An Immigrant Reflects on the Brexit Result

I have rarely been more emotionally damaged by a political event as I am by Brexit. As we turn our face away from the world and bury it in jingoistic fantasy, two profoundly dangerous currents– nationalism and a flexible relationship with reality are swallowing us whole.

Xenophobic rhetoric has become mainstream, validated by a May government that makes me long for the cuddly warmth of Thatcherism. The dynamic melting pot of cosmopolitan ideas that made me proud to be British is being strangled while academics, scientists, creatives, and the hard working migrants on whose back our boom was built are leaving.

Our negotiating position is a poorly constructed fiction, our negotiators are a testament to glib delusion, every last independent study demonstrates both the net benefits of migration and the economic damage that awaits us, and businesses are already looking elsewhere for a stable future.

I am an immigrant who has only ever called Britain home. Throughout my years abroad I have always felt a direct connection to the spirit of openness that Britain represented to me, but today I am strangely lost, despite feeling a citizen of the world – an ideal that Mrs May went out of her way to mock.

And for all those on the left who voted to leave – I hope you’re happy. Thanks for voting an abstraction when we had a reality to deal with. Jeremy Corbyn is very fucking far from my savior. I value strategic nouse alongside principle, because principle alone is no match for the forces we face.

He’s a nice bloke and I agree with much of what he says – but he is way out of his depth in this pit of vipers. And blaming it all on the ‘mainstream media’ doesn’t wash for me – someone truly competent would be communicating far better than this. Yes there is bias. No he isn’t equipped to outwit it.

So here we are. A one party state with fascist tinges as the latest prime minister in a long line of mediocrities opts to pander rather than lead.

I have been told to get over it, not least by my family, but I just can’t. I’m nearly 40 and this is one of the most painful blows to my identity that I have ever known. Strange – because I never fully realised what being British meant to me until this moment.

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