One sleepy morning last year, while shaving I looked in the mirror. I usually look in the mirror when shaving but this time was different. I didn’t recognise the face I was looking at; not at first anyway. The face staring back at me in surprise was a much older version of myself. What’s happened to me?
Of course it was my realface, not the one I remembered from years before. I was not in the habit of looking at my whole face in the mirror, just the bits I was shaving before I hurried out to work. This was different, a revellation. I was not the person I thoiught I was. This was what other people saw when the looked into my face, and I had no idea.
This sudden reflection on who we really are is a good thing – usually. It makes us stop and consider what’s really going on rather that the rosy assumptions we had held. In a way the Brexit campaign and the referendum has been like looking into that magic mirror that shows us who we really are.
We have long applauded ourselves for being a tolerant, welcoming people. We are reasonable, logical and honourable. Unlike some other, hot bloded, excitable or even devious peoples we are the good guys.
Well the Brexit campaign opened my eyes. What I saw was a campaign of lies and deception, welcomed by many who wanted to punish an uncaring Tory government and by many who harboured racist views. I saw a referendum promised as part of a srategy to hold the Tories together being allowed to tear the nation apart in the cause of a power struggle in the Tory party.
They are to blame. The whole box and dice of them. But they were able to do it because we are not the people we thought we were. Boris, Brutus (sorry, I meant Gove) and co. knew that. They played on the weaknesses of our character to achieve their aim and thirst for power.
They are to blame but we are at fault. We are not the nice people we thought we were.