It’s hard for me to think about anything other than the referendum at the moment, and given this is a blog about what’s going on with me and my family, I can’t avoid the topic I’m afraid. I’m not here to start a debate, but I voted to remain and I’m incredibly disappointed with the result. I’ve felt for a long time that it shouldn’t have been down to the people alone. A referendum should have been just a part of the process, not the whole process. The idea of two referendums, a year apart, for example, seems a much more respectful and sensible way of making a choice. It’s my opinion that we elect a government to make tough decisions for us, because most of us don’t have the knowledge or time to make informed decisions (and I absolutely include myself in that). That is the point of a government. This issue was, for far too many people, down to one or two factors, when in actual fact the removal of the UK from the EU has many factors that all required due consideration.
As a father, how does it make me feel? I’m actually very sad that my girls are going to grow up at a time when this country has, in my opinion, taken a step back. Already, reported incidents of racist behaviour and crimes are increasing. I truly hope it’s a blip. How long before child immigrants, or any school child who looks a little different, is being told to go home by classmates, because the decision we’ve taken as a country has poorly and incompletely filtered down to them as being one about keeping foreigners out? It sends a shiver through me.
The world is not ours. We look after it to hand down to our children in the same state we found it, or better. That’s long been my belief when it comes to issues like climate change. The same is true of society, in terms of openness, kindness, tolerance and love. I fear our kids will grow up in a country that is faltering. Closing its doors and turning away. That they will be witness to more acts of racism and the ‘us and them’ attitude that they will be less tolerant than this generation.
The young voters overwhelmingly voted to remain. This is more about them than other elections, where you get another go in 4 or 5 years. Once we’re out, we’re out. If this referendum happened 5 years down the line, instead of now, would it be different? A proportion of older voters (more likely to vote leave) will have departed this world, and more of our youth will have reached voting age, and most likely would vote remain. My point is, this vote is a moment in time, reflecting the nation’s opinions right now, but perhaps they were shifting? It makes assumptions, I know, but I think the country was becoming more and more in favour of the EU.
If that is the case our decision to leave the EU will be less and less representative of society as the years tick my. Alternatively, and even more scarily, will we taint a generation of young minds into thinking that isolation and keeping people out is the right way to go? Neither of those seem like a win to me.
Whether this is over yet or not I don’t know. But whatever happens, as parents we must do our absolute best to foster tolerance and compassion in our children.
Steve is a husband to Liz and father to two young girls, Lois and Carrie. He is a freelance architectural photographer (www.stevemayesphotography.co.
uk), and this flexibility allows him to juggle work with the lion’s share of the weekly childcare. Steve also has a new venture building architectural models out of Lego (www.brickthis.co.uk) and his work will be on display at the Centre for Life in 2017. Steve is from the Midlands originally but has been living in the North East since 2000.