Not About Books

I never thought that I would be writing about capital P Politics on this blog, but I feel it’s important to briefly share my sadness and anger at the outcome of the UK referendum, an outcome I very much fear is in part a terrible product of ignorance and racism.  Yesterday I was going to post a book review but my draft felt too out of keeping with the day’s emotions.  Now I’m concerned that if I don’t state my position clearly, it will never be the right moment to get back into sharing my reviews.  After publishing this, I’m going to reschedule the posts and keep on writing; it’s not because I’m oblivious to the very real crisis affecting all of us in the UK.

My blog reflects my personal belief in, and commitment to, inclusivity, diversity and informed decision-making.  I think there are real dangers in being isolated from other cultures and viewpoints.  I am very scared at the thought of being shut off from the rest of England, as well as Europe, in my book-filled London room.

I’ll be blogging as usual and will be trying to keep the blog as my happy place, on the internet and away from borders, where I can write about the books I love and connect with other readers around the world.


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13 Responses to Not About Books

  1. The Reading Bug says:

    Another very sad UK citizen sharing your sadness and anger.

  2. Sarah says:

    Ditto. It’s been a very uncomfortable few years watching an increase in support for far right views in both the UK and across Europe in the wake of the recession, but I never expected this to actually happen. I am stunned, heartbroken and fear for the future. Grim times.

  3. Sophie says:

    Yes I’m with you on this, Shoshi. Yesterday was devastating and I fear it painted us all in a negative light to the rest of the world; so it’s good to have ways to speak out to others to show them we don’t want to be shut away.

  4. Shoshi, thank you so much for your honest, yet restrained post. I echo everything you have so eloquently said. I have to confess I have felt the urge to write a post similarly expressing my sorrow, my anger, my fear, but unlike what you have managed to do with dignity and grace, I am in the midst of a kind of feeling of distaste, and despair that there could be such credulity, such easy seduction, and such whipping up of dangerous emotion. And I don’t want to write out of that place.

    None of us, in the main, find it easy to accept responsibility for our actions. I know there is already quite a lot of anger being addressed towards Brexiteers – and particularly against those of them now going ‘Whoops – I didn’t really mean this, I didn’t think it would happen, can we vote again’ and also some Brexiteers now reeling because those making those seductive promises ‘350 million a week for the NHS!!!! No more Johnny Foreigner eating our cake!!!!’ are now being told by those who told the whoppers ‘well, actually, what we said isn’t EXACTLY that’ A kind of feeling ‘why weren’t we told?’ Rather than ‘why didn’t I listen?’

    I’m currently afraid of the anger I now feel towards those who voted that way. A huge, and I fear, global damage has been done, a kind of earthquake. But, just as in an earthquake, we have to find a way to help each other out of the rubble. And even if someone injured by the rubble is someone who perhaps bears some kind of responsibility for the quake (choosing to build a high rise at the top of a smoking volcano, despite being told that the volcano was about to blow) we have to find a way to help that injured person as well.

    But, yes, at the moment I am wondering round riven by shock, grief, anger and wanting to dissociate myself from my ‘Britishness’, feeling a kind of shame in how that ‘Britishness’ might be perceived by other nations. This echoes what Sophie said in her comment.

    I apologise that in the end I have been unable to hold the dignity you found, in your expression of what a lot of us are feeling

  5. Jonathan says:

    Although I voted to remain in the EU, I don’t share your pessimism for the future. In the end the UK will still deal with Europe. The worst effect of the vote, IMO, is the possible break up of the UK. Once the dust has settled from both of these events then I don’t think there will be much difference from now, though I could be wrong.

    I think it’s wrong to imply that those who voted to leave were ignorant and racist, just as it was wrong for the Leave group to describe Remainers as unpatriotic dupes of the EU.

    • Thank you for sharing a more optimistic view.
      I think that people (on both sides) voted for a huge range of reason, including well-reasoned and well-informed ones. Looking at the responses on the media though, it does seem like many people – and the media has largely focussed on those who voted out – did not really expect anything to come of their ballot. This shows a worrying level of ignorance about the consequences of the referendum and the complexity of the issues. As for the implication of racism, this is based less on the voters than the focus of the Leave campaign, much of which I feel played on racist fears of the Other.
      You’re right, one of the most worrying consequences of the vote is the division within the UK, an increased ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality between e.g. London and the rest of England. This makes it all the more important to continue to share ideas and celebrate diversity, trying to understand each other rather than reach for simplified labels.

      • Jonathan says:

        It was a bit worrying hearing some people’s reasons for voting. I think a lot of people voted Leave just to stick their finger up to the establishment and some people who had issues with the EU, but may not necessarily have wanted to leave, may have been uncomfortable in voting for Remain.

        I was appalled with the media coverage, which just concentrated on the Leave/Remain boxing match. It would have been nice to have got more nuanced views. In an age where people professe a ‘passion’ for everything I think we could have done with a lot less passion and more consideration.

        I wonder if, in twenty years time, we’ll be seeking to re-join the EU.

  6. heavenali says:

    It sounds as if you’re feeling much like I am. I won’t be writing about it on my blog because I don’t think I can. Though you express what 48% of the population (and almost everyone I personally know are feeling this weekend).

  7. Melissa Beck says:

    As an American I watched the whole thing unfold in sympathy. I am afraid there has been an awful shift here to the right as well with the rise of someone like Donald Trump. It’s embarrassing as an American to have someone like him running for our highest office. I can only hope that most Americans are sensible and he will not win in Nov.

  8. Isabelle Weiler-Le Martret says:

    I have been a declared anglophile for 38 years, ever since my first trip to London in 1978 but I must admit that this event has put a bit of a check on these feelings. I cannot help thinking of all the times I have heard British people complain first about the common market, then about the E.U. . Never their own fault, always Europe’s ! As Julian Barnes put quite graphically in The NewStateman a few years ago, the UK were ” selfish and uncooperative Europeans, smugly farting away in the corner “. And he added ” it seems perfectly possible that David Cameron will be remembered as the Prime Minister who lost Scotland and took Britain out of Europe”. That was in 2013. I thought at the time he was perhaps being over-pessimistic…He was in fact very clear-sighted.

    Isabelle, from Rouen, France, where we don’t have Trump or Bojo, but where we have the ominous Le Pen family.

  9. It’s awful, isn’t it – I couldn’t believe the result when I woke up on Friday morning. How can the voting public be so stupid. I think the break up of the UK may well be hot on the heels of this.

  10. FictionFan says:

    Devastated. We can only hope the shake up in the political parties brings forward some people who can really lead us instead of pandering to the worst aspects of us.

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