Brexit Tales of the Unexpected
This picture is one of my favourite photos that I’ve taken of the last few years. When people look at it they think its a photo shoot for a gangster family crime drama. I wish it was! It was taken in August 2016, not so long after the Brexit vote happened. As a result of all the social media online debates (and arguments), I was inspired to get creative and produce a fictional web series to dramatise people’s opinions. It was called Brexit Tales, and told the story of a number of loosely connected stories of everyday people who were affected by the vote in the summer of 2016.
I must admit, looking back at the series a few years later, the series did portray those who voted Leave as having racist opinions. I don’t believe this to be true at all, but once the creative juices were flowing, with unscripted scenes and improvised dialogue, this is what came out on the screen.
But as time progresses, I do wonder about the state of racism in our country and around the world. Throughout my 20s and 30s I’ve been involved in facilitating creative workshops with young people that aim to tackle racism, by bringing divided communities together with other groups they wouldn’t normally associate with (cohesion and integration were much used names for these workshops) and challenging stereotypes. I often felt that I was seeing a change in people’s opinions and progression in forward thinking. Those who harboured racist or discriminatory views were having those long held beliefs in those different to them shattered. It felt good.
The rise of social media has enabled individuals to say what they really think without the risk of consequence and repercussion.
But the rise of Facebook and (and I daresay more so) Twitter has enabled individuals to say what they really think about public opinions without the risk of consequence and repercussion. Thanks to social media, now you can say what you really think in your heart to millions of readers, without anyone knowing its really you. You can say all the politically correct things in public and at work in order to keep your job or present the best version of yourself, but having a social media account with a false name and fake avatar (profile photo) allows you to vent about what you really believe.
Sometimes this makes my heart sad. I think trolling and lying about who you are is pathetic enough, but the idea that young people who were only born in the early 2000s – at a time when I felt like I was helping teenagers to shed the racist views learned from listening to their parents at home were fading away – are just as racist as the generations before them is more than tragic.
With Brexit (supposedly) happening at the end of March 2019, I’ve often thought is it worth making another Brexit Tales web series. How different would the narrative look two and half years on from the original? I don’t believe that all Leave voters are racist and I don’t believe that all Remain voters are out of touch with real issues. I do wonder about the future of our country when we decline the opportunity to have our deepest inner beliefs challenged and questioned. When we think ‘the others’ are wrong, based on what we heard from someone else who had a bad experience or what we saw on television once, will we ever take the opportunity to think for ourselves? I like thinking, researching and learning for myself, its something we should all try sometime.
Watch the 7-part series below or on YouTube.