With Brexit looming perilously close, I've started to wonder how it's going to affect me and my family in our daily life. Full disclosure: I'm a Remainer. Probably no surprise there - I'm a millennial (just), creative, left-leaning woman (other than in the 65+ age category, more men than women voted to Leave), but resigned as I am to Brexit, it's hard to know how it's going to affect us day to day and, perhaps more importantly, how it will affect our children.
I've found myself almost rigidly avoiding the Brexit debate. It's hard to know why. I'm usually interested and engaged in political discussion - when you have Sunday lunch with my father, it's hard to avoid it - but when it comes to Brexit debate seems to be futile.
What seems to influence our stance on Brexit isn't so much the physical or tangible pros and cons, after all, how can it when we don't even know what those are? Instead, whether you're a Brexiteer or a Remainer seems to be more about what Brexit representsto to an individual. For me, leaving the EU represents a huge step backwards in the growth of our country as a team-player and a believer in the bigger picture and the greater good. My views have been dismissed as nothing more than 'the idealistic ramblings of an over-privileged millennial' (those Sunday lunches at my family's house can get pretty rowdy). But here's my truth: Brexit seems like a regression inspired by a yearning for the glory days of Great Britain. It feels inspired by those who want to, "Make Britain Great Again" and we only need to look across the pond to see how that plays to the international audience.
[caption id="attachment_2623" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Distribution of EU Referendum votes in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2016, by age group and gender // © Statista 2019[/caption]
But back to our families, back to our every day reality post 11pm on March 29th. What will it look like? Honestly, no one can really tell us yet. With no deal agreed, we simply don't know exactly what the UK post-Brexit will look like. What we do know is that the EU influences and/or implements a huge amount of our policy: everything from employment rights to human rights and, yes of course, the economy.
There's little point in debating. Brexiteers believe Brexit will lead to one set of circumstances and Remainers believe it will lead to another. Both will be right on certain issues. Both will be wrong. We simply don't know where we'll land. Brexiteers believe we'll have more money for the NHS; Remainers believe the NHS suffers and that the result of falling GDP will mean proportionally less cash available for public spending. While recession is possible whether we are in or out of the EU, both sides appear to be convinced that it's more likely should the other happen. Remainers argue that Brexit will lead to instability and a run on the pound. Remainers say gaming more control of our economy will allow us to manage it for our own benefit. Who knows?
What we do know is that, currently, Brexit is happening. My kids hear it all the time and Billie asks what Brexit is. I'm 37 and struggling to understand it; I can't imagine how a 5-year old can begin to grasp it. I did what I could and tried to put it in terms that she would understand.
"Well, our country used to be part of a team of countries and we all worked together to try and make it good for everybody. Sure, that means that we, as a wealthy, affluent country did a lot of the work for those countries and people that didn't have as much, but that's all part of being a team. Brexit means that we've left that team and we're going to be working by ourselves for ourselves."
She replied, "Well that doesn't sound very fun at all. Who wants to play by themselves?"
Quite, my darling. Quite.