What a strange Friday it was last week. I bought a coffee and then walked away leaving it in on the counter, overlooked greetings from other parents at the school drop off and was altogether distracted all day. It was almost like being in a state of mourning. I and so many others were simply reeling in shock, even though we are so far from the UK the ripples were certainly felt here in Kenya.
Having spent a while beforehand speculating on the outcome of the Brexit vote, I think that it’s fair to say that most people’s gut feeling was that we would remain in the EU (even though the vote would be close). Certainly the money markets seemed to be banking on the ‘remain‘ result, but then who knows what the money markets are really ever up to. I had been planning to exchange some Kenya shillings for sterling and felt I had missed the boat on getting a good rate when sterling strengthened so suddenly last week, right up until the night of the vote. Since then, the exchange rate dropped from 150 Kenya shillings to the pound to 138 and today I see it has dropped further to 134.5. This must be at least a 5 year low.
I was not able to vote because I’ve lived outside the UK for more than 15 years and I think that the rule is fair enough since the UK has changed hugely since we left in 1999. But I am really not a fan of Boris Johnson who seems fixedly set on pushing his own agenda, rather than operating for the common good, so feel deeply depressed at the idea of him being Prime Minister. I can’t see him as the unifying force that is necessary after the vote was split so markedly between young and older generations, London and the countryside, England and Scotland (for one thing, he’s yet another ex Eton, former Oxbridge student) though, of course, it would be good to be proved wrong on that. However, reading between the lines since the ‘leave‘ result was announced, I doubt much will change as regards migration, which was the keynote of the Leave campaign. In fact, the holes in the leave campaign over what Britain will be like outside the EU are being brought into sharp focus as we speak. What exactly does the future hold?
It’s sad to see interviews with Polish people who live and work in the UK now who say; ‘I’ve always felt welcome in this country and everyone has always been so kind and friendly, that is until the EU referendum result was announced. Now I feel definite hostility.‘ Link: EU Referendum; Is Brexit bad news for Poland? BBC News
Having lived outside my own county for so long, I appreciate how critical it is to feel welcome and how sensitive you are in the face of adverse opinions. I’ve found that as a tourist I am welcome, as a mum I am welcome but occasionally in work situations my ‘outsider’s‘ opinion is often not particularly appreciated, however, my strategy is to press on whilst attempting to be as ingratiating as possible in order to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Will Brexit affect Africa I wonder? How will trade relationships be affected? Could this be a good thing? One of David Cameron’s key policies was always to ring fence money for international development. In fact the UK is one of the only countries that currently fulfills its pledge to donate 0.7% of the Gross National Income (GNI) to aid projects and this is one of many Conservative government/Cameron policies that were perceived to be out of step with public opinion. Nothing to do now but sit back and see what happens but I must say – it makes a change to have the UK dominating the news with its own problems rather than reporting on everyone else’s! Link: What does Brexit mean for Africa? BBC And what does Brexit mean to you?
p.s. Apologies for delaying the upcoming ‘Link-up’ post – ‘Tales from Blogging Africa’ is rescheduled to go online this Wednesday 29th June.