A lot has changed for us in the UK in the last three and a half weeks. As you may have heard, we had to vote on whether we wanted to remain the in EU (European Union) or leave. There was a lot of campaigning done from both sides – leave and remain. We had speeches, pamphlets delivered to our homes, discussions in almost every conversation, etc. For a few weeks, our lives were overshadowed by discussions on Brexit – it was being showcased as the most important decision we would collectively make in our lives.
Most polls in the initial stages predicted that we would vote to stay and nothing would change. However, as we came near the vote date, the estimates showed a close 50-50 chance for either side. The decision (by a narrow margin) as we all know was to leave the EU.
There have been varied reactions since the referendum results came out. Some leave voters say that they didn’t realize that this would be the result and if given a chance to vote again, may vote differently. Some people I know view the results favorably and others unfavorably – some have taken the news so adversely that they think it’s the worst thing that has happened to them.
For me, what happened after the referendum has actually been a very interesting turn of events. Our Prime Minister David Cameron – the face of the ‘remain’ campaign resigned. It was expected that Boris Johnson, the face of the ‘leave’ campaign would succeed him as the next prime minister once he becomes the leader of the Conservative (Tory) party. However, in an unexpected turn of events, Mr. Johnson said that he would not be standing in the race to become leader of the Tory party. This came as a shock to all of us; it wasn’t very clear why he took this decision – until his strongest supporter Michael Gove announced his decision to stand in the race for leader of the Tory party. It is said that once Mr. Johnson realized that his strongest supporter had decided to stand in the race himself, Mr. Johnson withdrew his application as he wasn’t sure anymore if he would win.
This incident brought out a very negative side of Mr. Gove and was termed in newspapers as treachery, stab in the back, etc. While it may be seen as a small political incident that probably happens all the time, its just not very pleasant especially in such a high profile position and that too by the people who we are meant to trust to run the country. I didn’t like it.
What happened next is that Michael Gove didn’t succeed in becoming the new Tory leader and Theresa May won instead. When she announced her new cabinet, Boris Johnson became the Foreign Secretary while Mr. Gove didn’t get a place. So we can say that the good person won in the end. However, I look back and think that these people are meant to inspire the youngster’s of today to become politicians tomorrow and run the country. How did those youngsters perceive this incident? What did they learn from it?
This is not a political blog – so why am I telling you all this? I am not about to elaborate on Boris Johnson or Michael Gove’s political career. What I wanted to tell you is that there was something in a similar vein that happened to me many years ago and that it had a big impact on me.
It happened when I was still studying in school. During our summer vacations, we used to have some extra classes to prepare us for some national level exams – to make sure that the school fared well. I had arranged a pick up group with some other friends and each day one of our parents would drive all of us to school. We weren’t the best of friends but it was more of an arrangement of convenience as we all lived close-by. I don’t know what happened but one of the days I was waiting at my usual collection point and they never arrived. I waited for what seemed like a long time, but maybe was an hour or so. I was puzzled as to what happened – this was before the time when everyone had mobile phones. I finally gave up waiting and made my way to school by public transport. They were already there.
I didn’t know what had happened but I still remember that it made me feel very bad. It made me feel that they didn’t respect me, that they had teamed up against me, that there was something lacking in me, maybe they didn’t want to be my friends – I guess more than anything else, they had hurt my self-respect and pride. I didn’t ask them for any explanations, didn’t know what had happened. I was much more of an introvert then, than I am now so just dealt with it internally and didn’t really say much.
The pick up group continued as usual from the next day. We didn’t talk about ‘that’ day. I didn’t say anything but I knew that something had changed in me. I didn’t trust these other girls anymore. I didn’t realize this then but that incident made me want to become self-dependent. It acted as a driver for years to follow. It made me driven to achieve my goals, to become someone, to get respect from people. To a certain extent, it also impacted my friendships – with those girls, and others. I did speak to one of the girls years later but by then we had all moved on and the explanation didn’t really matter.
I know that this isn’t a major incident. To be honest, much worse has happened to me since and people have acted in much sillier ways in life and at work. However, for some reason, it had a big impact on me, I still remember this and when I read about Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, it came back to me.
I know that the context of these incidents is totally different and that they are not comparable at all. However, what I want to highlight is that sometimes we act in certain ways without thinking about the impact of these actions on people. While we never really know who is impacted by what and to what extent, all we can do is be mindful of this and take all possible care to not negatively impact someone.
Daily prompt: Drive