We are where we are. So what now? Hopefully this collection of wise words, sensible advice and wild inspiration will help you carve out your future
1. Stand up to post-referendum racism
The week after the referendum saw a 42 per cent increase in hate crime across the UK, according to The Guardian. Greater Manchester Police’s Ian Pilling explains how to help collar the scumbags.
If you’re a victim of hate crime, report it
“We suspect that the majority of hate crimes go unreported, so it’s vital that people tell us what’s happened to them.”
If you witness hate crime, report it
“Many people will be feeling anxious right now, as a result of the perception that a small number of people are using recent events to give ill-judged legitimacy to their hate-filled views. We urge anyone who experiences this behaviour to report it.”
Don’t just put footage of hate crimes on social media – report it
“I’d urge anyone with mobile footage of suspected hate crimes to report it to the police, rather than just share it on social media platforms. Unless police officers are made aware they cannot catch offenders.”
The easiest ways to report hate crimes
Call the police on 101
– Use the True Vision website: report-it.org.uk
– Contact independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111
– If it’s an emergency, dial 999
2. Trust your generation
Says Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh
“The only advice I could give is not to listen to anyone over 20, and that includes myself. It’s the over-20s who need to listen to youth and be inspired by them. I believe that the over-40s have failed and f**ked up the world, and the 20-39s have been driven to compliant servility by debt culture and a state brainwashing education and media system. Teenagers, who can educate themselves and who have no investment in a society that offers them nothing, are ones to watch, listen to and learn from. But for f**k’s sake, don’t take my advice. I don’t know. YOU ARE THE ONES WHO KNOW.”
3. Keep on fighting for what you believe
On July 7, Have I Got News For You team captain and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop said this on Question Time, after audience members said it was time for Britain to “crack on” with Brexit rather than opposing the referendum result.
“After an election or a referendum, even if you lose the vote, you are entitled to go on making the argument. When a government in this country wins an election, the opposition does not just say, ‘Oh that’s absolutely right, I’ve got nothing to say for five years.’ So for those of us who were trying fairly hard in the last weeks to follow what on earth is happening in this country, the Leave vote has left us with a group of leaders who – having lit the fire – have all run away saying someone else can clear up the mess. The Prime Minister, who put us in the mess, has resigned. Everybody is gone. All the people that put their cross down for Leave saying, ‘This is what we want,’ they seem to be getting a group of people who say, ‘We can’t stop immigration, we can’t give £350m and, um, by the way, there might be quite a lot of austerity – sorry, bye!’”
4. Join a political party
Grime star and former Young Deputy Mayor of Lewisham, Novelist, recently joined Labour. He told Complex why people need to get into politics
“Whether you’re grime, football, whatever – state your opinion. Everyone is allowed to have an opinion. People will say that you’re jumping on the bandwagon when it comes to politics. But with politics, there is no bandwagon! We’re all living it.
“I’ve always been politically aware. Someone was saying to me on Twitter the other day, ‘You’ve watched one [UK rapper] Akala interview and now you think you’re politically active!’ I will duppy you now, fam! I do know what’s going on. And Akala makes a fair point – but do you think one musician alone should be doing that? No. Talk more. Don’t stop talking!
“Nothing’s gonna change unless you make it change. I’ll give you an example:at school, there’s always that one dickhead knocking about, and there’s always one younger that knocks them out. So, stand up for yourself. Don’t be afraid to change things. Don’t think nothing’s gonna change just because you’ve had it drilled into you that it might not. How are you supposed to defend yourself if you don’t know what’s happening? It’s not something that’s taught in the education system in the UK. Trying to get people to engage is key. It’s difficult, and I wish more people were on this way of thinking.”
5. Tell your MP what you think
Mhairi Black, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, encourages us
“All politics, not just referendums and elections, have a huge impact on your day-to-day life and we must all engage and be active all the time. The best part of my job is corresponding with constituents of all ages, and I would enjoy it if more got in touch.
