Midsummer hangover arrived early today, as we woke up to find that Britain voted to leave the EU. The crooked-toothed scone gobblers (per John Oliver) are gone.
99% of my Facebook feed is surprised/angry. Some are really worried: one lady feared that her impending holiday to Spain could be her last; and another said (apparently without joking) that he will really miss croissants…
We look at the world through our Facebook feeds, but that is not the world.
My world, my friends’ world, my colleagues’ world, is a London-centric, highly-educated, left-leaning, internationally open and mobile. I am fortunate that it is a world of opportunities. And in a world of opportunities, you care about finding people who can help you make the most out of life.
In January 2014 in London, my team launched what I believe was the fastest-growing mobile game EVER up to that point: Farm Heroes Saga on mobile went from zero to millions of players within 24 hours. On that team were:
- 7 Brits
- 12 from the EU
- 6 non-EU
- 25 total
So almost 50% were immigrants to Britain from the EU. They helped to create a talented and successful team, based in the UK. I have had a super positive experience with EU immigration, and for this reason (plus many others) I cast my vote to remain. But not everyone in the UK believes they have had the same experience.
If you don’t live in a world of opportunities, incomers can look more like competitors than collaborators. When opportunities are scarce, competitors are unwelcome. Especially when politicians point to immigration as a simple cause of many complex problems.
“Where are these 17 million people who voted to leave?!?” said one friend. Well, they’re somewhere else — in someone else’s Facebook feed — probably having an entirely different conversation. Or they are indeed in your Facebook network, but they have been cowed into silence by the vocal minority (as we now know it to be) who were posting in favour of Remain over the past few weeks.
My family and I are Brits living abroad under the rights afforded by the EU. We are immigrants too.
What happens now?
Well, at least Sweden still has croissants.