An open letter: Marginalisation in academia

 

To whoever wants to understand,

I am so profoundly sad. As I write, I cry – the kind of tears that feel as though they will never end, the kind that are experienced in times of deep sadness – they are rare and I cry not just for me, but for everyone.

It is important that I tell my story.

It begins with the letter M:

Marginalised

I have always been marginalised.

I suppose in many ways this comes hand-in-hand with the territory. I am an out-spoken, quirky, mixed-race female with working class roots from a middle-class background. I come from a predominantly white area in Salford and have attended both private and state schools.

Due to my heritage I am connected with countries all over the world, from Jamaica to India, Britain to Canada to those native to Jamaica – the Arawak Indians. My roots spread from continent to continent; I am firmly grounded in an amalgam of complexity and it is safe to say that because of this my experiences vary immensely from my peers.

It is reasonable to say I am often the outsider or the other, in many ways, which stem from both a conscious and unconscious ignorance, I’ve been treated as such. We live in a society where difference is immediately associated with wrongness and because of this I have experienced marginalisation, prejudice and racism in its many-faced forms, all of which are cruel, vicious and ugly.

I have suffered at the hands of my peers and teachers alike. This was especially problematic the three years I attended private school and I was subjected to horrific torment and verbal abuse. It is these experiences that shaped some of my most important years and they will stay with me for the rest of my life. It is because of this I am aware of a deeply ingrained racism and elitism that is inherent within the world of education. I suppose that is what inspired me to write this article, a recent situation at university which – as unintentional as it may have been – left me feeling extremely uncomfortable.

One of the course texts Three Lives, written by Gertrude Stein, was abhorrently racist and I’m not talking about the kind of racism that is addressed constructively, or racism that establishes social and historical context, I’m talking down-right blatant racism with no reasonable justification.

The story told the lives of three women, two white and the other girl of mixed-race background, or “mulatto”. My mixed heritage made me immediately connect with this character – at what other point am I going to find a mixed-race woman represented on an English Literature course? 

Never.

I read the story only to be met with repugnant words that left me feeling bitter for days; the word “nigger” was used multiple times in both the dialogue and the narrative voice. When the time came for the lecture the novel was introduced as a “Negro” text, and it was at this moment that I felt there was something wrong. I felt that I was not a student studying in 2017 Britain but had in fact time-travelled back to the not-so-distant past, to a time when it was considered progressive to call black people Negroes, to a time when institutionalised racism was not considered racism at all.

The mixed-raced girl depicted, Melanthca, was ‘half white’ and had been ‘half made with real white blood’; this not only drew attention to the fact I was the only mixed-race woman in the room, but the only person of colour too.

When the tutor was questioned about the racism inherent within the novella he did indeed acknowledge the prejudice within the text, but argued that the use of innovative language overshadowed this, stating that it was acceptable because it was a highly original artistic endeavour.

I was shocked: artistic genius does not justify racism, not ever and certainly not now. It is the implementation of this age-old ideology that is so apparent in modern academia; it is both wrong and concerning. Academic institutions are a place where new ideas are supposed to flourish, yet in reality it is where outdated modes of thinking thrive.

Someone in the seminar asked the tutor if he thought it appropriate for a white, middle class woman to assume the experiences of a mixed-race working class female. The tutor replied that denying the re-writing of another’s experiences would be to deny the imagination; he wholeheartedly failed to recognise the implications behind this for someone like me.

It is clear he has spoken from a position of privilege and a position of ignorance, standing above all as a white middle class male and a university professor. It is this pedestal that blinkers not only his perception but many other academics.

It was an extremely alienating situation and for the first time in many years I became hyper-aware of my ethnicity. I was the elephant in the room, an imposter – why was I in a room full of white people, studying English literature at a highly-rated academic institution? It scares me that this is a question I felt necessary to ask.

My argument here is not that we do not study texts that include racist narratives and rhetoric; it is a part of history that we all need to embrace. Rather it is the way that these texts are embraced that needs to be considered. If we are to progress further and away from racist structures then they need to be dealt with sensitively; the racism should not be overlooked. If the texts are racist then it needs to be discussed sensitively, with an awareness of how it may makes “the other” feel. Whether people like it or not the nature of our ever-diversifying society means that more and more people like me will be accepted into academic institutions.

Awareness is necessary.

Change is necessary.

But change only occurs when we use our voices.