“You can speak to your MP about any policy you like. I think it’s important to mention that there are some things MPs are not best placed to deal with. For example, given that I represent a Scottish constituency, I have no control over devolved issues such as the NHS, or education, so their MSP would be best placed to assist them with issues like that. Also, so many of the things that affect people most directly are dealt with by their local councils, and their councillors are best placed to deal with those issues.
“It is crucial that people contact their MPs. I know that whenever I go to a vote, I always consider the messages I receive from constituents and they play the largest part in my decision, and I’m sure their own MP will feel the same.”
6. Stay optimistic whatever your position
Insists Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Channel 4 News & Unreported World journalist
“Time is a great healer. And so is necessity. Most of us don’t have the luxury of time to sulk or celebrate, whichever side you were on. We’ve just got to get on with it. If you fell out with friends or family, you will hopefully find more that unites than divides you in the end. The anger many felt after the result is already fading. And all sorts of things can happen yet. We don’t know what kind of Brexit deal will be done, or whether free movement will effectively be preserved in exchange for free access to the single market. And if you’re furious with your parents for voting the opposite to you, just don’t bring it up for a while.
“There are always reasons to be optimistic about the future. Even if you’re devastated Britain has chosen to leave the EU, there will still be loads of opportunities for you to travel, study and work in the EU, just as there were before we joined. If you find the direction of politics depressing, it’s up to you to change it. If you find the dominant attitudes towards immigration something you disagree with, then that’s what politics and being a citizen are all about. If you were pro-leave, it’s up to you to make real what you believed before the referendum. We are, regardless of the EU, a country of culture, knowledge, innovation – and really good music.”
7. Don’t mourn – organise
Guardian columnist Owen Jones says young people need to mobilise
“Young people were the most opposed to Brexit and they’re the ones who are going to suffer the consequences the most. The polling shows that people are decisively saying they’ll be worse off than their parents. It’s not happened for a very long time. Now should be a wake-up call.
“Reclaim is a Manchester-based charity giving young working-class people a voice. They do their own manifestos and take their concerns directly to politicians. I’d like a rallying cry that this sort of project is the future, bringing together community organisations and prominent figures young people look up to, to mobilise them on the attack on worker’s rights, cuts to services, on the rising threat of xenophobia and racism, and on things like education and housing – in a way where young people who are disproportionately suffering the consequences actually have a campaign based on optimism, spoken in a language people understand.
“I spend a lot of time going to inner-city schools and sixth forms and they’re not apathetic – they really care. During the student protest in 2010, some of the most determined weren’t the students, but the young people at schools and sixth forms who were going to have their education maintenance allowance cut. They just think politics is divorced from them, not spoken in a way they understand, and from people they’re not very sympathetic about. This has to change.”
8. Make up with pals who voted the other way
Psychologist Judi James answers some questions from conflicted NME readers
I voted Leave and my friend voted Remain. Can we still be pals?
“It is a positive thing to have friends with different views and opinions, as it can help keep your own thinking fluid and less judgemental. The skill of empathy is an important one. By listening to other views without prejudice we become better at forming our own opinions.”
I can’t look my parents in the eye. What do I do?
“You need to push your emotions off the field of play. Question your own motivations first. Do you want to explore their opinions or do you want a row? Are you going to share your opinions or be opinionated? If you really want to know why they voted as they did, you need to stay calm. If you’re upset and angry things will get heated – wait until you can control your behaviour.”
I’m a devastated Remain voter. How can I live with the referendum?
“Being a critic is far more comfortable than accepting change and looking to make it work, so the righteous ‘ideal’ right now is to keep criticising Brexit and feel vilified when anything goes wrong. This is the ‘I told you so’ position. Gloating about financial dips or other types of Brexit fallout will seem hugely tempting. The human psyche means we feel comfortable blaming other people for our problems, and voting Remain offers a huge opportunity to step back and do that. It’s an emotional version of sitting back and folding our arms across our chests and refusing to play. The other option is to accept what you can’t change, see it as a done deal and work to make the country successful under the new changes.”
