This hashtag has finally brought some light relief to the referendum campaign (TWEETS)
The campaign for and against Britain leaving the EU has been a gruelling one. There have been lies and discredited statements on all sides.
With just days to go before votes are cast, it has been refreshing to see a lighter side of the debate emerge, with pet owners taking over Twitter to voice their opinions. The hashtag, #catsagainstbrexit was soon trending:
Merlin is tired of divisive rhetoric with insidious othering undertones. He wants hope, unity & #IN #CatsForBrexit pic.twitter.com/XGQPcYKYX1
— 𝐊𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧 🔆 (@Kirsten_KE) June 20, 2016
Lola has read up on why it's so wrong to scapegoat migrants in the referendum debate #CatsAgainstBrexit pic.twitter.com/mt7EDGmdw3
— Kevin Smith (@kevinjgsmith) June 20, 2016
Sasha is worried for her future after #Brexit as she knows she looks ‘foreign’. #CatsAgainstBrexit pic.twitter.com/70vnbKYcXc
— Paul Bernal (@PaulbernalUK) June 20, 2016
My cat is sad because if the UK leaves the EU hus favourite vet might have to leave the country #catsagainstbrexit pic.twitter.com/IhtZjsIdFe
— ʈɑɳȳɑ ☣ (@tamaranth) June 19, 2016
However, not to be outdone, dog owners also got in on the act with the hashtag #dogsforbrexit:
Scraps didn't enjoy seeing his masters tax money be used on pro-eu propaganda, he just ripped it up. #DogsforBrexit pic.twitter.com/OhMFjERWkR
— Sean (@SeanMoffitt3) June 20, 2016
As an English springer spaniel i'm sick of German shepherds bossing me around. #DogsforBrexit pic.twitter.com/v8UQYGeJ2J
— Russell MaJimmies (@RussellMaJimmie) June 20, 2016
There were also pets who had yet to make up their mind:
Harry is still on the fence and has a paw in both camps#CatsForBrexit#CatsAgainstBrexit pic.twitter.com/mqyxZLCDTd
— Colin (@theabingdontaxi) June 20, 2016
Whilst the majority of the tweets have serious political messages, they have brought an element of humour to the campaign which many people didn’t think was possible:
just discovered #CatsAgainstBrexit and #DogsforBrexit both give me hope we can restore our civility, and sense of proportion
— Karen Pollock MBACP (@CounsellingKaz) June 20, 2016
And this is surely the point. The referendum debate has been a toxic one – one which has made if feel as though this is a divided country. Injecting some lightheartedness into the discussion is needed, and does give hope that after Thursday’s vote there might be a way forward.
On too many occasions, this has felt like a debate amongst elites. It is supposed to be a referendum of the people, but the people’s interests have been confused with the competing interests of the ruling class and power plays for the Tory leadership.
However, the power of social media has allowed the people to reclaim the debate on their own terms and with a much-needed injection of humour.
Some may argue that this is debasing all the arguments, but given the politicians have done such a good job of that for us, resorting to dogs and cats may be the most sensible response we have seen in the whole campaign.
- Remember to use your vote on Thursday.
- Read our other articles on the EU referendum.
- Full Fact is fact-checking the EU referendum here.
Featured image via Wikimedia and author’s own.
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