Let’s be real for a second.
I know my blog is where I come to share my thoughts on little things that make me happy, and maybe criticize some products from time to time so you wouldn’t waste your money on them.Eventually I was planning to start talking about mental health, because I feel like I have something to say, however for the most part I keep it easy and I keep it light. I do not expect this post regarding the referendum to gain lots of attention and if you’re not interested in this please feel free to leave and I will see you very soon with my regular posts! Unfortunately, today is one of those days that I cannot escape the reality beyond my screen. I will try my hardest to respect everybody’s views, so please do not take offence if your opinions differ from mine.
I will try to keep it to the minimum, but there is going to be rambling. Prepare yourselves, maybe grab a snack.
As many of you know on the 23rd of June (2016) a British referendum regarding their membership in the European Union took place. The turn out reached over 70%, which is something to be truly proud of. I was not allowed to vote, but I surely would have if I could have. All in all, this is democracy at it’s best and people get to decide! However, I feel like democracy in this case comes with lots of scaremongering. The public can be so easily swayed with words, especially if they are constructed in a way that feeds their pre-existing prejudices. I feel like the information provided to the public was an insulting deviation from the truth. And that is not okay.
You have to understand, this is somewhat of a sensitive topic for me. Who am I, or rather, who do I identify as has never been easy to answer. Both these questions I cannot really answer. Am I defined by the place I was born, or am I defined by the place I decided to live as an adult, or can I define myself as an individual who is who they are, regardless of where she was born or choses to live? I can tell you truthfully that I do not identify as Lithuanian. That doesn’t mean I do not appreciate Lithuania, or that I do not miss my family. And it’s not even because I have moved somewhere else, I had never possessed a sense of nationalism. Maybe that’s why actions from nationalist are hard for me to understand and relate to. Do I consider myself Scottish? No, not really. I do, however, consider myself a local here. One TedTalk by Taiye Selasi really stuck with me. she talked about how her multicultural heritage and lifestyle makes it difficult to answer the question ‘where are you from’, which we are asked a lot because for some reason people assume it’s okay to do so. It makes me very uncomfortable. I don’t know what to answer. I usually say Lithuania, because that’s where I physically came here from, however it feels untruthful as I never identified as Lithuanian. Taiye Salasi makes a point that people should rather ask where we are a local. I can confidently say that Scotland is where my home’s at, in every sense of that word. I do not consider myself Lithuanian (god knows I tried though) and I do not consider myself Scottish. It’s all sorts of complicated, but to sum up – I am a girl with a home yet I am a girl with no country. It pains me sometimes, not because I feel like I need to be a part of one country, but because sometimes it feels like other people have more say over my life than I do. Which brings us back to the recent events.
I have studied, lived and worked here for 5 years now. Sadly, I am an EU citizen and hence was not privileged to take part in this referendum. This irked me a little bit as it affects me greatly. I do not see why they did not implicate the residential criteria, so that people who lived here for 2, 4 ,10 years, or whoever long they would decide on, could vote too. If this was so unreasonable, why would it be the case in the Scottish referendum that happened not too long ago, surely not for the lack of importance. On the other hands, maybe they wanted to place this decision solely in the hands of UK citizens, so I do understand their reasoning to some extent, but something about all this ‘UK citizens decide the faith of UK residents’ did make me uneasy.
The first results were very much towards Remain, however as I checked this at 2 am the odds were not that great at all. I obviously was aware that the referendum is happening but I don’t think I have ever fully stomached that the possibility of leaving is actual: ‘ No way people would actually vote for that’. When I pealed my eyes open in the morning to lazily check the results only to learn that the decision was, in fact, to leave EU (Results: Remain – 16,141,241; Leave – 17,410,742) something unnatural and very bloody unpleasant happened to my insides. I sat there in bed for maybe an hour manically looking at the results in more depth. It did not take me long to realise that there was a clear cut between opinions at the borders of Scotland and England. Not even one Scottish county voted to leave. Not. Even. One. Then I came across this. I, as a psychology student that was thought to love statistics, found this very interesting, though not entirely surprising. First of all, let’s just get this out in the open: correlation does not equal causation. I honestly think me and all of my previous course mates will carry this to their graves. So keeping that in mind, we can still adore how linear some correlations are. The post compares the results to key demographic characteristics of the local authority areas, and the results strongly suggest that the more educated the voter was the more likely he was to vote Remain. To follow up, demographics with no formal qualifications were more likely to vote Leave. The income seems to be a possible predictor, with the higher income holders leaning towards Remain. I have to admit that I did find the lack of correlation between the age and the vote quite surprising, however the graph only takes the median age into consideration rather than the age groups. Here’s a graph showing the breakdown of the age and votes (blue is to remain, while yellow is for leave votes). The tendency was still clear in that the older voters voted Leave while the younger populations voted Remain. Now I am in no way encouraging age hate I am just interested in this data. This resulted in lots of ‘old fart’ phrase pretty much trending online, especially as social media is very much a younger generation platform and from the looks of it, they are not happy with the results. And why would they be? What good can actually come from this? I suppose ‘at least there will be less of those bloody immigrants’ – yes, ruining the economy for the whole country would possible lead to that effect, but it would also result in a lot of bright minds fleeing away from UK, local and international . I came to work this morning, and everyone said they are actually considering leaving UK even though they are all citizens here. The people I work with are very intelligent and bright and it scares me to think that all the like-minded people might want to leave too. I know this most likely is just a very emotional and radical response to what has happened, but what if it isn’t? I recommend reading the Economist article about the possible implications due to this change, it’s a very nicely written one. The problem now is: you can’t expect EU countries to welcome you with open hands and hearts when you openly just banned them from your own country. Free movement cannot work one-sidedly. That’s just not how you play this.
