Last Thursday 23rd June I entered hospital for surgery. The operation was minor but I reacted badly to the anaesthetic and as the night wore on entered a state of semi-delirium. By 11 pm I was straddling a toilet, gown flapping, oxygen tubes up my nose, tubes in my arm, listening to David Dimbleby make reassuring noises about the UK remaining and passing these on to two lovely Romanian nurses attempting without luck or enthusiasm to insert a catheter.
Around midnight, having reassured the nurses that a) I would manage to take a leak without their help and b) didn't want them to leave the UK I lost consciousness, and on waking at 6am switched on the TV to be informed we'd voted for Brexit. For a while I felt I was still delirious: the anaesthetic had yet to wear off, and I watched Cameron resign as if watching a third-rate TV movie. It may have been my imagination but now the doctors and nurses seemed more aloof, cooler somehow, as if I'd personally voted for Brexit - whereas in fact I'd gone to the polling booth, even though I was fasting in preparation for surgery, and voted Remain. Being a part of the EU meant a lot to me; but more important is recognising common ground, not just with Europeans but people across the world.
I've been dismayed by many of the comments from both sides following this historical vote. The cheap gloating of many within the ranks of Brexit - who or what does Nigel Farage mean by "ordinary" "decent" people? The back-tracking over NHS revenue and access to single markets, the lust for political blood. Yet also by those sour-grapes within Remain, insisting that the people got it wrong and implying now we must suffer - sentiments apparently shared across the European mainland, by leaders of our former partner states.
I read that all those who chose to leave were racist - even the black and "Asian" Brits, presumably. I hear how the old - those people who endured far greater poverty, worked hard and paid taxes for all those decades - somehow betrayed the young, many of whom were too busy to vote. Perhaps, if the 28 per cent of people who didn't bother to get in a booth had done so, the result might have been different. Tough. If you didn't vote your opinion didn't count and now it never will.
Then of course those who don't takes sides, who see things only in black and red, profit and loss. The media obsess over the FTSE, the fall in sterling and uncertainty across the banking world, as if this was some strange new phenomenon. As if the markets were ever stable. As if those who profit from them had our interests at heart. As if they got it right back in 2008.
I'm a European. I have no choice: I was born here. I voted to remain. I "lost." Another referendum would be more damaging both for the economy and peoples' already diminishing faith in the democratic process. If the Scots, Irish and Welsh choose to leave: so be it. Move on. Sharing common ground, disagreeing perhaps even on fundamentals, but always remembering who and what we are as a nation: multi-cultural. Pro-migration. Pro-workers' rights. Pro-work. Pro-Europe of course but also pro-world. Because Europe is only a tectonic plate adrift on a ball of molten lava. Whether in or out of the EU, we are citizens of the world. One from which we can never vote Leave. So shake hands, stay friends, and move on, friends. Together.
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