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26 July 2016

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 July 26, 2016
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Rosemary Metz

What will Brexit mean for England’s charities?

How will Brexit affect America’s nonprofit?

What will Brexit do to Canada’s nonprofit sector?

We can have no way of knowing at this point, but we can hazard some guesses.

We can posit that leaving the EU will weaken England’s economy.

We can consider that Brexit will create a mass exodus from Britain of other EU citizens to Scotland (if it decides to become independent and join the EU, which it looks like they are going to do).

It may be the end of the United Kingdom.Rosemary Metz

We can guess that a weakened British economy will make it harder for people living on the margins.

This will put greater strain on nonprofits providing social services, and that in turn will cause a redoubling in efforts to fundraise by charities in Britain to meet the increased need.

This has already hit the world’s financial markets, which means that the wealthiest donors in the US who invest in the stock market are feeling a little poorer, and possibly, less able to be generous to charity.

We can consider the decision to leave the EU as a decision that shows a rise in nationalism, xenophobia and isolationism according to US Vice president Joe Biden. Brexit will make North Americans poorer, and people in the UK poorer. The decision seems to come from the older generation that has a nostalgia for a simpler time.

This nostalgia can be deadly.

Here is a guest post by Rosemary Metz, Canadian citizen, former British citizen, reflecting on the Brexit decision.

Flying into Heathrow Airport on the day results of the “Brexit” referendum were declared – to leave or stay in the European Union for the UK- I had to ask several individuals what the Captain had announced during preparation for landing.

 

If you are interested .. .” he garbled, “. . .Brexit 52 to 48%.

 

That was all, he said it in a hurry, as though there was something else on his mind at the time.

They surely didn’t vote for Brexit, did they? Shocked, I looked around the cabin trying to detect reaction on other passengers faces.

Later on the ground, I expected to see groups with banners demonstrating for or against the results. But there was no hint of what was to come.

A referendum is not the most appropriate vehicle for a large population to make important and complicated decisions about the future of its country. A “yes” or “no” vote is way too simplistic.

Amongst all the issues, the British Press is so fond of making sure everyone in articles published has their age neatly accompanying their name, proclaiming with gusto that; “the 18-25 year olds had unanimously voted of “Remain” while, “older voters” had turned out in large numbers to vote decisively for “Leave.”

Senior voters, it seems have more of an ingrained interest in voting in general, it was reported by the tabloid press. They actually went out to vote, while the younger population had, apparently, other things on its mind. Later, would- have -been younger voters cried out in various forms of indignation, “they have taken away our future.”

It was troubling to know I might be seen as “one of them.” even though I didn’t have the right to vote in the Referendum. One is made acutely aware of one’s age at times like these.

And, neither would I be associated with anyone who wants to; “be great again and to have their sovereignty back, ” as was reported of older voters by the BBC.

As if one vote would supply an accurate answer to any of the complicated problems involving issues of political philosophy, society culture, immigration, or economy…

It was easy to see how dividing a population into convenient demographics made it more straight forward to rationalize for shocking and unprepared-for Referendum results.

A creeping sense of Ageism was looming. How easy it is to separate a population into voting groups by age alone. As if age itself is the chief contributory factor for any decision making process. How convenient to evoke stereotypes for the sake of statistics. It was said the older public was looking to return to the way things once were in Britain.

Nostalgia is a powerful influencer. Who is immune to its impulse?

Nostalgia will shape our choices in unreasoned moments for; fundraising or the type of art we make, for how we see the world.

Its seductive sentiment should be avoided.

Vulnerability and uncertainty are its companions.

 

Rosemary Metz holds a Masters Degree in Ceramics and is a teacher of art education. Now working as an arts researcher, Rosemary is interested in delving into the subtle workings and structures of the contemporary art world. She hopes to attend more classes in Creative Non Fiction, which she feels, offers an excellent vehicle for pursuing her interests in the related issues bubbling up in contemporary life and art. Rosemary considers herself a survivalist, and is practising how to light fires without the use of matches.

 


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