Is EU going to suffer a Domino effect?
My biggest fear by far from all of this is that EU could trigger a sort of Domino effect. France is already whispering about having their own referendum and whilst the EU can recover from losing the UK, losing France as well might be a fatal blow. I think it’s shameful how these results took us back at least 60 years in regards of this reasonable ‘let’s keep the peace by minimising distinction of our economy and orders’ approach that, let’s be frank, worked fine till now. But yes, sure, why not just decide that 2016 seems like a perfect time to change your mind and suddenly, referring to extremely weak evidence, decide that separation is what will make us all stronger, after all. ‘Worked fine in the past, right?’ Yes, I say separation, not freedom. Slaves don’t have freedom, countries under occupation don’t have freedom and frankly it’s an insult to them and everyone else when some people claim that there was a serious lack of it in UK. Privileged much? Yes, yes we are! There’s nothing wrong with that, I am just saying that what they claimed they want is freedom from a prison that does not exist, and what they got is isolation that can only lead to misery. So I really hope that the remaining EU members do not make the same mistake as a knee-jerk reaction to what has happened here today and keep EU stable and strong, and maybe better than ever. I would be extremely happy to see that.
Let’s talk Scotland.
As it is clear, Scotland’s voters 100% leaned towards Remaining in EU. Sadly, a firm stance from Scotland alone was never enough to sway the whole UK. I was always a believer in ‘better/stronger together’ and I do not see that changing any time soon. At the time the Scottish independence referendum I was still at the University, and even though I did have the right to vote that time, I mindfully chose not to. Not because I did not have the opinion – I wanted to stay, but I respected the fact I was not certain if this is the place I will spend the rest of my life at and hence did not want to have a say in a decision that is so important to the country if I am just going to bugger off after I graduate. How nice of me, right? I personally did not agree with the idea of separation, as I rarely do. But I do always listen to both sides and I did see that there were reasonable arguments on both sides. I am still a ‘better/stronger together’ person, but which one should take the priority? Better with UK or better with EU? I, naturally, lean with EU, because that’s just the wider proxy.I think it comes to this: are you European or British, if both is not an option anymore. To me the answer is a no brainer – I am not sure which country I feel I belong to but European sums it up much better than any specific country could. There are talks from the SNP and pretty much every person I have met at work/online/on the streets today, that there will be another Scottish independence referendum. On one hand I would consider voting Yes this time for the various reasons, some of which are already listed. Although I am concerned of the possibility that Scotland might get stuck in some sort of purgatory. What if they leave UK and want to join EU and Spain, Belgium etc resist to let Scotland in and it will just be stuck there alone. Or even worse, what if there’s no strong EU to re-join anymore? If the pound drops even more, would Scotland even survive the separation? There were doubts even before all of this that it can. But then again, is it fair for Scotland to be dragged out of EU against their will?
There’s only one thing that’s certain at this moment and sadly even that’s is just that nothing is bloody certain. There is no plan. There is no strategy. This would affect all government/business bodies and our personal lives, doesn’t even matter where you live. Was the situation so bad that this change was actually needed? Or was this a spur of the moment that grew uncontrollably from something like a scare directed to EU by David Cameron, who proceeded to change his mind conveniently afterwards. I still think this might be the most bizarre thing ever.
Again, I would like to find solace in the fact that a lot of people cared and showed up to vote. I mean that counts for something, right? Even if Frankie Boyle is right when tweeting
Please watch the video below. This is what scares me. If that’s the ‘rationale’ people used. Everything this man has said is so wrong on so many different levels, it’s almost admirable. Almost. So let’s bow our heads for our lost friend Logic.
Sorry for the ramble. It has been a hard day. Let me know what you think.