Sunday, 26 June 2016


Hannah Emily Lane

I feel alienated.

The last couple of days have been awful. On Thursday night I couldn't sleep, I had BBC1 on and I watched the results come in. The anxiety was overwhelming as the future of my country was being decided.

I fell asleep for half an hour with the TV and woke to Tom shaking me saying "We've left". There was no clawing back now and that Leave had the majority of votes. And I started shaking.

I've not spent more than 3 weeks in England for the last 10 months and next week I move back to a country that will never be the one I left. It's now divided. Not just from the EU, but in itself. The generational gap is now so very pronounced and I feel completely alienated. Seeing some of the reasons people voted to leave is like a stab in the heart. I understand there are valid reasons, I do, and of course it is everyone's democratic right to vote how they wish, but when I see people vote because they want Cameron out, because there's too many foreigners, because it's a protest vote, because they didn't think we would actually leave, and I am embarrassed. 

On Friday I spent the day with German colleagues asking me why we left. I couldn't answer them. They think we are stupid, that we have voted for a fantasy world that doesn't exist, they are almost laughing at us. And I couldn't defend my country. 

Never in my life have I hoped more that I am wrong, that me, my generation, and so many experts are wrong. That this will work out OK in the end. But right now, I'm finding it so hard to be optimistic. All I can see is things that we have lost. 

The scariest thing though is uncertainty. I don't know anymore if the plan I had for my future is feasible. I don't know what's going to happen to the government of our country. I don't know what sort of deal we will have with the EU and how this will affect us. Nobody knows what's going to happen and that is scary. 

This whole campaign, from what I have seen, has been dire. It has not engaged young people enough and it has been founded on lies and scaremongering. The Leave battle bus had a lie plastered on the side of it right up until the end. I fear people have been utterly brainwashed and I have already heard of people regretting their votes.

But we are a democratic country. Regardless of the campaigns, the vote was cast fair and square, and regardless of how narrow it was, the leave party had a majority. That has to be respected and we are now just going to have to get on with things. 

The UK has changed forever. It is not the country I left when I got on a plane 10 months ago to move to a European country, an opportunity that people younger than me might now not get. I feel devastated. 

Hannah Lane

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