“It’s not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” ~ Henry David Thoreau
I’m sorry I’ve been missing this week. Just when I’d gotten into a proper posting schedule with themes and everything for the first time in four years, but I kind of got hit by a figurative whirlwind.
See, I got a little antsy on Facebook…
Now, I don’t know how much you’ll be aware of this if you’re reading from outside the UK, but we had a referendum last week about whether or not we were going to stay in the European Union.
The vote to Leave won by about a million votes but the country is broadly split down the middle on the question.
We haven’t left yet because for us to actually get out of the EU somebody has to invoke something called Article 50. Which almost nobody had head of until the day after the referendum.
We can’t do the Article 50 thing yet because the Prime Minister, David Cameron, really didn’t want to, so he resigned instead.
This hasn’t come as a massive surprise, as he said before he got elected that he was going to resign at some point between being elected and the election after that; however, the person we all expected to be the next Prime Minister, former London Mayor Boris Johnson, has now decided not to go for the job.
So now a bunch of other people, none of whom anybody particularly likes, are going to be squabbling over it for the next few months until the Conservative Party finally votes in a new leader at the beginning of September.
In the meantime the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, would happily have let Article 50 work its magic days ago, and is quite adamant that he has no plans to resign.
But his entire shadow cabinet resigned instead.
So, he replaced them, and a bunch of them promptly resigned as well.
Or at least I think they did. It’s becoming very difficult to keep up with who’s doing what in the shadow cabinet these days.
All of the resignees want Jeremy Corbyn to resign so that they can replace him with somebody, seemingly anybody, else. They held a vote of no confidence in which they all, unsurprisingly given the resignations thing, voted that they had no confidence in him.
In the midst of all this political turmoil the Westminster branch of the Scottish National Party – the Scottish National Party whose raison d’être is an independent Scotland which would no longer have any need to send MPs to Westminster – are suggesting that they should take over as the main opposition party as they’re all perfectly happy with their leader, and he has no plan to resign.
And it’s difficult not agree with them.
The SNP by the way are dead set against invoking the Article 50 as the Scottish people voted by a majority that we should remain in the European Union. If anyone ever gets round to doing anything with Article 50 they plan to hold their own referendum about whether Scotland should stay in the United Kingdom. After which they’ll probably decide to leave the rest of us to do whatever it is we eventually get around to doing.
For the time being it appears that the only person in a position of authority giving any attention to the day to day running of the country is the Govenor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney. Who seems to be the only person who had the foresight to recognise before the referendum that we might possibly need a plan for all the eventualities that could come after it.
Anyway. A lot of people who voted to leave the European Union did so because, for one reason or another, they were unhappy about the issue of immigration.
One reason for some – but not all – of those people was that they are nasty, racist thugs.
The problem with the nasty, racist thugs is that because they’re idiotic nasty, racist thugs they don’t realise that there are people with those other reasons for being unhappy about immigration. Or that there were some people who voted to leave the European Union for reasons that had nothing whatsoever to do with immigration.
So they’re labouring under the delusion that every single one of the seventeen million or so people who voted to leave the EU is in agreement with their nasty, racist thuggish ideas.
For some reason a lot of them also thought that if and when leave won the referendum all of the people from European Union countries who are currently living in this country would pack up and leave the very next day.
The particularly idiotically racist thugs amongst them also thought that anyone who was black, brown, or in possession of any other non-European flavour of foreign accent would be going with them.
When this didn’t happen they very quickly got angry.
And when they got angry they started taking it out on our foreign-born and minority communities.
Even the children in those communities.
By tea time last Friday – bearing in mind that the referendum was held last Thursday – I had seen dozens of incidents or racial and xenophobic abuse described on social media.
In the meantime, people on my Facebook were talking about how it was already time to move on from the result and start thinking positively about our future as a country.
Leaving aside that this just isn’t how humans work, nobody who cares in either camp could possibly be expected to have been able to process something this big over the course of their lunch break, and the fact that despite the referendum we’re still effectively in limbo as country because of all that Article 50 gubbins that I talked about earlier.
It’s just not possible to move on from a decision that has made you three hundred times more vulnerable to harassment and abuse in your community – the police have reported a 300% increase in reported hate crime since the referendum result was declared – whilst you are still being harassed or abused, or are still three hundred times more vulnerable to abuse on harassment.
So I got a bit angry.
I took screen shots of some of these stories and put them in an album called Worrying Signs on my Facebook profile with the tag line – “As these seem like incidents we should all be aware of I’ve made an album for them.”
I did this I think on Saturday. It ended up with 118 images in it. None of which I’d needed to go out of my way to find, they were just in my social media feeds.
I woke up the next morning to find that the album had gone viral and my Facebook messenger was filled with hundred of messages from people who had seen my album and wanted me to highlight their horrible experiences as well.
There were also people from the foreign-born and minority communities who just wanted to discuss their concerns with someone.
So, my friends Yasmin, Natasha, and I started a Facebook group. Also called Worrying Signs. I’d link you to it but I don’t want to attract trolls to come here and harass you guys. As a place where people could share their experiences, talk about their concerns, and find support from their peers.
This also went viral. Gained more than eighteen thousand members. And attracted global media attention.
Our little Facebook group turned into an official anti hate campaign that has become as good as a full time job for the three of us. A full-time job with incredibly long hours. Yesterday, when everyone else involved – we’ve also had to recruit about thirty group moderators – made me, was the first time I’d taken a day off in eight days.
And I’ve been crippled by a nasty back spasm for the last four days.
And spent most of the day before that in bed with a migraine.
And on Monday I had another round of blood tests that have resulted in my being referred to an immunologist.
So, erm, yeah. I’ve been kind of busy.
Too busy for blogging.
Today is another rest day. I really need it. I’m going to be back to working on the campaign tomorrow.
We’ve decided that from next week we’re going to stick to more sensible business hours.
So hopefully that’ll free up some time to go back to a proper posting schedule because I’m missing Make-Up and Mirtazapine already.
But, er, yeah, in case you were wondering, that’s where I’ve been.