostly in London, but with years int he Midlands, Manchester, Liverpool too. After a mere three weeks of returning to London for weekends, from up north, I wondered why I bothered. I love London though and work brought me back and I’m more than ok with that.

    However, I don’t know it all, don’t know the real answer to all this. I did vote remain but fully understand the hopelessness felt by those less fortunate, people the government didn’t really reach while we were in and who thought all the talk was just too too late. You can’t forget people, then hope to bring them with you.

    All our views are a reflection of who we are, how we’ve lived. I used be quite arrogant and self centred when I worked. I wanted lots of nice things and worked hard for them. Most people do. However, we all got selfish with cheaper goods from abroad and out of season food from abroad too. Our lifestyles changed.

    However, motherhood changed me. We had two boys, the first one having a chromosome disorder. That and the hormones kicking in meant I could never face working again – luckily in late 30’s we were able to manage with me at home. Sadly, our first boy died at 18 a few years back. So, now we’re three, us and 20 year old. Over the years we didn’t have the great holidays/nice things but my priorities and cares changed. We’d have to move to another planet where life was different. Clearly turning into a grumpy old bag too!

    I’m rambling but really think we all need to stop reacting so quickly.

    1. Maud Post author

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Angela; and I hope you’re right about this and that it settles down and isn’t so drastic in the end.

      1. Angela O'Donovan

        Thanks. Actually, I probably went over the top here. All our experiences are different but the negativity around is overwhelming right now, despite all the votes for exit.

        Probably my age ha ha I’ve learned things pass and I reached overload long ago. Nothing scares me anymore. But that’s just me.

        All the best, I love your blog, often show my son (who thinks of himself as Irish for now).

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