Written by Lili la Scala

In The News

In the Brexshit

Lili la Scala voted Remain, but is happy to get behind our departure from the EU. If anyone would explain to her what on earth is going to happen.

Hopeful words: a mural in London.

Hopeful words: a mural in London.

Every conversation I’ve had in the last three months has eventually ended up in the same cul-de-sac. (Can we use that turn of phrase in these post-Euro-apocalyptic times? Do we get to keep it, or do we parcel it up along with ‘c’est la vie’ and pop it back across the Channel?)

Brexit: that elephant in every room. It has caused the country to be more divided than it has been for 365 years. I have friends, family even, who voted to leave. I have friends and family who vehemently wanted to remain.

I, of course, have my concerns; who doesn’t? I don’t believe there is a human being in the UK at the moment who can honestly say that, post referendum, they have no concerns and are completely happy with the disorganised approach to our withdrawal from the European Union.

I do get rather frustrated with the argument of the Brexiteers, that the majority have spoken. Actually, the majority haven’t spoken. We live in a nation where 46.5 million people are registered to vote. Just over 17 million people voted to leave the European Union. It’s not even close to half.

I’m sad that such a huge, future-changing decision was put in the hands of a populace who, on the whole, were ignorant of what Brexit truly means. In some respects, we are still ignorant.

Our current Government has been taciturn about the plans it wants to implement when it actions Article 50 and historically changes our status quo.

“I want my son to be able to experience other cultures and be understanding of them. I’d hate to think he is going to grow up in a country that belittles people because of their heritage, skin colour or religious beliefs.”

Like many human beings, I am pretty dreadful with change. I like to cling on to familiar things. However, I think, if someone could assuage my concerns with some cold hard facts about the manifold benefits of the UK striking out alone, forging new and interesting business relationships and establishing a place on the world stage, I might just be able to throw my lot in behind it.

The fact remains, however, that we have heard nothing. We have been left, out in the cold, while the ‘unelected’ powers that be gallop headlong into a new regime which, given the circumstances, they’d created single handed. Or so they thought. Then, a historic judgement was passed to ensure the sovereignty of Parliament and to make sure the Government observes due process. And yet people still complain that it is un-British.

I’m sure the conversations I’m having over my supper table are not atypical. I’d like to think even those who voted to leave are a little concerned now. The utter chaos of a Leave vote after a campaign beset by lies and violence is enough to make anyone uneasy.

Since voting ‘out’, the country has been plagued by open racism. We are an island nation; for all of time our shores have been home to traders, immigrants and even invaders seeking new conquests and yet, suddenly, we are told that this must stop. We are full. The borders must be closed.

Who wants free and easy access to travel and the experiences of other cultures? I adore a melting pot society and I love to hear other languages as I wander through the world. We cannot allow Brexit to be purely about immigration; it has to be about so much more.

A Remain campaign banner on a house in North Yorkshire the day before the EU referendum.

A Remain campaign banner on a house in North Yorkshire the day before the EU referendum.

We have to consider farming, finance, business and ease of travel. We have seen the pound become unstable, and plunge ridiculously low against the dollar. Ironically it has stopped me buying vintage clothes from the US, something that my husband hasn’t managed in 10 years!

I’m concerned about the NHS. I worry that, with further cuts and the loss of doctors and nurses from other countries, we’ll end up with a US-style healthcare system. The NHS should be a jewel in our crown but instead it has been cut and cut and cut until it is a shadow of its former self.

Much of the research funding for cancer and other diseases comes from the EU. The UK is one of the largest recipients of research funding. Between 2007 and 2013 the UK received £7.8bn out of a total of £95bn expenditure on research, development and innovation in EU member states, associated and third countries. This represents the fourth largest share in the European Union.

Are there any guarantees that it would be equally replaced by the UK Government? If they are replacing it, from where will they fish that cash? From the already overstretched taxpayer?

The Government plans to scrap the bursary funding for students on nursing, midwifery and other health degrees, which could mean a drop in numbers of people studying for a career in the NHS. It will mean fewer qualified new recruits for the NHS from 2020, so trusts will have to spend further funds on agency staff or overseas recruitment to make up the inevitable shortfall in numbers. When we Brexit, we could potentially could lose the EU nurses and our thinly stretched National Health Service could just snap.

Most importantly to me, I’m the mother of a small son. I want him to have even more opportunities than I have had. I want him to be able to study abroad if he wants to. I want him to be able to experience other cultures and be understanding of them. I’d hate to think he is going to grow up in a country that belittles people because of their heritage, skin colour or religious beliefs. Once we create scapegoats based on nationality or religion for the problems we feel that our country has, it sets a dangerous precedent.

I’m worried for my husband, for he is an immigrant, although as a Caucasian, middle-class male from a Commonwealth country, he is an acceptable one. How sad that some people are considered more acceptable than others.

I would hope that in time, bridges can be built, and gold poured in the fractures of our country, causing it to become more beautiful as it is sutured together. Though in these dismal times, that future feels a long way off.


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Written by Lili la Scala

Lili la Scala sings a bit, writes a bit and spends more time than is probably necessary discussing the toilet habits of her son. Bona fide vintage addict, though she is sure she sounds less tragic when described as a 'collector'.