I keep replaying the same slide show, projecting it on the back of my mind. I see the temperature rising, 9/11, the Iraq war, financial collapse. I enter the ballot box for the first time, eager for change. The coalition forms. Mass extinctions. The SNP wins a majority. Tuition fees triple. The Arab Spring. House prices rise. Riots. The Olympics. Food banks. Austerity. Austerity. Austerity. Benefits slashed. The NHS in turmoil. The Eurozone crisis. Scotland votes for unity. Greece votes for change. They are hung, drawn, quartered. We reach the 1°C threshold. The ballot box takes away a piece of me every single time. The far left brings hope but the far right brings hate. They spread their infectious disease. Storms, droughts, forest fires. Everything I fear begins to materialise in front of my eyes. Refugees fleeing the wars we started but we just condemn them to their fates. Floods everywhere. Terrorism. Xenophobia. Half-truths and outright lies. A vote for fear, a vote for suspicion, a vote for fascism.
The weather joins us in this violence as we drive another dagger into the heart of the world. I tell myself lies to ease the pain, looking for ways to return to the past. Hindsight is 20/20 but we never learn from our mistakes. Hatred and fear, symptoms of this deeply tortured nation. I want to leave this place, I want to end the nightmare, but there is no place on Earth that isn’t infected. I collapse into the carnage. I am in free fall. At the mercy of the past. It’s over.
But it is not over. I will not let it be over.
Because the future is here, the future is now. We are standing at the edge of an epoch. We are the defining moment of human history. This is where we find out who we really are. We talked with ease about strength and unity when we had it, but now it is time to fight for it. Because light is the only thing that can drive out the dark.
I am filled with hurt and hate. I am filled with pain. But those who voted to pull the trigger on Europe have been feeling like this for decades. Big business has bled every corner of the world dry but it is these disenfranchised voters that have paid the price over and over again. Local businesses could not compete as wealth became concentrated in faraway city centres. They were told they were being done a favour as they watched their towns crumble to the ground. Lied to again and again and again. Politicians provided no answers. The people were forced to invent their own narratives, about Europe, about immigration. Power hungry political leaders capitalised on the hate instead of fighting to save these communities from rotting. We cannot blame these people for clinging to their national identities when it was the only thing they had left.
The people were forced to invent their own narratives, about Europe, about immigration.
So be angry at the results, be angry at the politicians who knew better but don’t be angry at the people. They had no alternative. This was their fight back, their rebellion. We cannot undermine it and we can’t disassociate. We have to accept it and we have to forgive it, we have to.
Because we cannot cling to the past, the past is dead. But the future was born today. And it is innocent, untainted. It is waiting to be nurtured by a loving family. One that fosters happiness, strength and power. Only solidarity and community can provide this. The progressive parties should band together in this time of crisis. We need every last one of them. Unite. Unite. Unite.
Voting reform needs to happen, the views of a single party should not speak for the entire country. Devolution. Investment. An end to the cuts.
We need a leader. Not in October. Not after a party conference. We need a leader now.
Blairite tunnel vision must end. They yearn for their glory days but forget how their opportunistic, destructive politics bought us to this point. We don’t need a coup. We don’t need selfishness. There is no alternative for us, no one we trust. They cannot take away one of the few honest leaders we have. We have suffered too much grief.
The European Union may not be democratic, but it is the huge conglomerates who ultimately undermine the wish of the people and decimate societies. Governments are what stand between us and them. Governments should fight them. We need our government to fight them.
Neo-liberalism is going down, but it will not go quietly. It will take everything with it if it has to. Left-exit campaigners sacrificed Europe to deliver the fatal blow to capitalism. They may have won the battle, but they will lose the war if they don’t act now. I hope they had a plan to protect the poor from the ensuing suffering. I hope they had a plan to rebuild our society after hitting the self-destruct button. Organise. Mobilise. If they saw something that we didn’t, they need to show us now.
I hope they had a plan to protect the poor from the ensuing suffering. I hope they had a plan to rebuild our society
The European Union will not make it easy for us, no matter how many of us declare our love for it. Merkel will try to contain the fallout in the only way she knows how. Punishment. Sanctions. Terms and conditions. But Merkel needs to know that she is not Europe and we need to remember that we are still European. We can unravel powers and laws but we cannot change our place in the world or the bittersweet history we share with our neighbours across the channel. We will remain European no matter what label anyone choses to put on it.
We are in no position to ask favours from the citizens of Scotland and Northern Ireland, but I am still asking. It is not fair that the politics of hate are dragging them out against their will. None of this is fair. None of this was ever fair. But here we are now. What is done cannot be undone and independence from Britain will not be the miracle cure. We don’t need more separation. The world cannot handle anymore separation. Divisive politics are what got us here. It won’t save us now.
Because there is a world outside of Europe. A big, wide, tumultuous world that is spiralling out of control. Our decisions have accelerated the chaos. Climate change is coming at us, whether we’re part of the union or not. We dropped our bombs on Syria and pretended that we were doing enough. But we can’t bomb ideas. Daesh are still there. As long as they are still making money, as long as they keep spreading their message, they will always be there. The refugees fleeing this conflict are still at our doorsteps. Lost generations. Needless wars.
Climate change is coming at us, whether we’re part of the union or not.
This is where we are today and there is no going back. Britain has changed. Europe has changed. The world has changed. But where we go from here is up to us. We all have a role to play in forging the path. Together we can build a bold vision full of vitality and hope. And that is something that cannot be found in Brussels or Westminster. It is something we can only find in ourselves. At the heart of our communities that we abandoned long ago.
Maybe this doesn’t have to be the beginning of the end. Maybe the generation born today will not need to grow up the way we did. Maybe we are going to leave the world a better place.
Maybe it is true that good things fall apart so that better things can come together. Maybe it is true that there can be big beautiful vibrant rainbows after the most violent, destructive storms.
Because we are the architects of our future. We are the final frontier. We are the generation that will change the world. We just have to believe.
Featured image via ibtimes