Brexit sorrow
I have realised today that I just can’t handle Brexit at the moment.

It’s been a rollercoaster since the original referendum.
Horror and grief and denial characterised the first year.
Then there was an acceptance and resignation, combined with setting my face to the New Order and attempting to pick a positive way through at about a year in, back in June of this current year, 2017.  I, we can do this.  Yes, we are leaving, but it’s a chance to make things better!  To write a new future!  To have engaging, positive, evidence-filled debate over what we want to see and how we want our world to work!

Brexit is not all bad, it has done some extraordinary things.
It’s brought together the factions within the environment sector of Northern Ireland, and improved cross border relations with groups in the Republic.  Our ‘Brexit War Committee’ is proactive and informed.  We have been to speak in Brussels, and at the Dáil, and in Westminster, and there is now, more than ever, a really positive working relationship between our civil servants and the conservation NGOs.

I have felt very proud to be part of this movement.  I have felt inspired and excited and engaged.  A chance to make things better… positive silk purse change from a very negative sow’s ear decision!


However, on the grand scale of things, especially in these past few weeks where Ireland has loomed so large in the negotiations, I have gone back to bleak, impotent, hand-wringing despair, and more worryingly, Rage.
I am now so angry with the farcical mess I flip at the very thought.  It’s like the last 18 months have gradually worn down all my emotional cartilage that helped soften the impact, and now all there is is the raw emotion of my democratically developed values and beliefs crashing into the ‘reality’ of negotiations, power plays, posturing, rhetoric and spear-shaking.

This last week I have been transfixed by the news.  I even streamed the House of Commons debate on the Good Friday Agreement last Wednesday out of morbid fascination.  I was sleepless over the potential deals in this Phase 1 chapter.  I have discovered that I must pull over, IMMEDIATELY, if I am driving and a Brexit debate comes on the radio, as the rage is so intense, so sudden and all-consuming, that I am not safe behind the wheel until they have stopped and several minutes have elapsed for me to get control of my fury and stop shouting at the dashboard.

I can’t actually handle this much raw, untapped, negative emotion on a daily basis.
I have no defences any more.

This weekend I decided I should have some time off from the news.  Time to recover and regroup.
This week has made me ill.  I had a headache for days, I couldn’t sleep, I felt lethargic and stuck.  I am trapped in the Brexit nightmare.  I keep hoping I’ll wake up and it will be 2015 again.  Obama will still be President and Hallelujah! David Cameron will still be PM!  We’ll be in the throes of the NI Stormont stand-off with our Northern Ireland budget in free-fall and the Assembly in political deadlock…. oh…. wait.

This weekend: No news.  No Brexit.

It’s been snowing, and thankfully the news is full of that, and Facebook is full of snowmen and smiles and laughter and beautiful snowscapes of breath-taking magnificence.  The world is a marvellous place and it’s full of wonder and joy and fellowship and fun.  Everyone has Christmas trees and is gorging themselves at various Christmas markets.  They are crafting decorations and writing cards as they have always done.  There is great comfort in these simple joys and I greatly enjoy living Christmas preparations vicariously through my online community.  I listen to beautiful music that calms and cheers me.  I clean my house and busy myself in positive, proactive, simple ways that make me feel relevant and useful.

But!  Thanks to an over-excited FB algorithm, Brexit stole into my newsfeed.  Now it’s our British politicians rubbishing the deal they just worked so hard to broker, posturing that it’s meaningless really as nothing is decided until everything is decided and it was just a play to get us through to Phase 2 and can be rolled back-upon.
The deal is just like the snow…. it causes a huge amount of fuss and hysteria, but then it melts away and everything is back to normal again as if nothing ever happened.

The rage hit me like a freight train.  It was actually dizzying.  I find I am shaking.

No more.

I think, in order to stay sane and still be able to go out in public and spend time with people I love without turning into a ranting, tear-stained, impotent, fury-drenched puddle, I need to stop being online for a bit.
I think, in order to function… in order to get up and do my work each day, I need to stop reading the news and engaging in the wider world, for longer than just a weekend.

I can’t escape from Brexit.  It’s happening.  I accept it’s happening, we voted to leave… but we did not vote on any of the stuff that’s going on at the moment.  We didn’t vote over the Customs Union or the Single Market.  We didn’t vote on the border.  We didn’t vote on the detail…. all of that is to be agreed.  It just feels it’s already all been decided.

I have tried to deal with Brexit positively, but currently I can’t.