I want to reiterate: just because prejudice isn’t overt does not mean it doesn’t exist. It is subtle, it is hidden and it is discreet. But I cannot hide and nor will I. I do not want sympathy. I do not want pity. I want empathy. I want understanding. I want to be heard. I want change.

This article was originally posted on Aimie's blog; Digging With Duggan

Milo Yiannopolous Protest hijacked by ‘150 masked agitators’

Photo: Lizzie Roberts. Sproul Steps

Photo: Lizzie Roberts. Sproul Steps

On February 1, controversial alt-right speaker Milo Yiannopolous’ final stop of his book tour, at University of California, Berkeley (UCB), was cancelled due to violent protests.

Protestors gathered on Sproul Plaza at 5pm, outside the MLK Student Union building where Yiannopolous was due to speak at 8pm. A resistance dance party were playing live music, there were peaceful student protestors and onlookers, as well as anti-fascist protestors dressed in Black Bloc attire.

By 6pm the Black Bloc protestors began throwing rocks and firecrackers at the building, as well as tearing down barricades, in an attempt to prevent Yiannopolous from speaking.

At 6.15pm the UCB Twitter feed announced that Yiannopolous’ event was cancelled. They later released a statement confirming the UCPD cancelled the event for safety reasons.

Berkeley College Republicans, who had invited Yiannopolous to speak, posted this statement via their Facebook page, “Today, the Berkeley College Republicans’ constitutional right to free speech was silenced by criminals and thugs seeking to cancel Milo Yiannopoulos’ tour…It is tragic that the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement is also its final resting place.”

Despite the cancellation, the crowds did not disperse and the police fired rubber bullets from the balcony above and issued multiple dispersal orders.

The Black Bloc protestors proceeded to knock over a flood light outside the building and lit it on fire, this caught onto a nearby tree. The windows of the Amazon Student store were also smashed and covered in paint.

Photo: Lizzie Roberts. Smashed windows at the Amazon store.

Photo: Lizzie Roberts. Smashed windows at the Amazon store.

 The University have since released a statement that night blaming the violence on “150 masked agitators”.

“Agitators also attacked some members of the crowd who were rescued by police. UCPD reported no major injuries and about a half dozen minor injuries. Mutual aid officers from the city of Oakland and from Alameda County arrived at Berkeley around 7:45 p.m. to assist UCPD and Berkeley city police”, the statement said.

According to Patrick, a Junior, UCB medical students came to Sproul with medical gear to assist their fellow students.

Joe, a UCB J-School Grad student, saw multiple people being attacked by the Black Bloc protestors.

“The Protestors seemed to have no want for a peaceful protest. On four different occasions I picked people up off the ground and deterred violent aggressions. I even helped a young woman who was maced”, he said.

Many have criticised the protestors for shutting down the event, particularly in light of Berkeley’s long history with free speech.

Lisa, a UCB student, was holding a sign ‘UCB the home of Free Speech since 1964’. “I strongly oppose this talk that’s going on, its spreading racist propaganda”, she said.

When asked why she was holding that particular sign and did she believe the right of free speech applied to Milo she said, “not when its spreading hateful ideology and perpetuating violence”.

Ben, a 21-year-old UCB student, had purchased tickets to see Yiannopoulos. Watching the protest unfold, he explained, “He has a different viewpoint to what you normally see at Berkeley and I wanted to hear what he had to say. By reacting this way, the protestors are just giving him a platform on mainstream news”.

“Hypocrisy! That’s all I have to say”, Ben’s friend chimed in. “They all preach free speech and tolerance but look at this”, he continued.

When asked if he would pay to see Milo come back to Berkeley again, Ben said he would.

On January 26, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks released a statement supporting the decision to allow Yiannopolous  to speak on campus.

“While UC Berkeley does not endorse Yiannopoulos’ controversial views or tactics, the campus would continue to uphold the values of the Free Speech Movement by sanctioning Yiannopoulos’ presence and protecting his freedom of expression”, he said.

But this decision attracted vast controversy and condemnation, with 12 Faculty members writing a letter to Dirks requesting Yiannopolous’ invitation be rescinded.

The crowds on Sproul had calmed considerably by 7pm, but the atmosphere was still tense. After the crowd did not heed the dispersal orders, police in riot gear approached the northern entrance of Sproul at Sather Gate at 7.45pm.

Protestors then began marching out of campus, down Telegraph Ave and into Berkeley. Along the route they smashed ATMs outside the Bank of America, lit fires in waste bins and littered the streets.

