I don’t know about you, but recently social media has turned into a pretty vile place and I’m not talking about trolls, I am talking about the everyday people I follow or are ‘friends’ with who don’t just share their opinions, but force them and make judgements about others who think differently.
I’m talking about the EU Referendum and today is the day that after months of savage campaigning, we decide today which way we’ll go. Fundamentally, both campaigns fighting for us to leave and remain in the EU have been totally flawed. Neither side were able to properly outline and convey what leaving or staying would mean for the UK. Instead, remain campaigners just told us we would be better together, and those who sided with leaving were clearly racists because that can be the only reason why we would be voting against staying. The fact of the matter is that we do not know, we don’t fully know what will happen if we stay, and we can’t be sure of what will happen if we leave, we just don’t. Voters have without a doubt been left stranded between the two. But all that aside, what has disgusted me the most is how openly political people have gotten. Last night on Facebook, I finally posted my disgust at my connections on the site for pushing their opinions so bluntly, and for judging their friends and family in such a way that they could be considered bullies because there are some who might consider voting the other way. In response to my own post (pictured below) which was well received, my aunt commented saying how those of her generation were brought up to not openly discuss race, religion or politics and she too, has been pretty disgusted with what she has seen.
We have to acknowledge that we live in a society now where it’s the norm to share our opinions, whether that be on the latest film we have seen, the restaurant we have dined in, something outrageous we’ve heard and so on. There is actually nothing wrong with this, this is natural human behaviour. However, with regards to politics, we have turned into a nasty vile people. The first I was aware of this was during the last general election whereby I suddenly become conscious to my social feeds filling up with people not just openly declaring their position (Labour, Conservative…), but actually pushing their views upon others, and saying things like, “I can’t wait to wake up in the morning to a (Labour/Conservative) Government…” which while seemingly harmless, has a dangerous manipulative agenda and undertone behind it. And the same is happening again, but with ten times as much force for the EU Referendum. I particularly love the posts on my Facebook this morning saying how, “I have seen an alarming amount of people on here wanting to vote XXX, let me just say that (proceeds to explain why those people are wrong and should in fact vote the other way)”, and others referencing the “great fellow Brits who will save our future” so are indirectly directly again trying to force opinion. To all those people, and that may even include those reading this post who have done that very thing, please just bugger off. There is nothing wrong with saying I vote to ‘remain’ or to ‘leave’ because you are more than entitled to declare that, but stop trying to influence, manipulate and bully others to following your way. Just stop.
I think some people get so caught up in their own views and immediate circle of opinion that they don’t see the wider perspective. Many no doubt feel that they can but only vote a certain way because they are not strong enough to think for themselves and go against the tide. This is understandable, sometimes that is just how things are but it’s also ignorant. My reasons for voting to remain or leave will be different to those voting the same way who live in another part of the country. As someone who was mostly brought up in the South-West, when I moved to London aged 19 I had quite the culture shock. I have also lived in the North of the UK so I am well versed to how different things are depending on where you are in the country, and I can tell you that the South-West have a totally different kind of exposure to things that those of us in the east witness (and those in the north). But it works vice-versa too, if you haven’t been let alone lived in places like Devon or Cornwall, you can have no possible appreciation for how different life can be down there.
We are indeed a country that can be better together, but we can also be a country who can rule ourselves without outside control. The EU referendum has come about because there has been an enormous amount of unrest in the United Kingdom in recent years and if people were totally happy and content with our offering, the Government wouldn’t be giving citizens the choice to leave. Regardless, we have to accept that change is upon us, whether we stay or go, we are demanding something different and that something different begins from tomorrow.
You have a voice, go with your gut.
Until next time x