The United Kingdom woke up on, or remained awake until, the morning of 24 June 2016 to find the vote had gone in favour of Brexit. Some say this is the end of Project Fear; whatever that was because I never heard the project manager interviewed! The BBC announced it as a “decisive vote”, even though only 3.8% separated Leave and Remain. Perhaps they were swayed by the majority in numerical terms being 1.2 million! Yes it is a big number, yet so was the 33.5 million who turned out to vote.
A decisive switch has been flicked from In to Out on the UK governance dashboard. As a consequence, a torrent of indecision as to when this ‘switching effect’ will come into force is bubbling out onto our radios and TV. It is as if the UK [and the EU] is at the award ceremony of the Eurovision Time Warp competition. You can hear the announcer:
“And the winner of the competition is Leave!” [cue applause, booing etc; to be equal and democratic.] and then they go on to announce:
“… and the date that this switch will fully throw over to Leave is ……..” [cue silence of bated breathe, and howls of derision – we want it now!].
So in true theatrical tradition, the UK will need to change its costume for its next appearance on the Euro stage. This is where the advocates for quick change are beginning to realise that this costume change has many intricate loops, bows, buttons and fabrics to navigate. The added complication is that the UK has been wearing its Remain costume for so long, relative to the age of voters, that it can’t be sure what Wardrobe supplied it with in the first place. And in any case with the residue of policy ‘dribbles’ spattered down its front, the Remain costume is probably unrecognisable from when it was first new.
This creates an even deeper challenge. Even when the UK has got its Leave costume on, who will recognise the change? Will the UK voters be able to recognise the costume change from Remain to Leave? Will the new Leave costume look a lot like the existing Remain costume – potentially leading to more cries of derision? Even if the Leave costume is bright and perfect, will we the voters know this to be the case?
So much uncertainty created by one act of certainty! With uncertainty comes fear. It’s almost as if Project Fear had a costume and is determined to keep it on! If we persistently live with Fear as our guiding influence, then In or Out of the EU won’t make a difference. Businesses, projects, economies and societies will still fail. It’s to be hoped this isn’t what faces the UK in another 40 years.
The most useful thing the UK can do now, for itself, the EU and the world, is to commence Project Cheer! Cheer not Fear has a good ring to it. J.R.R. Tolkien said:
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
So I went to find a song that could engage the cheer in us, and help us to be more merry about our place in the world. From the last 25 years of Eurovision song winners, none had the word ‘cheer’ in the title. Looking further afield I found: “Grateful – a love song to the world”
So let’s give Cheer to the world. When we’re Grateful for where we are, we notice so much more, we become so much more. There is no In or Out when you have a butterfly on your finger [it’s in the video!]. You become grateful that you are available to each other. The butterfly loves the heat from your finger. What you will love I don’t know; write it down, so you can share it as “my butterfly moment”. I’d be very very surprised if you felt hate, anger or sadness! If you do, well share that too, it might help you.
So next time you get an email pouring its heart out to you at how angry and sad things are, send them a link to this blog in reply. Ask them to watch the Grateful video. Ask them to share with you how much they felt we could achieve together in this world if we were appreciative and grateful for each other’s company!
The antidote to fear is cheer.