You are not quite 18 months old, and as I write this letter you are sleeping in your room, after a battle to get you down because you wanted to keep shouting numbers at me. Today, on the 24th June 2016 the result came through that 52% of voters chose to leave the European Union. David Cameron, our Prime Minister has resigned, and a motion of no confidence in the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been tabled. The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has said she wants another referendum on Scottish Independence. One day you will study this at school, and I expect you will come home and ask us about it. I wanted to be able to tell you honestly what it felt like for us to live through today. This won’t be what it felt like across the country, as some people will be very happy today as they got the result they wanted. That isn’t how me and your Dad feel, and I wanted to be able to tell you about how we found out, and how we feel. When you do learn about this the dust will have settled. You’ll know if we even have a United Kingdom anymore, and the passage of time will likely mean I forget to tell you that when you woke up this morning and I picked you up out of your bed, that I cried.
You are a terrible sleeper Jonathan, but the last 3 nights in a row you have slept through. Your Dad and I were up at 4.30am in spite of this, worried about the result. Not long after, the BBC forecast that it was no longer possible for the Remain campaign to win, and that the vote would be for Britain to leave the European Union. We were in shock, and knew we wouldn’t sleep, so we got up and sat in front of the TV uncomprehending, angry, sad. I tried my best to sit on the floor and play with you as you piled up your alphabet blocks on my lap, but I couldn’t tear myself away from the news. We got you dressed, and your Dad went to work, worried about what this would mean for his company. I had the day off work today, and waited a bit to take you to nursery so I could watch the Prime Minster make a statement. He resigned. I thought about the options of people to replace him, and despaired a little bit more.
I’m sad for you that Nigel Farage will be in your history books. He claimed a victory for ‘decent’ people, I guess dismissing about half of the country as ‘indecent’. He claimed victory without a single bullet being fired, a week after the murder of Jo Cox, a left wing, pro Remain MP who was shot and stabbed on the day he unveiled a campaign poster frightening in its similarity to a piece of Nazi propaganda. This is why I cried this morning baby boy. When you’re old enough to read this letter, we’ll know how this massive gamble paid off. But today, you woke up in a world which wanted to blame and ostracize foreigners; which saw them as enemies, not as friends; which turned inward. I worry about who the next scapegoat will be when the EU isn’t there to blame anymore. I worry history will repeat itself as we face further recession and a rise in nationalism.
I hope that my fears are unfounded, and that if you ever read this letter you are able to roll your eyes and say ‘well that was an over-reaction hey Mum?’ but if not, I want you to know that we took you to the polling station on 23rd June 2016, and we voted thinking about you and your future, and today we got angry and worried, thinking about you and your future.
I’m sorry kid. We’ll keep on fighting the good fight.