Shallom said she was not proud to be a Berkeley student today, “Protestors haven’t acted with the love and acceptance that we preach. This isn’t the right way to react, violence wont defeat violence”.

The protestors were soon blocking the roads. At the Durant and Telegraph intersection, a white BMW tried to drive through crowd, but as it came out the other side someone was clinging onto the hood. Rather than stopping it continued at speed up Durant Ave.

Photo: Lizzie Roberts. Durant and Telegraph intersection

Photo: Lizzie Roberts. Durant and Telegraph intersection

The march split in two at this point, with some chasing the car up Durant and others heading towards Shattuck – the main shopping thoroughfare in Berkeley. Those who proceeded to Shattuck smashed windows, set flares off inside a bank and looted a Starbucks.

Around 200-300 protestors continued North towards University Ave and back onto campus, but were met by a line of police in riot gear, a line blocking the south entrance to Sproul was also formed. With their way obstructed the protestors turned back and eventually began to disperse. The protest ended by 10.30pm.

President Trump tweeted the following day threatening to withhold federal funds from UC Berkeley for failing to practice free speech.

Yet, the co-director of The Civil Rights Project at UCLA, Gary Orfield, has stated that the executive branch does not have the authority to do so. President Trump can withhold federal funding from public institutions if they violate civil rights – as Obama threatened in May 2016 over transgender student rights – but this rule does not apply to free speech.

“This was necessary”, UCB student Riley told me, “Hate speech is not the same as free speech, this wouldn’t have happened if they had just shut him down in the first place.”

“From day one of Trump’s inauguration people have marched and protested like this. It’s going to remain tense over the next four years, but we need things like this, we need to continue struggling for what we believe in”, Patrick added.

 

** Some names have been changed at individuals requests to protect identities. **

 

Two weeks in Trump’s America

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Pier 39 – San Francisco

Dario, a native Brazilian, was the first person I met when I landed in the United States two weeks ago. “I have been learning English for 1 month and been living in America for 4 months” he told me, as he drove me from SFO airport, through Oakland and up to Berkeley, where I will be studying for the next 6 months. We exchanged some broken English and I learnt about his 15-year-old son who recently enrolled in High School.

The second friendly face I met was my house mate, Manisha, Indian born, she emigrated with her family here 20 years ago. After graduating a year early from college she is now working hard at a San Francisco start-up. I often hear her on the phone to her parents switching between English and her native language with ease.

Ali, a local coffee shop owner, welcomed me with a beaming smile and a handshake when I bought a coffee before my first class on the following Monday. “I don’t know what is happening with Mr Trump, it’s concerning” he said, as he asked me about my studies, Brexit and told me I was always welcome in his café.

In the introduction meetings for other visiting student researchers I met people from all over the globe, Iran, Turkey, Germany, the Philippines and the Netherlands – to name just a few. We conversed in speculation about what Trump will do in his presidency, but felt assured that as we had arrived before the inauguration, we had lucked out.

I watched the inauguration on my first Friday in the US, I winced at Trump’s hypocritical message and wondered how long it took his speech writer to plagiarise lines from Avatar, Bane and Bee Movie. But I still held onto some level of optimism that he wouldn’t be able to do anything that disastrous – at least not right away.

I had always planned on attending the San Francisco Women’s March on the Saturday. Not necessarily to join in with the chants and voice my grievances, but I could tell it was going to be historic and I wanted to be a part of it.

The 15-minute queue just to get out of the Bart station confirmed my suspicions and by 5.30pm I was marching down the road, in the pouring rain, with 100,000 women, men and children. The various signs demonstrated the diverse reasons why people were there; reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, equal pay, immigrants’ rights.

Women's march San Francisco 21/1/2017

Women’s march San Francisco 21/1/2017

With over 2 million people marching in the US alone, I don’t think anyone went to sleep that night without feeling emboldened that there was a strong force against what Trump stood for and planned to initiate.

Yet, that feeling of optimism and unity took a knock the following Monday, when Trump signed an executive order to block federal funds being used to “provide or promote abortions”.

The five days following that first executive order have been tumultuous. Protests have taken place nearly every day, particularly in neighbouring Oakland, and everyone you speak to has no idea what’s coming next.

When the news broke on Friday that Trump’s latest executive order, banning all refugees for 120 days and immigrants from 7 Muslim majority countries for 90 days, had come into effect my mind immediately turned to the people I met when I first arrived.

Though they are all citizens, Trumps actions are surely enough to make any non-Anglo-Saxon feel unwelcome or uneasy.

