A profound sadness

A great city in an unfamiliar land

I wake up this morning to a continued numbness and profound sadness. As I look out over the city that is my home towards the Olympic Park, I’m struck by what has changed since the games in 2012.

I distinctly remember just how proud I was to be British then. How proud I was of our ability to welcome in the world with open arms and to show them how great we are as a united people. I remember just how much energy and joy there was in the streets. In my opinion, London was and has continued to be the best city in world. London is immense, progressive, beautiful, challenging, often wet and open to the world. It is a truly global city.

Don’t get me wrong, London has it’s problems but this morning, looking out across this city, I’m reassured that I still live with people who hold values of inclusiveness, cooperation and diversity close to heart. However, I am deeply saddened that this city is not as great as it was but a few days ago. While Londoners voted holding those values close, the country we sit in has turned around and revealed it does not share those same values. London and the people who live here are worse for it. This is not the London of summer 2012.

I feel like yesterday I woke up and realised I never really knew my country. And that is heartbreaking.

There are a great many living elsewhere in this county who will be feeling a similar sadness. I apologise for focusing on London and i am sorry that your voice has been lost where you are.

To those that voted to leave the EU, I’m sorry that it came to this. Let me be clear: i sympathise with and in some cases share the concerns and frustrations that have led you to make this decision. I do not share, nor have sympathy for arguments that drive division and hatred in our society; of which there have been too many.

I am angry that this choice was (in my view) wrongly presented as a solution when in fact, among the lies and misinformation there was no solution presented.

I am deeply saddened that whilst there was not an overwhelming majority we are now turning our backs on our neighbours in order to address the many issues, rather than working together for a better Union.

I do not wish to dismiss those that cast a vote which is shaking this country to it’s core and causing a great deal of pain. The vote was nearly 50/50 and that clearly highlights problems. The biggest failing here has been our political system. We should never have had a referendum. As the results have highlighted, the status quo cannot have continued but issues of this magnitude and complexity cannot and should not have been presented as a binary choice for the public to make.

Not only are we divided from Europe, we are divided as a nation. Our political parties are in turmoil and our values challenged. I deeply believe this was a grave error and both the UK and Europe will be worse for it.

I fear we are now becoming more parochial and inward facing. I worry for our relations with the rest of Europe; i am ashamed of the message we have sent them.

Yesterday my future drastically changed. My country no longer feels comfortable or reflective of me. This is not a Europe i want to see. And it is painful.