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Referendum

Following the vote in the House of Commons yesterday, 8th February 2017, giving the Prime Minister, Mrs May, a mandate to trigger Article 50 to leave the EU with the ‘European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2016-17, I am writing to you to beg you to oppose this Bill when it makes it’s transition to the Upper House.

We are being told by the Prime Minister that Brexit is ‘the will of the people’ but this is not true. 72.2 per cent of registered voters cast a vote in the EU Referendum. This equates to 33.6 million voters. Of those 33.6 million people, only 52% voted for leave whilst 48% voted remain. 52% of 33.6 million voters equates to only around 15 million people who voted to leave the EU, not the fanciful 65 million people Mrs May is relying on.

Please do not vote against the real ‘will of the people’ and drag us out of the EU and into a very uncertain and xenophobic future. If our collective aim is to ‘make Britain great again’, leaving the EU is not the way to do it. Please let us have a future to be proud of and to keep us all safe, for ourselves, our children and for future generations. Please vote against the Brexit Bill and send it back to the Commons defeated.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,
Poppy Hasted

What has happened to this country? What is going on? We really do seem to be becoming a nation full of some very nasty people and I don’t like it. All I am seeing at the moment is story after story, report after report, news item after news item, on social and in mainstream media, of racist and xenophobic attacks and mind-boggling hatred towards our fellow man and woman. It’s horrible. Even though it’s now been a week since the Referendum, since we voted to leave the European Union, it’s going on and on and on. The hatred and racism is not abating in any way that I can see, if anything, it’s getting worse. According to newspapers and the news bulletins I’ve seen, read and heard just today, racist hate-crime has increased fivefold in the last week. A truly terrifying statistic and not a Britain I want any part of. People are being abused just because of where they were born, because of the colour of their skin and it has to stop.

What is going on?

People are being abused, insulted and attacked for no other reason than the fact they were not born in this country. Got a ‘funny’ name? Go somewhere else. Got an accent? Get out. Born somewhere else? The exit’s that way. Got a different skin colour? No room, we’re full.

Why?

Anyone with any knowledge or understanding of our country’s history knows that Britain is, and always has been, a medley of people and traditions from other countries, other nations, other cultures. A wonderful, amazing, fascinating meld of people from all over the world. People from many races living and working together, over the years, to make our country what it is. People absorbing other cultures and traditions, whilst adding a ‘British’ spin to everything. People teaching each other about life elsewhere and learning from one another for centuries. That’s what has made us the people and the country we are today.

But things are changing and, in my opinion, they are not changing for the better. As a nation we are becoming more and more insular and intolerant of others and it has to stop. All this bitterness and hatred is wrong and cannot go on. Not without harming the health of our country it can’t, anyway. Disrespecting, attacking and abusing others has to end before it’s too late. I  believe that my parents got it right and I believe that we should all try to think the same way. It makes sense to me anyway. They were both children in during the Second World War and the things they saw and heard then taught them something invaluable. Thinking first and then treating other people the way we would like to be treated ourselves needs to become our watchword, the way we all live our lives. Continuing to hate is wrong and can’t go on.

When I was a child, back in the 1960s and 70s, my wonderful parents brought me up with one main tenet for my life which they encouraged me to follow. It’s a maxim that has served me well for more than half a century now and it’s something I have tried to instill into my own children’s upbringing. It’s something, I believe, we would all do well to remember and try to adhere to, especially now. If I have learnt nothing else, if there’s nothing else I could teach my grandchildren, when I am blessed with some, if I take nothing else forward into the rest of my life, from the many things my parents taught me, practically from the day I was born then it’s this,

treat other people they way you would like to be treated yourself.

If you don’t believe you would like it done to you, by someone else, then don’t do it to other people.

Stop, think, reconsider then walk away. That is what we need to remember every day in everything we do and that is what we seem to have forgotten at the moment.

Who was it that decided that hatred and bitterness and back-stabbing and nastiness were ever OK?

Well, as far as I am concerned, they aren’t and I’ve had enough.

Since Friday last week both Social and mainstream media has been full of nothing but hatred and doom and gloom and narrow-mindedness and I can’t stand it any longer. I know that there are people who are really happy about the Referendum result, I know that there are people who are really unhappy about it but all this gloating and loathing and racism and bigotry is all wrong and very unhelpful. Just today I have seen videos of a racist rant from a young person being made towards an older black guy on a tram in Manchester and reports of a firebombing attack on an Asian wholesalers which destroyed a family’s livelihood in Walsall. Thankfully, in neither incident was anyone killed or seriously injured but this is not something that should ever be considered to be acceptable. And then there are all the men and women who are being told to pack up and go home. Forgive me but these people are home. They were born here, in many cases, their parents were born here, their children were born here, their jobs are here, their lives have been spent almost in their entirety in this country. What are they supposed to do, where are they supposed to go? This is their home, this is where they belong and they should not be harassed or hounded or intimidated. They should be able to continue with their lives in peace and security. Then there are the other people, the people that voted on Friday, one way or the other. All I am reading and hearing about at the moment are families that are fighting amongst themselves over the dinner table, loving relationships that are falling apart, life-long friendships that are coming to a bitter end. I, myself, have had to ‘unfriend’ two people on Facebook that I thought were people that I liked and agree with but whose views have turned out to be at polar opposites from my own views. We might not live in a lovey-dovey, fluffy pink world but violence and intolerance and inhumanity has never been the the answer to anything.   

