I have never been motivated to write blogs. In the past I may have indulged once or twice in some half-cacked attempt of writing some form of food/cafe/restaurant review but it was just some fleeting fantasy I had, one of those moments where you sit in on a rainy afternoon and think hmmm well maybe I will have a crack at that, I have tried everything else. I soon realised History was my passion. As I write this I realise I am a complete novice to blog writing.
Needless to say however awful my writing is (sorry), I write now out of a mixture of sadness and a sense of worry, regret and anger. Sadness for my generation really or what has become of the ‘social media ferett keyboard warriors’ (myself included) generation.
I will set the scene, a flag flutters (dramatic imagery inserted) yes you get the message, it was the 52 % leave vote of the EU Referendum that has just tipped the balance of sanity across the whole of the UK, and whilst this blog is not a coup d’etat to trick you into accepting my beliefs or to discuss the pros/cons, lies, potential second referendum, immigration/not immigration, Farrage or any of the key biscuit dunkers or movers and shakers in this crazy hot cup of PG Tips that we are all drinking out of, it is however a journey of the experience of the reactions that my fellow friends and I faced.
I watched with fascination the passion and fervour that people showed “just vote please vote”, the sad fact is people did and listened and engaged but were later attacked for doing just as people asked (ironic right) People who wouldn’t usually post political stuff were suddenly now breathing out hot air about all number of things and it was good. I’ve always said I’d rather see that than people show me pictures of what their dog ate (whilst I am guilty of doing the same) I kind of have a love/hate relationship with social media, let’s face it we all fill our news feeds with utter tripe sometimes, but this was different. I thought to myself well that will teach the people who usually moan that the ‘youth’ is so disengaged with politics, you know the type of people that sit at bus stops, stooped low talking about ‘in my day’.
As judgement day beckoned I asked people to respect each others view points and I gave my clearly defined (well researched reasons) who and what I was voting for. This meant a lot to me, years of research, years of books, writing, learning and engaging with History and Politics about studying the History of Europe. So no I was not coming into this with my creative writing novice hat on. I accepted that others might not hold the same viewpoint as me or that they may not have the same grasp as I did but I also knew that others could and would challenge me. However, that’s a good thing and no I dont know everything and I loved seeing a variety of opinions that were different to my own. We never stop learning, someone once told me that (don’t know who)
When the results came in. I awoke to a mass of ‘hysteria’ and ‘panic’. I was half asleep so read the posts with one eye open at first. “Oh my god what the hell have you done, you lunatics, you have ruined our country”, “I hope you are Happy, “what about my children’s future”… so you know I said I loved it when people who don’t usually engage with Politics and were now suddenly engaging. They were engaging alright and enraging.
I was already acutely aware that my view point wasn’t popular but suddenly I became angry. Here were people who not a few months ago were posting about how s*** faced they were not giving two tosses for politics but suddenly this referendum gave them a right to tirade and Lord it over scorning anyone with an opposing view and personally blaming those for voting opposite to them.Whilst I had no qualms with people getting involved with debate, it was clear that people didn’t know how to debate or didnt know the barriers of what is acceptable behaviour and then what is neon hate speech towards individuals.
It’s alien to me, I was always nurtured to respect others view points and whilst I will stand my ground I will always accept that I can never win everyone and they can’t always win me and that people come from all corners of the globe on points. I come from a background where in seminars we would be given a turn to talk about a topic and we would have to give the assailant points for arguing for and against and then people would give their stance and also listen to others as well. I feel fairly certain that after this referendum, if there is one thing that needs to be changed on the School Curriculum it’s how to teach people to respect people’s opionion’s even if they are different from our own.
Suddenly, my friends who also voted the same as me, were being thrown the most disgusting and horrifying insults, fighting pure vitriol together. We were told to vote. My friends. Targeted, as if we were all personally responsible for calling the referendum in the first place and the mess that is Britain. The sad reality is when people get involved in Politics it’s clear that although we like to put on a united show, we are anything but united and like a bad relationship falls apart, a small bit of me believes we all need to fall apart as a country to sort out our own s***, pick up the pieces and realise that we all need to change our attitudes towards eacother.You ever wish there was a counselling service, some space for the country as a whole to sit down grab a tissue, breathe, reboot and talk it out. That’s what I feel needs to happen. The country has clearly bottled this mass of anger and hate on the inside whilst we all post selfies, fake smile and talk about GOT on the outside.
