Open Letter To Our European Friends: Have a ‘Don’t Know’ Option For Referendums.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the EU,
Before the far right rise up and stir up fear and anger in your country, please read what is happening in the now, Un-United Kingdom. As I wrote in this article, for every one person I meet who says they are happy with the brexit result, I meet five who are shocked that it even happened.
That’s because it didn’t.
The referendum in the Un-UK was run like a TV show, like some commentary about a football match and who’s going to win. Every person I have spoken with about this — from either side — says:
“I didn’t really know what brexit would mean, we didn’t have all the facts”.
It is not the case that 51% of us voted for the actual brexit, there are now many brexit voters saying they didn’t understand the implications or the damage it would do to Europe. Yes, this is really happening. And as the days go by, more and more people who used brexit to feel empowered, are realising what they have done. Politics in the Un-UK have been a farce for many years now and people are annoyed, people need to be heard and the puppet show that we called a referendum was a way for people to express that. But people did not know the implications of brexit.
I’m writing this this letter, in the garden of a pub in the rare english sun, I paused to walk into the pub to get a pint of beer. And this conversation happened, word for word, at 13:26 today..
A guy at the bar:
“how are you?”
“What did you vote?” He asks
“Remain” I said, “you?”
“Well I voted Leave but now I’m not sure, I didn’t really know what it would mean.”
We furiously agree loudly that no one really knew what brexit would mean and what the real benefits were, if any.
A quite elderly couple gently joined the conversation and agreed that it was a farce and laughed and agreed when I said it was run like a TV show. Then the gentleman said quietly…
“I want to know why there wasn’t a ‘Don’t Know’ box to tick”
Everyone in the pub was speechless, I’m still stunned and slightly shaking by the simplicity and wisdom and the massive importance of that statement, and the profound effect it would have on the world right now if there had been one.
This is THE conversation in the Un-UK, people didn’t really know.
So dear European sisters and brothers, please understand that the vast majority of people here in the Un-UK did not really know what brexit would mean, they were just bamboozled by nasty newspaper articles, scaremongering and massive political marketing. The effect of which, has caused serious division here, and unless you are very careful, it could happen to you and destroy the EU.
Myself, most of my friends, my partner, my sister, people in the pubs and all around are stunned, shocked and very sad. My sister said this morning “I’m scared to ask my neighbours what they voted”, such is the feeling of division, and I know why. I am not able to speak to a dear friend of many years because I know this person voted brexit — and then celebrated — while our European sisters and brothers were dumped into turmoil. Celebrated amid the rise of far right in several countries, celebrated while the very real possibility that the EU — a peaceful union that our forefathers fought and died for — could be destroyed, let alone the ‘side issues’ of environmental fallout and more. The division is deep and hurtful.
Yes the EU is not perfect, yes we need to change things but we don’t have to dump our allies in the shit and run. We could change things from within the EU. Like many here, I am ashamed to be English right now, and I apologise wholeheartedly to everyone in Europe on behalf of those who abandoned our partners.
BUT. There is movement afoot, real people are speaking quietly but very powerfully. A petition for a second referendum is gaining massive support over here, a few thousand signings yesterday is now at 1.6million, it’s gained 400,000 signs whilst I’ve written this letter. Nope 500,000 now. So please don’t give up on us sisters and brothers, right now, more than ever, we need your support.
Right now in the Un-UK, it feels like (I imagine) the pre second world war days in Germany with the insipid rise of the far right with racism, fear and hatred quietly slipping into power.
Don’t let this happen to you, talk, discuss, get involved, challenge, connect with other like minded people and take action. And like the wise gentleman said today, make sure you have a ‘Don’t Know’ option if it comes to a referendum.
Please help if you can, to share this letter in Europe…
BiG LOve Pete xx
Update: over two million and two hundred thousand UK petitioners now! And growing by the second…