9. Turn your anger into art
Punk duo Slaves, Laurie Vincent and Isaac Holman, are finding solace in great protest music
Laurie: “No bands have hit the issues straight on in the way The Specials did [in 1981 with ‘Ghost Town’]. What’s happening now in the world is so similar to what was happening then. I find them really inspiring – I listen to them a lot. It feels like everyone is scared to speak out now. The world we live in is terrifying. Look at Orlando and Paris. Our whole childhood has been informed by terror. Prices are rising and humanity is falling.
“People don’t care about each other so much. Look at the Brexiteers: the only thing they talk about is migrants and that’s just embarrassing. How is that inspiring our kids? I’m going to be a dad in December – it’s constantly on my mind that I want to make this a better world for our kids. Watch something, learn something, read a book and work out how our world will be reduced to dust if we keep eating meat. We could feed the whole planet on the soy beans we give to cows, but instead people just sit there on the lefty bench eating beefburgers. There’s so much hypocrisy.”
Isaac: “If you’ve got a platform, you should use it. Why wouldn’t you? But somehow politics is a dirty subject. I hope our music inspires people to go out there and do what they want to do. I want it to have a positive impact, rather than slagging everyone off all the time. That’s pointless.”
10. Make your voice heard
Says rapper and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor Riz Ahmed
“The referendum has proven the need for young people to get out and get involved in shaping our politics, otherwise other people will shape it for them. We need to go further than Facebook activism and turn up to make a difference. We have more information at our fingertips and more ease of connection to like-minded people than ever before. If you’re passionate about something, you can share it with more people quicker than ever. Of course you have to fight harder to make yourself heard above all the noise, but if you’re willing to be consistent and work hard, the barriers to reaching people are lower than ever. You can be heard.”
Riz MC’s mixtape ‘Englistan’ is out now
11. Take the discussion off the internet
Sam Duckworth, formerly Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, explains why he’s set up a series of straight-talking events
“In 2016 being human is a rebellious act. So many of our conversations and interactions are computer-based. My recommendation would be to find as many ways as possible to engage offline. That could be as simple as having frank conversations with friends or volunteering within your community. The nuances of human interaction are both comforting and challenging. Reconnecting with the process of offline conversation is vital in diversifying your opinions but also reaffirming your beliefs. It’s also likely to be a much less angry environment for critical thinking.
“Summer Of Love is a series of events taking place across the UK aimed at bringing us together to learn a little, laugh a lot and feel less alone in the confusion. Interested? Join us @summeroflove16 / Facebook.com/summeroflove16. The more voices, the richer the understanding.”
12. Help fix your broken community
Kristen Stephenson, volunteering development manager at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, on the importance of pulling together
Be inspired by the 14 million volunteers in the UK
“They do this every month across hugely diverse sectors and roles. Sport volunteering is one of the most popular across all age groups. You can also help at a local community group or social club or support patients in a hospital; you could volunteer as a group – for example to clean up the local environment; you can even volunteer remotely at home or online.”
Help make up the £300 million loss in EU funding
“It is not clear yet whether the UK government might look to replace any of this funding. So at a time of uncertainty, people coming together through volunteering to make a positive difference can play a role in hiding divisions and bringing communities together.”
Deal directly with post-referendum issues
“People might be motivated by the increase in reports of hate crime to work with groups like Hope Not Hate, Stop Hate UK, or Amnesty International with their Against Hate campaign. You can also work with organisations promoting migrants’ rights, like Refugee Action.”
Research how you can help – it’s very easy
“Thinking about what skills and experiences you can bring as a volunteer is really important. Visit your local volunteer centre or see our website for ideas: ncvo.org.uk/ncvo-volunteering.”
13. Be smart with your cash
Money-saving expert Martin Lewis gives three post-referendum money tips
Make sure you have savings
“Preferably six months’ worth of bills. Realising that you have to plan for the worst and hope for the best is a very important way to think through this.”
Keep doing what you normally do
“The best way to stave off a recession is by not getting into a recession mentality, because if we do and we stop doing the things we would otherwise have done, that will be a self-fulfilling prophecy and cause a recession.”
Plan now if you ever want to buy a house
“Get yourself a help-to-buy ISA because the government will add 25 per cent on top of your deposit.”