Happy Independence Day America ! Have fun.
For my European friends, what do you think of the idea of us celebrating an Inter-dependence Day? This would be a holiday where we remember that the best way to solve the world’s problems is to work together with other countries and cultures rather than try to do it all by ourselves.
When I started this Blog a year and a half ago I intended it to be specifically focussed on travel and the outdoors. I didn’t want to dilute it with general ramblings and thoughts about stuff. This post will be a slight departure, but not completely divorced from my main themes. Any political movement to being more independent and isolationist can’t be good for people who love travelling, living and working with other cultures. Maybe it's a tenuous link, but I’m giving myself permission to have a political blog post this time.
It's 10 days on from the UK Referendum where 52% of those who participated decided to vote for us to leave the EU. I woke up with a bit of a hangover that day and then I turned on the news. The result was a shock for a lot of people. Most people I had spoken to thought it would be close but with the opposite result. Since then the country has been in turmoil with the government in disarray, the pound crashing to its lowest point in 30 years, a rise in hate crime and a lot of denial and anger going around.
My own anger has been about us even having a Referendum in the first place. When the leaders of all of the main political parties and most economists wanted us to Remain, surely that should have been enough. These are people who job it is to decide how best to run the country. The matter of whether the European Union is good for us or not is not something to leave to the average man or woman in the street. Many people on either side of the debate didn’t know what it was they were voting for.
It probably won’t be the complete disaster that a lot of people are fearing. The politicians, economists and business leaders will do their thing and get us to a “new normal”. We’ll put a lot of time, energy and money into the problem and after a few years we’ll have something else to talk about.
The trouble is, all of that time, energy and money will be put into getting us back to a position close to where we were a couple of weeks ago. In the meantime we won’t be focusing enough on solving the real issues such as education, health, crime and the environment. Remember when we used to talk about them?
So, back to my tenuous link to travel. One of the reasons that I love adventures is that it's a journey into the unknown. A chance to solve problems and learn things along the way. We’ve just embarked on a major political and economic adventure. There’s lots to solve and learn, but I’m not convinced that the destination is where we want to end up. Maybe the thing we’ll learn is that our problems were not the fault of “all of those immigrants” and we’ve got more to gain by working together. Then we can celebrate Interdependence Day.
Happy Independence Day, America! Tomorrow, once you’ve finished celebrating, remember that you also have a big vote coming up later this year. Might be worth thinking through the consequences before going to the polling booths ....