Apathy is Over.
Time for us all to ride the #Brexit rollercoaster.
Sometimes things happen. Change happens — whether you like or want it, or not.
That doesn’t mean the future is set in stone.
This morning, like many in Europe, I woke to find myself in a parallel universe I didn’t expect to find myself in. I don’t like to discuss my opinions on politics, but my view on this was pretty clear. As the first wave of shock washed over me, there was a feeling of loss — a fundamental shift that pushed me into mourning. Things will never be the same.
As my early morning train flashed through the greenery of the English countryside, I turned the radio on to hear the British Prime Minister David Cameron giving an emotional resignation speech outside 10 Downing Street. Flicking through my Facebook timeline, words like shock, anger and heartbreak flowed, interspersed with defiant statements from those who voted leave. My own contribution was a simple one… oh shit.
After much reflection, all I could think about was something that soundtracked much of the last period of uncertainty in the UK for me (please watch the clip — it’s set to start where it needs to!). Just as at the turn of the century with the millennium bug, predictions of apocalypse and the great fanfare that accompanied it, the bristling excitement of the unknown peered meekly out from behind the chaos.
Everybody stay calm, don’t panic. It’s just the end of the world. It will be alright, just as long as we all keep chanting…
A little while later, as I watched GBP bounce around against USD in eToro, I saw a simple post from the most positive person I know. He shared it with friends, so I’ll respect that privacy, but in essence, it said:
Shock abating. Guess we now have some work to do. I am in. Time to pull together.
A wave of optimism washed over me and I realised this…
Nothing is written here. There are no borders or barriers, no walls keeping people in or out, no instant alterations to the status quo. Nothing’s included, nothing’s excluded. The only thing we know for definite right now is that the pot has been stirred and change is coming. It’s unprecedented change, so there are no rules and no certainties. It’s what we all do next that will define how the future plays out. This is an opportunity not just for Britain, but for all of Europe to really think about identity, collaboration, cooperation and create a positive future.
It’s up to us all to shape it.
This morning, people who generally pay little attention to politics or current affairs are speaking about nothing else. If we all find a voice, finally we can all wake up and work together, with our spectrum of perspectives, to shape the future. For so long there’s been apathy (just look at General Election voter turnout since 1997) and it has shown - culturally, socially, even economically.
Right now everyone’s sharing opinion, conversation. Everyone cares and there’s a wonderful wave of uncertainty. As I sit writing this around a long office bench in London that I’m sharing with representatives of many European countries, the conversation is buzzing. If the touch paper has been lit, this might be a real, positive opportunity to catalyse something in a world that has coasted since the turn of the century.
Recently, I watched Alan Shearer’s documentary on Euro ’96. An incredible trip down memory lane, it was a reminder that the mid-90s was a period of uncertainty and at that time Britain became a hotbed of progressive, controversial art, music, fashion and culture. It was a time of movements, of togetherness, of challenge, of change as decades of Conservative rule gave way to the government of New Labour.
Two decades later, change is happening again. There’s friction and all of a sudden Britain and Europe are alive with opinion and ideas. Yes, there are some extreme views, but they are not held by the majority. The establishment has been challenged here, our future history is no longer written.
The world has changed, but right now we don’t know how that change will play out. It’s an opportunity — a key change.
This isn’t about separation, it’s about being alive, being human and taking responsibility. We’re all part of this, so roll up your sleeves and get involved — you finally have the platform to do just that.
That aside, it’s a beautiful day out there. This morning, the sun is out, the birds are singing.
Apathy is over. I’m excited!