America is a nation of immigrants and the often used term “melting pot” couldn’t be more accurate. According to Pew research, today 14% of Americans are foreign born, compared to 5% in 1965, in the last 50 years 59 million immigrants have arrived here and by 2055 the US will not have a single racial or ethnic majority.

When you’re in a country surrounded by people from all ethnicities, nationalities and creeds, it boggles the mind to see what Trump is doing. Despite his election win suggesting the majority of Americans would agree on his immigration stance, 57% say “having an increasing number of people of many different races, ethnic groups and nationalities makes the United States a better place to live”.

On Saturday I received an emergency email from UC Berkeley’s International Office. “For the near future, Berkeley International Office recommends minimizing international travel due to the changing nature of the new administration’s policies on visas and U.S. entry.” Signalling this could only be the beginning of what’s to come.

Over drinks with some fellow international students we discussed the email and what the next six months could have instore for us as visiting immigrants. One student from Turkey said, “At least he’s honest. At least we know what his game is.”

As a journalism student I can’t help but feel a pang of excitement for what I am witnessing and the opportunities before me. But as a human being, I am also scared and anxious for those who have already begun to feel the effects Trump’s Presidency.

The New Levellers

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Let down, battered and bruised. That seems to be the general feeling amongst swathes of the younger British population when you question the current political climate. One built on fallacies, point scoring and a lack of cooperation. More generally, many people seem to feel alienated and excluded by British politics.

To a large degree, these feelings have been exacerbated, catalysed and felt more deeply in the run up to, and result of, the EU referendum. For many this was a protest vote, many they didn’t vote because they felt a disconnect of mistruths and a lack of belief in the politicians.

Whether you were an “innie” or an “outie” this campain demonstrated the deeper lying issues that run through British politics, particularly for the younger generation – a lack of care, a lack of voice and a lack of representation.

The New Levellers seeks to put an end to all this and offer a voice. A voice of hope, of reason and most importantly of cooperation.

At The New Levellers we believe in solutions, not problems. We want to see an engaged youth which will lead the next generation of this country. The two founders of this project, Nick Treloar and Sam Edgar are recent graduates in politics and international relations from Lancaster university and both 21 years old.

We don’t claim to know everything about politics and have the magic cure, far from it. Neither do we claim to be the next leaders of the country. What we want and we believe in is a fresh start and a renewed voice of passion, strength and togetherness, particularly for the younger generation.

Aims and Projects

This project aims to incentivise and encourage participation. We want as many people as possible to engage with us, write to us or for us, to contact us with their ideas and solutions and together we can come together and begin to change the current landscape.

We also want to harness the potential that is already there. It is no secret that there are thousands of politically active people online, who post and share their thoughts regularly. What we need to do is translate this into articles and action.

In the long run, with enough support we hope to influence government policy and put our voice back on the map. As such, we want to engage will all parties, groups, institutions, no matter the beliefs.

The first stage in our process is to ask as many of you as possible to fill out our questionnaire so that we can begin to build a consensus on feeling. The next step will to be to put the findings into action, developing research and building a voice for the issues that we collectively see as under represented and often neglected.

We hope to see as many faces as possible and are excited for the next generation to come through.

Get involved

Website

Questionnaire

Facebook

Twitter 

The true cost of a Brexit victory

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Flickr/Ben Chapman

Just over a week ago Britain chose to leave the European Union and the shockwaves are still being felt. Since the vote, the (so-called) experts’ warnings of economic disaster have begun the transition from ‘project fear’, as it was so nonchalantly dismissed by the Leave campaign, to ‘project fact’. The value of the pound has fallen dramatically, billions have been wiped off the FTSE 100 and economic growth forecasts have been revised down- with some economists predicting that a recession is imminent.

The economic chaos is rivalled only by what is happening inside Westminster. The Prime Minister has resigned and has plunged the Conservative party into a power struggle worthy of Game of Thrones. Meanwhile, there is no opposition to fill the void as Labour MPs attempt a botched version of the Red Wedding in a battle for the soul of the party. All this at a time when strong leadership is vital to reassure not only the markets but the people of the country who face an uncertain future.

Amidst all of the chaos, it would be easy to forget what a significant victory this was for the Leave campaign. They defeated the combined strength of the UK’s major political parties, the Governor of the Bank of England, most economists, all of Britain’s allies… the list goes on. But at what cost have Leave secured this victory?

