Hey everyone, I am actually dipping my toes into something very different today, and I have gone back and forth a few times on whether or not I should be posting this at all, but it is something that I feel really strongly about, so I guess I’ll just have to take the plunge. Rest assured that we’ll be dealing with little plastic men again, come the next post. Anyway, what is this about?
Today, on the 23rd of June, the United Kingdom is running its referendum about whether to leave the European Union or remain one of its members. And I’ll be up front with you: The prospect of the country leaving the EU fills me with a lingering sense of sadness that has only grown stronger over the last days and weeks.
There are many reasons for this, but most of it has something to do with the fact that I am endlessly fascinated with the UK, its culture, history – and let’s not forget about its popular culture, either: Many of my favourite bands, authors, films, tabletop games or novels are of British origin. I was raised on the humour of Monty Python, and I loved the dystopian novels of the early 20th century (and, once again, of mostly British origin) during my early adulthood. I fell in love with the various settings of Games Workshop which are a very British take on the apocalyptic (and also, on a deeper level, a very British kind of satire). And for this reason, and countless reasons like it, I’ve always seen the UK as a dear member of the family, and one that I am especially fond of.
Dear British readers of this blog: I cannot and will not tell you what does and doesn’t work in your country. I will not tell you what to do, either, as I understand there are good reasons for either choice (although I’ll be perfectly open about clearly favouring one of them). I am also not going to defend the frequent ridiculousness of EU bureaucracy, because there’s a lot to dislike about that part of the union. What I would like to tell you, however, is that this is not all the EU represents:
These last few years of blogging and interacting with the international hobby scene have been a blast for me, and they have also shown to me – more than anything before, possibly – how incredibly valuable it is to be able to talk openly and peacefully about a common subject to people from different countries and wildly different cultural backgrounds. To be able to be in contact – and on friendly terms with – at least a dozen hobbyists scattered all across the globe has been ( and continues to be) an incredibly empowering feeling, even if we may merely be talking about little plastic figurines more often than not. There I was a short while ago, for instance, once again exchanging friendly e-mails with fellow hobbyist (and all around great guy) PDH: We are both of the same age. A mere hundred years ago, we would have shot each other on sight in the trenches of the Great War. And now we are talking about playing war by pushing plastic figures – that’s a hell of an improvement in my book.
And that, to me, is what’s at the heart of the EU. Not the economic bargaining. Not the endless bickering. Not the hunting for privilege. But the concept of lasting peace on the continent that renders the idea of ever waging war against one another again patently ridiculous. Is peace only possible through the EU? Definitely not. But it’s the idea at the centre of the whole thing. And it’s an idea worth fighting for more than any other. And to fight, you have to be there.
Dear British readers, please consider this as you make your choice today: The Imperium of Man may be corrupt and defective and over-inflated and leaking in a thousand ways and in a thousand places – all the more reason why it needs you!
Thank you for reading and Godspeed!
24th June update: Alright, I have just spent most of yesterday night and virtually all of this morning watching BBC News, and I am not going to lie to you: The result leaves me feeling oddly heartbroken. I keep seeing talking heads giddy with excitement at the “great opportunity” this supposedly represents for the UK, and while I am just not seeing it, I certainly hope it’s true, if only for the sake of Great Britain. Or maybe I am just missing a vital part of the puzzle here? Anyway, this feels like a truly awful day: An already complicated world just got a whole lot more complicated. Good thing I’ll be returning to talking about cutting up little plastic men shortly, as talking about politics just seems too damn depressing right now…
On a – slightly – more upbeat note, thank you very much for all the thoughtful, well-considered and sympathetic comments that have at least managed to soften the blow a bit! If nothing else, let us do our best to make sure this doesn’t divide our respective countries any more than it already has.
Filed under: Pointless ramblings Tagged: brexit, EU, European Union, politics, referendum, UK, United Kingdom, vote