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When choice is more than a slogan

By Lucie Robson
I have been in Britain for the last few days to deal with some personal business that was signed and sealed months before the Brexit week was announced by UK leader David Cameron back in February.

I’m happy with this coincidence as for the first time in ages I have been concerned about the political situation in the UK and was interested in being on the ground to pick up the mood of my fellow voters ahead of the June 23 vote.

By now, the outcome of the plebiscite is known, but the mood ‘on the ground’ was even less clear than in Cyprus where British ex-pats I spoke to in recent months had firm views either in support of or against Brexit.

Friends and family who were sure they would vote to remain in the European Union found themselves getting cold feet about doing so.

The same applied for those who were adamant that they would vote to leave. It’s not difficult to understand this state of affairs.

If you knew where to look, you had half a chance of getting some fairly rounded coverage on the advantages of either staying or going (which ranged from the benefits of the peace that has prevailed in Europe since WWII and improvement in local cuisine that firm European links brought to having what has been viewed as more sovereignty) but in a world where sound bites rule the roost the ‘campaign’ was reduced to a slew of snappy-sounding phrases that insulted even the thickest person’s intelligence.

Many of my circle admitted to me they had no trust for the involved politicians and were waiting for someone to come out with something sensible. Possibly somebody did and it struggled to float in a sea of agenda-driven propaganda.

But while the popular campaign has, in my view, been rushed, cheaply emotive and disappointing (although I don’t know what I was expecting not having experienced a referendum on EU membership before), the memorabilia was interesting.

I happened to be in a part of the country where the position was for leaving the EU so practically every shop window was emblazoned with a sticker that said something to this effect, pubs had bespoke coasters challenging all EU-related institutions, restaurants produced in-house magazines that had nothing good to say about the EU and more than a few bods sported Brexit T-shirts. All of these trappings dwarfed even those which supported England’s participation in the European football championships.

I’ve picked up samples of all of the above and more. Who knows, maybe they’ll be worth something one day.

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