A week ago today, i’m still coming to terms with what happens and what it all means. The purpose of this post is to share what it means for me.
I know that as I write this my views will be contentious. So let me just say at the outset that I do 1. Respect the result and 2. Respect those of you who hold different views. We may just have to agree to disagree on this one, and thats fine by me.
I am both gutted and worried. Gutted because I thought we wouldn’t be here in lots of different ways. We have witnessed a campaign that was frankly ugly, divisive and unhelpful. Objectivity lost in polarizing debate, a bewildering haze of claim and counterclaim crafted to be sound bite friendly. So much for any substance. Where else would we find a debate over such an important issue reduced to such a level? I had hoped we could do so much better.
Evident to me was a lack of leadership and quality from our politicians at a time when it was needed arguably more so than ever before in recent history. The horrific death of MP Jo Cox bought a brief period of measured sentiment, but that was all too quickly lost. We would do well to reflect on this.
Scared? Why scared? Scared that we are in the midst of taking a leap into the unknown. Scared because as a disabled person, I know what a devastating impact austerity has already had. This looks set to continue with pressure on the public purse and challenging economic conditions. Austerity has frankly been used as an excuse to target the most vulnerable people in society. PIP, the bedroom tax, and cuts to social care funding have had a devastating impact on and for disabled people in general.
Where was the discussion of the impact of Brexit on disabled people in the mainstream debates?
So what now? We must make the best of the hand we have been dealt. We also must work hard to ensure that we find common ground, retaining respect for each other and valuing the diversity in our country. We have to also ensure that the most vulnerable people in society are heard do not further suffer as they have done under austerity.
I hope I don’t have to be gutted for too much longer, and that our ‘independence day’ doesn’t do more harm than good.