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Referendums Highlight Divisions In Society (Or - There Are No More Fairytales Or Bedtime Stories To Tell)

Paalwoningen (or "Cube Flats") near Rotterdam Blaak Station

I think I can guess what you are thinking - Why am I looking at a photo of weird flats when you have told me this blog post is about the divisions in society which have been highlighted by the Brexit Referendum???

Allow me to explain (or attempt to explain).

This year I managed to psych myself up enough to actually set foot in the "Kijk Kubus" (or the show flat.  Although I am glad I did it I don't particularly wish to repeat the experience because of the steepness and narrowness of the staircases I had to go up and down in order to experience the flat for myself.

What I am trying to say is - they are still my favourite building in Rotterdam to look at but you could say I have been there, done that.  I would thoroughly recommend a walk around the "Kijk Kubus" if you can manage narrow and/or steep staircases.

Getting out of the flat and back down to ground level was the only time when I have felt discriminated against due to my sight in Rotterdam.

Chess board in Rotterdam Library (and - yes - I did see people play it)

If something good has come out of the Brexit Referendum as far as I am concerned - it is the fact we are being forced to look at our society and how divided it has become.

I could attempt to turn into some kind of "pseudo-Brainiac" and tell you that the photo of the chess board was supposed to be a metaphor for people in power playing different sections of society against each other.  However, that would be over-complicating things.

Whichever way you look at me I am an outsider when I am in Britain (I certainly feel like one).  For a start - I have never felt totally English or British even though I was born here and have lived here my entire life.

Compared to The Netherlands - where you cannot help being exposed to newspapers, magazines, and TV Stations from other countries - Britain seems to want to stick with English-centric media as much as possible.

I will give you an example.  I live in Leicester - where you find a high proportion of Asians living in certain areas.  I am used to realising that - if I walk around certain areas I will be in the minority because I am Western and white.  I can expect to hear Asian languages being spoken in the centre.  What I cannot expect to find (even if I was looking for one) is any kind of newspaper in an Asian language.

We have a large amount of Eastern Europeans in Leicester as well.  They have given us Polish shops, etc.  However, if I walk into a Newsagent I will have about as much success in finding a Polish newspaper as I will finding a Dutch one - none whatsoever.

I was split between my head and my heart when it came to voting in the Referendum - Head said "In" and Heart said "Out".  I went with my head.

However, I am just waiting for the EU to collapse.

The racism which has been brought to the surface of British Society as a result of the Referendum also needs to be tackled.  But I feel we need a proper "grown up" debate about it.

I read somewhere that "Political Correctness" enables people to communicate without causing great offence as a result.  In most cases that is true.  However, I am not sure that putting nice "acceptable" labels on the things we cannot say in public is a very good idea.

Personally I find it easier to discuss something when we both feel comfortable with the language used.  Only then can we start to change some of the ideas that people have about other people.

As well as needing a debate on the best way to get a Parliament which truly represents the people it is supposed to serve (I thnk we should have Electoral candidates which not only reflect the Political views of the Electorate - we should have candidates who reflect the human population of the constituencies themselves.  I would love to see more Disabled people in Parliament.) we also need a proper conversation about the benefits or otherwise of Immigration - as well as people's fears regarding Employment, etc.

Yes - you are correct - it does say "Brain Wash" - however - it is not somewhere where you go for Psychiatrict or Psychological evaluation or treatment.  It is the name of a chain of Dutch Hairdressers,

The second part of the title to this blog post is actually some lyrics to a song I have been listening to rather a lot recently.  "No More Fairytales" by City To City.  I am not going to quote the entire song (you can get the "The Road Ahead" album on Amazon - and listen to the song for yourself) but I am starting to realise that it is the most applicable song for these times.

I have heard too many arguments blaming different sections of the Referendum as well as different situations which people have found themselves in (regarding employment opportunities, etc).  I am also alarmed by people calling each other selfish as a result of their votes.

I saw something on Facebook which may put things into perspective.  The general message of it was - people have fought and died in World Wars so you can have the opportunity to vote (and some of them were young people with their futures in front of them).  So if you want to moan about how different people voted just be thankful they (and you) did have an opportunity to vote.

We have already had one person die as a consequence of this Referendum - we do not need any more people to lose their life as a result of it.

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