The current level of posturing, rhetoric and sheer feckless arrogance from those negotiating the British side of things leaves me breathless, dizzy and impotent with horrified rage.  Our political leaders appear to think they can play fast and loose with our future…. reports that don’t exist, lip-service but no real commitment to the Good Friday Agreement, a lack of respect to our Irish and European neighbours so irresponsible and crass I almost want our Irish and EU neighbours to diplomatically shame and humiliate our British Politicians for their arrogance, ignorance and greed.  I wouldn’t blame them…. how would you deal with a swaggering, grandiose bully who is only a few inches high?

There is no humility in this.  Diplomacy appears to be in evidence only when required.  Discussion and debate that hints at any actual proper negotiation and compromise in our murky, uncertain future is undermined and discounted.  Our own government have admitted they have no plan, no vision for the final picture and are guiding our ship blind, with those who are shouting loudest, clanging like cymbals or foghorns, apparently leading the way.

I think I am frightened.

I feel voiceless, powerless.

I live in a constituency that voted to Remain, in a country that voted to Remain, that is physically attached to part of the European Union.  I want to believe that that means something and has an impact on the tone and the nature of discussions.

However, I ‘lost’ and must obey ‘the voice of the British people’….  The overwhelming 1.2% majority of the British people who pushed Leave through on referendum day***.

It was a deceptively simple question that is causing one of the most complex constitutional negotiations in British history.
Due to the simplicity of the vote, it appears to be being overseen by apparently simple politicians.

Brexit Means Brexit… whatever that means.
I think this mess is an indication that we don’t really know ourselves.

Can someone wake me up when all this is over?

In the meantime, please use Messenger or Email…. I’m going to severely limit Facebook and News from here on in.




***For the record:

The UK population is estimated as 63,640,000 (2016 figures).

From the UK census, 15,098,000 people were aged between 0-19 in 2011.
Let’s round that down to 15,000,000, approximately 24% of the population were under 18 and could not vote…. the people, arguably, who will be most affected by the implications of Brexit and who had/have no voice in shaping it.
(You can find the figures on Wikipedia if you Google UK Demography)

72.2% of the electorate turned out on referendum day – 33,551,983 people.

Therefore, the electorate is ~46470890.58 ([33,551,983 / 72.2] x 100)

Meaning that 12,918,907 citizens (also British people with British voices) abstained by not using their electoral vote at crunch time (46470890-33,551,983)

A quarter of The British People people couldn’t vote.
A quarter of The British People didn’t vote.
A quarter of The British People voted to stay.
And a quarter – but obviously by far the biggest quarter of The British People, voted to leave.

The ‘Voice of the British People’ is barely 25% of us, do please remember that.  It helps to come to negotiation with slightly more grace than anything we are seeing presently.

Hi, welcome to my little island on the web.

I live in Northern Ireland, or the north of Ireland, or County Down, or Co. an Dúin depending on your sensibilities, originally from a little village
no one’s ever heard of, south of Birmingham in the West Midlands.Me  I work in conservation with butterflies and moths.  I love wildlife and wild places.  I like to think of myself as a wild thing, but I’m probably more naturalised or feral or simply invasive.

I write when I need to.  Entries will be sporadic.

Do feel free to feedback if something moves you.  Otherwise, be well 🙂

This is a fresh start on blogging.I’ve kept a log of my life since I moved to Northern Ireland in May 2006 to start my first *real* job with the then Ulster Wildlife Trust as a warden at Slievenacloy.  It used to live on Myspace, and then on the 13th June this year, they upgraded their site and with no warning, overnight all those words vanished.  Reflections and hopes and fears and dreams.  My link to myself.  Gone.

I was really quite upset.  Shocked, furious.  Probably a slightly absurd reaction.  They’re just words, not lives, but it felt like such an invasion and destruction of trust.  I was so appalled such a thing could happen.  Problems of the western world eh?

But I haven’t really written since.  I didn’t really trust putting words down anywhere having lost so much I had always felt would be safe online indefinitely.  I invested more time and energy in my blog than in any other project in my life except music.

Now there is a vague promise that they are in the process of sending me all my lost words, and I feel I should pack away my fears.  So, here on WordPress you will occasionally find outpourings from my head, and hopefully this site would think to warn us before they condemn our words into cyber black holes.

(Myspace, it seems, would like us to go back to blog with them, but once bitten, twice shy, as my Nanna would say.  I think not Liespace, I won’t be darkening your doors again.)

The blog is up at the top on the right next to ‘home’, eventually I’ll add back in all the stuff in between, because I did finally get it back.