Harold Macmillan said that a "week is a long time in politics". And what a week it has been?
This time last week we were all (or most of us I suspect) were trotting off to the polls, to vote in the referendum, with no idea that we were about to kindle the barrels of wildfire stacked under the British political establishment. So, let's just have a quick rundown of what's happened in the past week, for those of us who've lost track.
• By a very narrow margin, we voted to Leave the European Union pleasing Nigel Farage, but making everybody else really rather unhappy
• Forty years' worth of EU contributions were wiped off the UK stock exchange in twenty four hours.
• It was revealed that no-one in the Leave campaign really had any plans for what to do if we voted Leave
• David Cameron announced that he was resigning as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative party upon the completion of a leadership contest, leaving his successor with the unenviable task of negotiating Brexit.
• Scotland started agitating for a second Independence referendum
• The Labour party have attempted to remove Jeremy Corbyn but failed, descending into complete farce
• Boris Johnson has announced that he is in fact not standing for the job he's wanted his entire life after being pre-empted by Michael Gove.
• And the Liberal Democrats have gained one new member every minute since Brexit.
Everybody clear on that?
But the fact remains that whatever happens in Westminster, life goes on for everyone else, the world continues turning. So how does this affect you and how should it change how you behave?
Well in the short term I can't imagine it will affect you. Life will just carry on as normal. In the long term the effects of Brexit probably will affect you. Some of the affects will be positive, for example the cost of housing may well go down. Some it will be negative as the cost of living will probably go up and we may have to start taking more holidays in Torquay and fewer in Turkey. However it is the cultural affects that we probably need to become more aware of.
Already in recent days, reports of racial abuse and attacks have gone through the roof. It appears that it doesn't matter whether you are an actual EU migrant or someone who has lived here your whole life who just happens to have a polish name. Voting to Leave has apparently given permission for Britain's racists to come out of hiding and walk the streets with pride, permission given tacitly by the heads of the Vote Leave campaign with their anti-immigrant rhetoric, for which they still have not apologised. This is something that we as a people cannot and should not tolerate. We are a great country that has always welcomed outsiders, who has always stood up for the weak against the strong, and has always sought to make others welcome since the times of our forefathers. If we lose that thanks to the referendum then we will have lost something worth more than any stocks or shares.
We are living through one of the greatest sea changes in British history and if the past week has been anything to go by we cannot rely on our elected officials alone to decide on what our country's future is going to be like. We have to come together, work together and decide together what our future is going to look like. We have to build it for ourselves.
So what can you do? Firstly, oppose racism whenever you see it. Make sure people understand that that is not acceptable in our UK, and never will be. But secondly I would say the most important thing you can do is get involved. Decisions are made by those who show up after all. Pick a party or an idea that inspires you, something that you can get behind and throw everything you have behind it. Help to create the future that you want.
A week is a long time in politics. But there are a lot more weeks to come.Suggest a correction