June 22nd 2016

June 22nd 2016

June 22nd 2016.

The day before the EU Referendum. The day before we know if our world is going to change for ever. Remain or Leave? Are we going to be precipitated into an unknown and scary future or are we all going to settle back into a tentative and nervous normality.

I cannot think of a time in my life when political debate has been so raw, vicious, passionate and sometimes destructive. It has brought out all the very worst in human nature. Smug certitude; an inability to listen or respect an apposing view; well versed mantras clutched at, rather than explored.

This referendum has brought to the fore incipient racism, personal insult,  uninformed argument, unedifying anger and violence, based on emotion not facts.

Democracy is the freedom to have a voice and the ability to cast a vote  for an outcome you believe in.  It is a wonderful and precious thing. We are all united  in our fear of  losing it. It is one of the many reasons it has not been a simple decision for many of us to choose to remain or leave.

Feeling passionate about your beliefs combined with an ability to put them across articulately and coherently, changes opinions. Insulting and shouting down a person with an apposing view, does not.

Watching politicians and people on the street verbally abusing each other over this vote has been a daunting and upsetting experience. This debate has divided friends and families. It has driven wedges between communities and colleagphotoues.

Many of us feel their democratic rights are threatened and eroded by people with power and an agenda that is not the same as ours. There is bewildering acknowledgement that we are not at the heart of our own destiny anymore.

I wish this referendum had had some moral issues at the heart of it. I wish we had had more of a debate about who and what we want our country to stand up for. But, I fear this government has only one God. The Economy. Humanitarian issues, refugees, the horror and plight of Syria seem peripheral.

Britain and the world have stood by and watched a nation decimated, watched families  flee for safety and we have given them little. We could have given them so much at so little cost to ourselves.

The tragic killing of Jo Cox, a young and passionately involved MP stunned the world and made us all step back in horror. I watched her husband, Brendon Cox,  being interviewed last night. He was articulate, powerful and searingly dignified. It was heartbreaking.

Jo Cox believed in fighting every inch for a better world, not just for us, here, on this island  but for everyone without a voice, a home, a country. That means Remaining In.

Follow Sara