A Very British Civil War

The English language, as the British use it at least, is simply not designed for the situation we now find ourselves in. Somehow ‘my what a pickle,’ is never going to cut it, will never be able to describe a conflict that literally no one saw coming. But then civil wars are always the worst – an outpouring of hate and anger between a people that are more similar than they ever could be different. But make no mistake, that’s where my country finds itself – bitter, resentful, argumentative – divided.

It began so simply – a referendum hardly anyone wanted, suffered with truly British stoicism and supported by a rich cast of lacklustre performances and shameful, shocking lies. The result however – unprecedented and confusing as it is, has changed us in a most un-British way. We somehow voted for exclusion, isolation, to walk away from a European community we’ve been growing ever closer to, and maybe that was part of the problem.

Love it or hate it, and the British do both so well, when you get down to it the EU is a beautiful and inspirational idea, as bureaucratic and perplexing as it can often be – that after two wars that tore the soul out of the continent, it should choose unity over cynicism, hope over destruction. That France and Germany, centre stage for both, could put aside their differences (mostly) and share an organisation, let alone a single currency, is a testament, if not to the power of forgiveness, then to the real world benefits of it.

The double-edged tragedy behind it all is the inability of both sides to see the other’s point – very UnBritish in itself. Leave supporters can’t seem to see what they’re losing, whilst Remain supporters completely missed the anger that has evidently bubbled beneath the surface for so long. Remain supporters, you suspect at least, never thought anyone could be stupid enough to vote against Europe – to willingly throw themselves off a financial cliff in the hope someone hands them a parachute on the way down. Leave supporters meanwhile, are frustrated that the other half of the country now seems to think of them as racist.

None of this is helped by a new breed of far right politician pouring water in the cracks, and fuel on the bonfire; people with big smiles and a pint in their hand as they gurn at the camera, and who have somehow made racism jolly. Who have taken on the benefits of life in the UK and missed all the lessons, who have now made hatred acceptable, allowing others to spout disease and somehow feel good about it.

In case they are reading, in case they can read – hatred is never acceptable. Bigotry is never acceptable.

Thankfully they may have underestimated the British people, at least I hope they have, and for every bigot raging at a Polish man on a bus, there’s an elderly grandmother who’s not afraid to tell that opinionated zealot to go f**k himself.

The tragedy is, in order to save the country from break up and ruin, Politician’s must now prove that they are not the duplicitous b******s people on both sides now think they are, and many will have to fall on their own swords in order to do so. When the vote finally comes to ratify this poisonous choice, MP’s will have to either choose to back the majority, slim at it may be, or vote down a referendum that should never have happened, to choose the good of the nation, potentially over their own paychecks.

Has so much ever been asked of a public figure? Does such a politician even exist?

There’s an expression – cometh the hour, cometh the man. Churchill was that man, perhaps even Thatcher was in her own strange, unforgiving way, and we need one now more than ever.

It will not be Boris Johnson, a man whose lies have torn the very decency of the British people in two. It cannot be Michael Gove, who decried experts for doing exactly what they’re supposed to, and who are already being proved true. It will certainly not be Nigel Farage, who should make every person born in my country feel shame that we could produce such a creature.

More than ever we need someone to unite us. And if you are out there be quick, because Britain is haemorrhaging, and it needs you more than ever.

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