As I watched the angry posts back and fourth. I was subjected to an attack myself. I couldn’t believe it. The very people not two days before posting about ‘love’, ‘stronger together’ and now they were viciously attacking me, my personality and others and showing me anything but love. I may have fought for what I believed in but I never resorted to stooping as low as to attack an individual’s personality. Your politics is not your personality. It doesn’t define who you are. The constant pigeon holing and obsession to have to see people as this or that way was apparent in people’s posting. People allowing the media to whip them up in a panic. I honestly thought the inevitable had happened, like a battle reenactment of a bombing campaign across the whole of the UK. I thought to myself if that ever happens I would never want to be stuck with any of you lot (sorry but can you imagine that scenario and then add in people’s reactions to Friday, how helpful is that in an emergency situation)
Having to fight tooth and nail with people because they don’t know the difference between an opinion, a fact, and a fabrication of the media. All of which are things that are taught at A level, which amazes me when you try and explain to people and they look at you like you just dropped out of the sky, like the 20,000 you spent on your degree they just flushed down the sh***r because of course they know best after passing a months course of listening to propaganda via the BBC.
Previous generations always questioned things a lot more where as this generation, “well it’s on social media so it must be true” “It’s in the Guardian so it must be true”. Well guess what none of us got our educations from the Guardian and it’s a dam good thing we didn’t. The media in history has for want of a better word a history of fabricating incorrect stories, using photos and footage as a means to manipulate the audience to rouse the public opionion’s to swing a vote either way. It seems like everyone these days takes things at face value and if you dare question the status quo you are an oddjob you are the oddjob of all oddjobs and you must be taken out like a Bond Villain for questioning something. Whilst it was difficult with all the myths and legends flying around to cut out the BS, it seemed like people had forgotten that the stuff they needed to know about the EU was in their local library, yes that’s right, the building, the one that you see that’s threatened with closure, that one around the corner from you.
Reems of reems of information can be found in dusty books giving you the context, the political background at the time, the reasons why people went in etc, the agreement, when it was signed, who it was signed but no apparently the Guardian or BBC or a government pamphlet is your bible. My generation ignored this though.
If you don’t know much about propaganda don’t underestimate how powerful it is. It managed to keep a whole country working and keeping calm whilst bombs were being dropped on the UK. Mass films of bygone days, anything to keep the spirits up. I admit whilst it was propaganda in a positive cheery way, the government still engineered a way of thinking amongst the entire nation.
My generation deduced me to tears because I did my research and my home work whilst they did a quick Google search of the EU or sat down with a pamphlet. My generation ignoring me, silencing me and putting me in a box with the most vile characters I could ever wish for. Like a very bad gothic fairytale casting me in a role of a dumb uneducated Witch. Denouncing me in the same category as the most hated men and women in history for my beliefs which I got from said library, said library which is threatened with said closure. My generation who scorns the older generation for voting the way they did and they don’t understand why, they have never bothered to ask why? , too brainwashed by the media to understand the real issues at heart, but the older generation remember them. They waited a long time to vote, twenty years of false promises because they too were lied to like us and this was their chance to right the wrongs. My generation who attacks men and women who fought for you so you could sit there and Google search being in the EU whilst you wave your arm to say you cast a vote. Well done.
My generation is lucky they didn’t have to go through what others have gone through before us, to get to a point where we can all walk into a scout hut and vote with an ikea pencil on a string.
Suddenly, I don’t want to be a part of this generation. In an age of ignorance and social media we have all forgotten what it means and feels like to respect one another’s points without spouting hate speech and making sweeping generalisations. The delete button is your friend. It’s so easy to delete years of friendship or acquaintancy in a moment of instant gratification, here today gone tomorrow mentality, all because of a differing viewpoint. Have we learned nothing from History???
You think I want to be a part of a country that posts about stronger together but can’t actually preach what it says. No.
Baby we all need some counselling…