Written by Hannah Dunleavy

In The News

Donkeys & Elephants: Letter to America

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Do the world a favour America, and learn from this Brexit shitshow, says Hannah Dunleavy.

America: you got mail! PLEASE read.

America: you got mail! PLEASE read.

Dear Voters of the US,

Many of you will have seen by now what happened in the UK last week. And I know that, despite the commonly held opinion that you don’t really care about the rest of the global community, a lot of you are smart and worldly enough to see how the ripple effects from this country’s momentous decision to leave the EU can affect the rest of the planet.

But just in case you haven’t or you can’t, please indulge me while I explain.

On Thursday, men who have never experienced anything but great wealth and privilege, persuaded some of the county’s poorest, least educated and most disaffected people to jump off a cliff. And now the rest of the country has started to slide off the edge with them. Shit, the whole of Europe might be heading into the sea.

In the last decade, there’s been a growing mistrust of politicians and institutions in the UK, much the same as has happened in your country. Seeing this, a group of rich, educated men, many of whom were long part of the establishment themselves, seized on this opportunity, as a way to manoeuvre themselves into greater positions of power.

These wealthy chancers then set about trying to persuade the country that rather than being part of the problem, they were actually part of the solution. That we were all on the same side and the real enemy was the foreigner trying to infiltrate our country and strip it of its assets. (Except of course, any foreigners that they themselves might be married to.)

“But what’s more, many of the 51.9 per cent are also regretting their decision. They’ve seen, too late, that the emperor has no clothes.”

These opportunists dismissed any criticism of their campaign as self-interest or bias or an attempt to prop up the status quo. They dismissed talk of financial or social repercussions as fear-mongering.  They made “expert” a dirty word.

They made claims about how they would restore this country’s glory and make Britain great again. They pointed at the sun in the sky and told us it was night. And by playing on the hopes and fears of the poor and the disillusioned, they won.

And then they all but disappeared.

See, it turns out, they don’t know how to control the fire they just started. But it doesn’t matter to them. They’re not riding buses where “foreigners” and non-White Britons alike are being abused. They’re not waiting to hear if the company they work for will relocate. They’re not in Northern Ireland, where divisions have been stirred up again after a hard-fought-for peace. They’re not in Scotland, where the idea of a United Kingdom now seems like a bad joke.

They are safe in their homes where nothing has changed. While 48.1 per cent of the population is now hostage to a decision we’ve always know was based on lies. In a society which every hour seems to become more racist and more class-ridden.

But what’s more, many of the 51.9 per cent are also regretting their decision. They’ve seen, too late, that the emperor has no clothes.

So what has any of this got to do with you? Well, in November you will be given exactly the same choice.  To vote for an experienced politician or to vote for a rich man on a vanity trip who is claiming to be just the same as you. Claiming that he will make your country great again and kick out those people who don’t belong. Claiming to be part of the solution, rather than accepting that he is part of the problem.

It’s not for me, or indeed anyone to tell you how to vote, but please, please let Brexit be a lesson to you.

If you protest vote for a rich racist, you, and the rest of the world, may soon live to regret it.

Thanks for listening,

Read all of Donkeys and Elephants here.


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Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.