Immigration, Immigration, Immigration

Do not be fooled by the suggestion that the Leave campaign convinced 17 million people on the nuanced issue of sovereignty. While Leave’s slogan was ‘take back control’, it was combined with inflammatory rhetoric about immigration which meant its meaning transformed into something altogether more sinister. Immigration won the referendum for the Brexiters.

Remain simply could not stand against the fear created by the fanciful threat of millions of Turks coming to take the jobs of those who already feel left behind in a globalised world. Nor could it stand against Nigel Farage’s Nazi-esque propaganda which disingenuously used the plight of millions of refugees in order to secure just a few more votes, to inject just a bit more fear. The Leave campaign exploited their one trump card with surgical precision.

Yes, there are legitimate concerns regarding immigration, but it would be delusional to think that this campaign has helped moved that debate forward in any way. The opposite is in fact true. Brexit politicians have exploited the concerns and vulnerability felt by so many in a bid to secure victory.

I won’t bore you by telling you that the vast majority of Leave voters are decent people, that much should be obvious, but the tone of the Leave campaign has emboldened the indecent. Since the result was announced, there has been a fivefold increase in the number of racist hate crimes reported. Rhetoric does not exist in a vacuum and it does have consequences.

These consequences will be long felt as the fabrications of the Leave politicians become apparent. Even before the body of the Remain campaign was cold, Leavers began to row back on their promises as harsh economic reality permeated their bluster. Ian Duncan Smith described the claims made by the campaign as just a ‘series of possibilities’, while Tory MEP David Hannan admitted that free movement of people will not necessarily end post Brexit.

One can only imagine the furious backlash that any deal involving free movement would inspire from those who equated a vote for Brexit with a vote to end immigration. Many of these people are already angry at an establishment which they view as out of touch and this would inflame these tensions even more. Even if controls on free movement are secured, the economic consequences of such a deal will largely be felt by the very same people. Once they realise they have been sold a lie, their anger will not dissipate and it could manifest itself in the form of riots, hate crime and support for the far right.

The Leave campaign has unleashed forces beyond its control and they do not have a plan to tame them. Their campaign told the British public that they could enjoy all the benefits of the European Union without free movement if they just took a leap of faith; well now Britain is in freefall and there is no soft landing in sight. When the UK hits the bottom, it is likely that irreparable damage will have been inflicted on both its economy and society.

 

Brexit is a vote against the future generation

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Flickr /Tuncay

Today the news broke that Britain has voted to leave the European Union, and I’m not ashamed to admit that this news made upset me. Actually, I experienced a range of emotions: anger, devastation, fury, sadness, desolation. Surely it is an odd thing that this would have had such a personal impact on me? I’m not an EU immigrant and my status in this country is not immediately under threat, so why do I feel as if my world is crumbling down around me?

Let me tell you why. For me, this is personal. It is about the future of the United Kingdom, but it is also about me. One person among the multitudes. Brexit hurt me because well, my entire life has been a struggle. I have had the garden variety problems which face young adults: bullying, parental separation, mental health issues and more family problems than one person should ever have to deal with. Despite this fractured upbringing, I went to a Top Ten University (Lancaster) for my undergraduate degree and I achieved a First in History. I have now gone on to study for my Masters at the University of Durham – a decision which has been incredibly hard and, at times, not worth the money and energy I have put into it.

But what does this have to do with the European Union? They could not prevent my family issues, and they sure as hell wouldn’t be able to fix the administration at Durham, so why am I so upset?

It’s quite simple actually. The European Union offered me a future. It offered me a way out. The recent governments of this country have targeted Higher Education and turned it into a scheme to make money. If you can’t make a profit out of it, it’s not worth keeping. I truly believe, rightly or wrongly, that this idea underpins the educational reforms of the Conservative governments. They don’t care that I will never be able to pay back my student loans, and it baffles me that they think education is something which should have to be paid for. Despite what rhetoric they use, it feels as if they are attempting to price-out low income families such as mine to prevent them from gaining an education.

They didn’t. I beat the odds and I am about to gain my MA qualification, which I think most people would agree is quite an achievement. But again, what does this have to do with the EU? Well, that has to do with my career choice. I want to be a lecturer in Modern History. To do this, I need a PhD in either History or a related subject. A PhD costs money. The tuition fees vary from different institutions (roughly starting from around £4,000 per year), and those plus the cost of living would be the biggest drain on my personal finances. It is not a financially viable plan for me in my current situation.

