As the country gears up to vote in the EU Referendum tomorrow I keep hearing one phrase over and over again. From debates in the pub to discussions on Facebook, this one phrase seems to pop up whenever things get a bit heated: “It’s nothing personal”.
“I’m not being funny, but you can think your way and I’ll think mine, it’s nothing personal”. Or, “I like Boris and you don’t – it’s nothing personal”. Or, “So you want to vote Remain but I think we’re better off out? Whatever. It’s nothing personal”.
Except it is. It’s very personal, because politics IS personal.
From hospitals to housing, immigration to education, these are all issues which directly affect us, our children and our children’s children. Anyone who thinks these debates are just about some distant, far-off ideas which don’t really have any impact on our lives is kidding themselves. The EU Referendum is a big deal, and I think the reason it’s got people on both sides of the argument so heated is because of the truly personal nature of the outcome.
There are some people who shy away from discussing their political views, terrified they might offend someone or get pulled into a discussion where they have to defend their ideas with people intent on changing them. I’m not one of those people. I wear my politics on my sleeve (left-wing, Remain, if you’re asking) and I’m not afraid to defend them.
I’ll tell you now that if the side I want to win doesn’t win tomorrow I’ll be upset. I’ll probably take to Twitter to have a good old moan. In the heat of the moment I’ll blame you if you voted the other way and I’ll probably secretly think your decision was based on some kind of thinly veiled racism.
However, that’s not to say I won’t like you. I’m sure I have many friends and family – people I love dearly – who won’t vote the same way as me. If we all had the same views the world would be a boring place and, when I’m not passionately outraged at a political situation, I can appreciate this.
When all is calm I know that it’s these differences which make us interesting. And when all is calm I know that your motivations for voting are the same as mine: you care about your family, your children’s future, your place in the world. You believe that you’re voting the right way, just as I believe that I’m voting the right way.
I can accept these differences and still hold love for anyone who doesn’t see the world the way I do (unless you’re Nigel Farage, Michael Gove or Boris Johnson – there really is no love here for you, sorry). But what I can’t accept is that this isn’t personal and it’s “just politics”.
It’s never “just politics”. Not when we’re talking about real people, real futures and real beliefs.
(P.S. Vote Remain. That is all.)
Excellent post. And yes, I will also be voting Remain!
It’s hard, though, Molly, you’re much more grown up than me!
It took me until well past the age of 30 until I could even contemplate being good friends with someone who voted the opposite way to me! These days, I have one or two chums who vote that way, but only because we agree never to talk about politics, education, public services, military action etc.
I’m still not sure I could be friends with someone if I found out they supported UKIP, for example, and I unfriend and unfollow anyone who shares their content, or Britain First or anything of that nature, on my social media. Politics is very personal, and I was 100% raised to believe your politics are an indicator of your values.
Rationally I know you’re right that people are all choosing to believe what they think is best for themselves and their children. I like to tell myself that if I meet Out voters I won’t judge them. But the reality is that, for me, you could only vote Out if you (1) haven’t REALLY researched or understood all the arguments which are overwhelmingly telling us that Brexit will be BAD for this country or (2) you do understand the arguments but you are still voting Out which, sorry, but then I can’t help but think it’s coming from an ideological place of wanting our small island back for ourselves i.e. you’re at best a xenophobe and at worst a racist.
So, really, I’m totally judging.
(I’m also totally panicking. It might happen, it really, really might happen.)
I haven’t joined in any debates or made a full on status on FB, the only place I have seen any divide.It’s only this week that I took note of those who are voting out, which is very few.I had at first decided to unfollow, not unfriend them but decided I’d wait it out until the weekend.It’s not only the result I fear but the fallout from the result. I can imagine that right now, that there is a network of people planning to cause riots across Britain’s cities.
Like you Molly, I will be voting remain today. What has got to me is the older generations (seen on the endless footage on the TV) thinking that youngsters haven’t thought this through. It’s extremely patronising. I think that the younger generations understand the global issues that we face and it’s better to be together.
Sarah Rooftops says
Well said! I don’t actually know anyone who’s voting leave but I remember heated debates with friends before the Scottish referendum – it was HUGE; it was about our futures and our children’s futures and we were all voting for the option we thought would best protect our loved ones; but only one person in my social circle felt the need to unfriend 50% of the people she knew on Facebook.