Living in Northern Ireland Brexit has been an incredible political car-crash. In the build-up to the referendum it felt like we where the quiet kid in class holding up their hand asking the question ‘What about our border with the EU?’ or ‘What happens to the farming subsidies that are literally keeping our agricultural industry afloat?’ But Like that quiet child in class all these glaringly obvious questions weren’t being picked up on or answered. I think I remember a Guardian article being the only thing I saw that even raised the question of what was going to happen to us.
I grew up at the tail-end of the Troubles in a very staunchly pro-union council estate with it’s very own paramilitary organisations, times in which you just wouldn’t go into Belfast in the evening, when shops shut early, when there were army on the streets etc. But I was a child of the Good Friday Agreement, when the world opened up and the younger generation made progress and now, while it still has its problems, I think Northern Ireland is an incredible place with amazing people.
I don’t think that people really believe that trouble could start back up again but depending what happens with the border it is a real possibility as there are people out there ready for a reason. We, as a country, voted to remain and bar the frankly awful DUP holding the Tories to ransom I don’t think anyone would have really cared. I have no idea where this is all going, and more worryingly I don’t think the government do either.
As for people’s reasons for leaving I get it, and not everyone is a racist. Some people wanted to kick the government, wanted to voice their dissatisfaction with their lot but this was the wrong fight to get involved in. I feel that from what I’ve heard going on in business boardrooms and from people who work in government that this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better - but I want to remain optimistic. I have friends who work with farmers who voted to leave, to put it in perspective they were receiving £85k of a subsidy to keep their farms running. They were told to leave by local politicians with the promise they’ll get a better deal, but now they are concerned as they are getting assurances but nothing definite.
I think we paired public dissatisfaction with empty promises from political opportunists, walking into a situation I don’t know how long it’ll take us all to recover from. When I have to ask the question if I’ll have to have my wife on a register because she is from the south of Ireland (even though she has lived up here longer than she did down south) then you wonder how well thought out this all has been - it seems that won’t be the case but the fact the question had to be asked is alarming.
Where we are going I don’t know, I wouldn’t profess to and anyone who says they absolutely do should be met with a raised eyebrow at a minimum. Failing Brexit being reversed I guess all we can do is hold the politicians to account in future elections and try and make the best of a completely avoidable situation.
Off to eat now after all that TLDR’ing because Breakfast means Breakfast.