I’m not going to say how I actually voted myself, those people who know me personally will be able to have a very good guess, but it doesn’t matter and it’s not important. Personal viewpoints are just that, personal, that’s all. What is important is what we, as a country, as a nation are going to do next. People and politicians are bickering, political parties on both sides of the political equation are imploding, votes of no-confidence in our leaders are being proposed, voted on and passed, resignations and sackings appear to be two a-penny. Everyone is trying to second-guess everyone else but no-one is coming up with a decent plan of action and it’s not helpful. It needs to stop and it needs to stop now. Hand-wringing and recriminations will get us absolutely no-where. All it will do will be to make us seem to be weak and indecisive and that will be of no help whatsoever.

We, the electorate, need to know what happens next. I, for one, have a whole load of questions and I need answers. Will the prices in the shops go up? Will my rent increase? Will my daughter and her partner be able to find and afford a home of their own? Will my son be able to get a job and follow his chosen career path? Will there still be doctors and nurses available to treat me next time I have to go to a health centre or a hospital? Will I still be able to find personal assistants willing to come and attend to my home-care needs? Will my rights be protected? Then, as a nation we need to know, will our children’s and young people’s education be compromised? Will our jobs, and the jobs of our friend’s and relative’s, be secure. We need to stop and take stock. We need our leaders to talk to us and tell us. This is not a time for discord and disharmony, this is a time for us all to stand together, as one, and say “This is what we are going to do” and then, actually, do it. The hatred and bitterness and antagonism towards our neighbours needs to stop and it needs to stop now before it gets out of hand. What will it take before we realise that things have already gone too far and pull back from the abyss before we fall? We need to look at what we want for our future and decide how we’re going to get there. We need leaders who can actually lead, not men and women who seem to be more concerned about themselves and their own careers than the people who voted for them. We need to know what is going to happen next and we need to know it now.  

I can’t believe it’s nearly over.

After weeks and weeks of bitching and backstabbing and argument and counterargument, the Referendum Hokey,Cokey is nearly over.

And I can’t wait.

I know which way I will be voting and I have known this for weeks but does it actually matter?

What many people have not really understood is the fact that, whatever way we all vote tomorrow, the result is not actually legally binding. Tomorrow’s vote is, in reality, no more than a glorified nationwide opinion poll. Whatever way we all vote the Government doesn’t actually have to do anything at all. There are far more important, far more worrying things happening all over the world that we really ought to be worrying about and we are being distracted by something which doesn’t really matter and will change nothing. It’s a smokescreen.

And, people are being mislead about the timescales involved with the In/Out issue as well. I am currently watching a TV programme where Alan Johnson MP has just been asked ‘What will you do if you wake up on Friday and we are no longer part of Europe.’ What a stupid question! Nothing is going to change suddenly at the stroke of midnight like a Cinderella type fairy-story, it can’t

Firstly, there is the pure geography of the thing. We will always be part of Europe, it’s the continent our country is part of. Unless we manage to separate ourselves from the seabed and float off towards sunnier climes, we will not be leaving Europe. It’s not going to happen. Secondly, whatever the vote is, we will still be part of the EU on Friday and will still be part of it for another ten years or so at least, even if we vote to leave, because that is how long it would take to do so, even if that is what the Government decides it wants to do. The TV news is trying to make it sound as if what we all vote is actually going to make a difference but it won’t. A Referendum is not the same as a By-election or General Election, it doesn’t actually change anything. It’s a gauge of public feeling and that’s all it is. It’s not going to mean there will be a change at the top or at Number Ten or in the House of Commons. If the Government doesn’t like it, it can ignore the result and absolutely nothing will happen. There will be no Monty Pythonesque foot stomping in David Cameron and George Osborne. There will be no big broom sweeping Boris and Nigel out into the political wilderness no matter how much we all want either of those scenarios to take place. Granted, this is the cynic in me talking, and I know that we all like to feel that our politicians listen to us but, in reality, unless they are actually going to be kicked out of office, they don’t have to do anything at all. They can just go on doing whatever it is they are doing and we just get to sit back and watch. As far as I am concerned, the only elections that really matter are the ones where the vote can change things. Where we get to say which political party will lead our country for the next few years. This is a Referendum and it doesn’t have to change anything at all if our current set of noble leaders don’t want it to. They can look at the result, nod and say “That’s nice dear” and then go on doing what they want, even if we have shown by our vote that we don’t want them to.

What I am trying to say is, the Referendum Hokey Cokey may be nearly over but it doesn’t actually matter and nothing has to change at all because of it. The world as it is on Thursday will very much be the same as the world as it will be on Friday. Sure, we will all have put our ‘X’ on a bit of paper, indicating our opinion, but that is all it is – an opinion. All the politicians are trying to say that what we think really matters but it doesn’t. In my opinion, this Referendum isn’t as important as everyone wants us to think it is. Go and exercise your democratic right, I certainly will be doing so, but don’t expect anything to change because it might not. Nothing needs to happen at all. Don’t believe it can actually change anything because it doesn’t have to. It binds noone into doing anything at all. The Government can go on doing whatever it likes and, until the next General Election, we can do little more than jump up and down and scream about the unfairness of it all. We really are just giving our opinion in a very expensive nationwide Opinion Poll and that is all.