Disclaimer: Obviously, this is not a religious post. But the Brexit affair is becoming more and more like a faith with a series of dogmas and things to believe in. It might be wrong to define it as ‘religion’ as it’s not about believing in a God; however, that was the better term I could come up with. Sorry for any offence caused.
This article is not intended to be critical of any camp or political belief. Instead, I only wanted to highlight the attitudes, assumptions and expectations of several British voters/commenters and UK residents. I’ve tried to be as objective as possible, although from my position (I’m a EU citizen) it has been quite difficult. I ask for forgiveness beforehand.
1) Many Britons have the expectation that regardless of what everyone has voted, the country needs to pull up together and follow any belief in Brexit or law subsequent to the referendum as legitimate. If you don’t follow the flock, you’re branded as a traitor and possibly shouted down (fortunately, hanging is out of fashion at the moment and also a tad illegal). I’m afraid that all divisions that have been created by the referendum will stay here until all the voters dies out. Sorry for bursting your bubble, but getting over Brexit is not possible for many.
2) EU citizens are expected to shut up, collect their documents and prove they have the right to stay here. Any EU citizen showing they are offended or offering critical judgement of Brexit they get told to ‘bugger off to where they came from’ or to prove their loyalty to the British state through permanent card or citizenship, even if they are not eligible or cannot afford it.
3) Supposedly, university students and their tutors have become the ‘elite’ and whatever advice they can offer is now judged as ‘elitist’, ‘out of touch’, ‘non-sensical’; it is not worth to remind them that you might have come from a family with a poor background (as I did), because what you get in return is that you took advantage of the system whilst many poor sods (who likely didn’t give a damn about studying anyway!) had not access to higher education whilst you, nasty EU citizen, had. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
4) Any reminder of how xenophobic, nasty and racist the UK has become in only 4 months is bound to send them in a rant-frenzy of epic proportions. In particular, EU citizens are expected to bear the whole thing without speaking out or they are expected to get the heck out of the country. Dissent not accepted in many instances.
5) Assumptions about the easiness of the immigration and citizenship processes are wide-spread, even in the press. There were many cases of journalists who assumed, in their articles, that all EU citizens who have been resident for 5 years or longer automatically get an indefinite leave to remain. This is and never was the case. EU spouses married with British citizens do NOT get automatically citizenship either. They have to go through the permanent residence process as all the others (only non-EU spouses have a different process and shorter, because they pay for spouse visas).
6) Assumptions about the false equivalence ‘a foreigner goes, a local takes his/her place’. There are plenty of posters everywhere who assume that once you get rid of an immigrant a job position or a university place is now vacant for a British citizen to take. This is a failed approach for three reasons: a) the employer might not have wanted/found a local for that job position previously and they do decide not to replace him/her; b) the employer is a foreigner or works for a foreign company; after many foreign people leave, the company itself just moves away too, taking all the job opportunities with them; c) the university place was awarded by merit and no locals had or have the requirements to be chosen (this might not include medicine and any subject with place restrictions though).
7) Many Britons expect that many businesses, British or foreign, should stay after Brexit out of loyalty and commitment to the country. Useful to remind them that ‘there are no friends in business’ and if a company sees the collapse of their profits, they have two choices: 1) to declare bankrupt and close down; 2) to move away and save profits and jobs. Their loyalty lies with their customers and employees, they only pay tax contributions to the country, that is the only arrangement in place for them.
8) The general expectation that being patriotic means following the Brexit train with adoration and no critical approaches to make or say. Useful to remind them that patriotism and nationalism never fed people. They feed the ones at the top of the pyramid who exploit the patriotic bimbos who believe in such a utopia.
9) There’s the general idea that the referendum has served a double purpose, not only to leave the European Union, but it has made the big wigs in Westminster acknowledge it was a protest vote of the working classes. I will not try to define the term ‘working class’ here; however, it’s totally condescending to assume that anyone who’s working class shot themselves in the foot or voted against their interests. Many voted reasonably for what they believed in (whatever that was) and many will also be quite discontent once that their expectations will not be fulfilled. This is not due to Brexit itself, but it’s not mathematically possible that a certain situation/outcome can satisfy 100% of the ones who voted for it. It doesn’t exist and never did. If anyone believes it, they must believe in unicorns and fairy tales too (let me catch my broom before they arrive here though).
