The Ghost of Margaret Thatcher

When the USSR disbanded, citizens from across the Union discovered their citizenship had been revoked. In a short period of time, people soon discovered that being “Soviet” no longer held substance under the new democracy. 

While people in the West celebrated the triumph of Capitalism over Communism, people whose lives had been shaped by the freedom of movement around the Soviet Union, were shocked that in many of the new republics, they were no longer welcome. 

Poles, Russians, Czechs, Bosnians, Serbs, Germans and Hungarians. These were just some of the nationalities who found that after the fall of the USSR, their economic contributions to the shaping of a Communist society, no longer held value and with the deregulation of Soviet industry, came the culture shock.

Goodbye Lenin and the EU Referendum

Waking up to the results of the EU Referendum, has been like waking up in the German Democratic Republic and finding the Berlin Wall has come down. It’s looking through a mangled mess of concrete and iron, where everything that has been familiar, has now been taken away. 

On the surface everything is normal, as it appeared when the Soviet Union disbanded. The traffic still rolls, people need to work and items are available to buy in shops. The civil service still functions, children still go to school, while opinions are divided on this very public vote. 

The EU Referendum was by no means small and throughout the night, when votes were announced, millions of people have woken up to find there has been regime change. This change has caused the Prime Minister to announce his resignation, thrown the financial markets into question and has left people questioning their future. 

England and Wales voted to Brexit, while Gibraltar, Scotland and Northern Ireland have each voted to Remain. For the first time in years, people are now discussing the reintroduction of national borders and the possibility of independence referendums, as a blow-back from the result. 

Despite reassurances from Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, that all EU citizens are welcome, there is a tangible unease among British based Europeans and those from EU member Southern Ireland. There is also questioning into the future of British people resident within Europe and what their status will be, once the UK has formally left the EU.