The EU could have helped me out. They have various means of funding PhDs across the UK and the rest of Europe. I could have studied in Germany, Paris, Amsterdam or Vienna. I could have participated in funding projects and schemes that would have allowed me to gain my PhD either at home or abroad.

But, we have left the EU. That funding no longer exists. As hard as it was to start with, as in gaining a funded PhD from a reputable institution with supervisors who could help me attempt my PhD thesis, the Brexit vote has just made it so much harder for me. I am a woman from a low-income family. I already feel as though the deck is stacked against me, as I see wealthy people able to go on to MA or PhD with their parents support. And before someone points out the obvious, I do have a job; part-time to allow me to carry out the research necessary for my MA dissertation. Attempting to take on a full-time PhD and a full-time job would be both unreasonable and impossible. My choices are therefore limited.

If I face facts, leaving the EU could just be another hurdle for me to overcome. And maybe I will. But the main reason that I am so upset about leaving is because I’m tired. I’m tired of living in a country who thinks that anyone under 25 is a second class citizen.

This government has brought in discriminative legislation based on age which boils down to the fact that they think that we are worth less than those over 25. Due to the cuts to housing benefit, and the housing crisis, I have to accept the fact that I will never be able to own my own house because we will either be in a post-Brexit recession or because of cuts to Higher Education, I will never get my dream job to pay for a house.

I have always wanted to be an intellectual. I love to learn. I love progressive values, tolerance and peace. But I wake up today in a country that, I feel, has discarded those values in exchange for xenophobia, islander mentality and an inability to see the consequences of Brexit for my generation.

Recent polling suggests that around 75% of people aged 18-24 wanted to remain in the EU. The older generations didn’t listen, and now my future, our future is uncertain.

Democracy has had the last word

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Flickr/Fe Ilya

On June 24 the World was awaiting the results of the nail-biting EU Referendum Election. The previous day, 72.2% of the British public voted on whether to leave or remain in the European Union.

I watched with bated breath as David Dimbleby announced the earth shattering result, 51.9% of our nation had voted to leave the EU. Time stopped. It wasn’t soon after, that the financial markets were torpedoed by the ‘Leave’ victory, consequentially the value of the British pound plummeted, the lowest it has been since 1985.

Inevitably democracy has spoken, but the question on everyone’s lips is ‘what now?’. For those 48.1% of us who voted to remain, we have a lot more to fear from the unknown. It is justifiable to say that the Referendum has marked a watershed moment in our history.

There has been a seismic shift in British politics, with the majority of London voting to remain in, compared to the rest of the country (excluding Scotland and Northern Ireland). It is with despair that I say that we are now a country with ever gaping cracks.

London is now seen with even more suspicion as it voted with a majority, for economic stability. We can no longer disengage from the fact that there is a concerning disconnect between the South, namely London and the rest of the country. There are those who criticise, that those living and working in the Capital, know nothing of the hardships of austerity, especially when compared to their working class counterparts in the North. Yet it is also true to say that London has been a City which has accepted the influx of immigrants and enjoyed all its boons.

Not soon after the results were declared Nigel Farage declared a ‘war’ on immigration, calling for June 23 to be renamed ‘Independence Day’, a victory for real and ordinary people. He said, and I quote, “today honesty, decency and belief in nation…is going to win”. So what about the other 48.1% Nigel? What about all those people who will inevitably lose their jobs because we have an economy that will undoubtedly shrink? What about the younger generation who trusted overwhelmingly that remaining was the best prospect for their future, one which now looks set to be bleak and gloomy.

Our decision to become part of the European Union was in part to heal the rifts and divisions born out of war. The EU was more than a mere organisation, more than a single market, it was symbol of peace. A symbol to show the world that we could move beyond centuries of division and work our differences out together, for the collective interest of all involved. It is sad, that instead of choosing the path of tolerance, we have now decided to turn our backs on our neighbours who once were our enemies.

Democracy may have spoken, but David Cameron still resigned. Yes, it may be three months from now, but given the current turn of events, we now have an even bigger problem on our hands. I shudder to think that we have given men like Boris Johnson a mandate to run our country. I am no lover of the Tories, but it seems like for many, a vote for ‘Leave’ was a vote against the establishment, and it has gone horribly awry.

This is not a moment to make prophecies about the future, though I have indulged myself in a few, however it is a cause for concern that as we head into the next few months and possibly years, we face an existential crisis, what is our place in society? With a nation divided down the middle, and with a likely second Scottish Referendum (possibly Northern Ireland too), on the table, we head into a dark future with disturbing possibilities.