10) Expectactions about the government paying for EU subsidies lost. Afraid that is a dream from another planet. Taxpayers will replace those subsidies, with higher taxes. I expect Hammond to announce that at some point (as Hunt and Green clearly announced yesterday; they will kick sick/disabled people in the curb and send them to work. No more hand-outs).
11) The widespread belief that British citizens married with EU citizens should stay here in UK out of patriotic loyalty to their country, instead of following their spouses elsewhere once the EU spouses had enough of getting berated by the populace and the press (the latter is believed to be unacceptable behaviour, because ‘us’ the scroungers took advantage of the British system and we can’t go away without, at least, leaving our British husbands or wives here).
12) The belief of a trickle-down benefit system due to leaving the EU. This is a pet peeve of mine because the logic of it escapes me. If you leave a country/union/etc., there’s always something to pay (that would be the same for Scotland leaving the UK). Expectations of no change in negative terms are unrealistic. The ‘earthquake’ generated by such huge decisions will have many aftershocks. As many could see in the recent, real earthquakes in Italy, many valuable historical and archaeological assets simply crumbled down after 3-4 earthquakes. Economy will suffer the same after Brexit. The further expectation that ‘I eat something less today to get something more tomorrow’ is also silly because very often you won’t get anything tomorrow. Future is never certain, it’s why it’s future and not present. You could acknowledge the uncertainty and hope due to a choice, but it’s totally unrealistic to believe something positive will unequivocally come out of Brexit. Nobody knows and if history is anything to go by, the negative will bite first and for a lot longer than imagined (I’ve visited East Germany recently and in some parts it’s as awful as it was in 1989 when the Berlin Wall crumbled down).
13) Expectations of a better future for lower classes and the poor whilst a right-wing government is in power. This escapes my logical skills too. I NEVER heard such a thing; there’s not a right-wing government acting for the interests of the poor classes on all the planet. The concept itself is dumb. This point is the one who baffles me the most and it nearly pushed me to choose ‘Brexit cult’ instead of religion in the title. Poor classes are slaves from the point of view of the well-off classes. They don’t give a damn about who dies, who’s disabled, who has a problem, etc. Poor classes are expendable (as slaves were expendable in ancient Athens or Rome). Brexit or anything else is not going to change that, no matter how much people believe it. If financially speaking something positive comes out of Brexit, the benefits will be assimilated at the level they arrive first (= the top tier of the population). Anyone under that level, not only they won’t get any substantial benefits but they will have to pay for all the negatives too.
14) Expectations that granting the privilege to stay (or come, through a visa system) to some high-skilled immigrants will automatically mean they will stay (out of gratitude?) or that they will queue up at the British border in droves. This line of thought can be associated with attitudes towards skilled British citizens too, who are expected to stay and contribute to the system they took advantage of. It’s utter delusion to think that you can force upon migrants or citizens a reasoning of gratitude or patriotic loyalty. Many migrants who are highly skilled migrate for better opportunities; if they have family, they also gather information about the whole school system or healthcare system, how accessible or expensive they are, what the country has to offer for the future. As a migrant, I know that the United Kingdom enjoyed a high migration for Europe because of the free movement rule. But how will it fare a post-Brexit Britain in that regard? I suspect that there won’t be any need of controlling immigration after 2019, because only the uncertainty caused by Brexit will last two decades and many immigrants will bet their and their own families’ lives/future in more appealing countries (this without even counting the bad reputation UK has recently earned after the xenophobic accidents and murders).
15) Attitude to extensive generalisations, on everyone’s part:
- Many middle class people voted Leave, as well as people from the upper classes;
- Many Remainers are also xenophobic and would shoot an immigrant in the face if they had a gun;
- Anyone who didn’t vote is NOT actually a Remainer, they just chose not to vote and never took a side;
- University students voted Leave; some of them were so ignorant to believe UK was financing the NHS of other countries (I personally heard this one; what a waste of education!);
- A large percentage of EU citizens who voted as dual citizens also voted to Leave and not to Remain.
N.B. : Rude, impolite, xenophobic, racist comments won’t be published. I have zero tolerance for that crap.