The right wing elites are smirking behind their hedge funds as they trample over parliamentary democracy whilst the left are frothing at the mouth about tin pot dictators and coups, name calling in a way that might make Donald Trump blush. Meanwhile at the Guardian Stewart Lee is probably preparing an hilarious satire of the whole affair where he draws an analogy between Brexit and a tin of Spam, detaching himself from the whole affair in his liberal echo chamber.
Reactionary, childish, cowardly, undignified are all words that can be and have been aimed at either side of the Brexit debate. And thanks to Hugh Grant we can also add masturbatory. After my initial shock that an unelected Prime Minister seems to be driving the UK off a cliff, and helping to whip up yet more division in the process, I was left reflecting on the apparent lack of nuance in the debates that are being had online, in newspapers, TV studios and no doubt pubs across the land. All the arguments get turned into over simplistic and divisive narratives. It is is either all Prefect Boris’s fault or Comrade Jeremy’s fault. It is the racist leavers and the moaning remainers. Prime Minister Johnson is trampling over democracy OR parliament are denying the will of the people by delaying Brexit. Or specifically the will of the 51.89% of people who voted to leave the EU, at a referendum that had a 72.21% turnout and where 48.11% of the turned out voters voted to remain (presumably parliament doesn’t represent these people at all).
The other thing to note here is that all the debates and so called delaying tactics that members of parliament have been accused of in their attempts to get a deal or a second referendum, or a general election etc. etc. IS democracy, that’s what it looks like folks! Elected officials having the freedom of speech to express the opinions and views of their constituents, whom they represent, in a public forum, debating and talking about what the right thing to do is and trying to reach a compromise that will benefit the country and the people that live in it. Compare that to a true dictatorship and you see what a privilege and blessing it is to have the democracy we have, a place where we all get to vote, we all get a say, whatever you think about the system, and whether we agree or not. And all this division suits Johnson and people like Jacob Rees Mogg just fine as it serves to help them promote their own very individualistic agendas. In the same way Corbyn seems to be using all the turmoil to try and further his ambitions of becoming Prime Minister at all costs, even if that means putting what is best for the UK a distant second to his own ideologies.
The lack of an intelligent and sophisticated voice bringing people together is very disappointing, whether you think we should stay or go. The fact that we now live in a world where people feel free to use hate speech on a regular basis, where we would rather argue over invisible boundaries rather than do something about the climate crisis or stop war and violent crime, makes me really sad. The fact that no one seems able to step forward and really change the message to one of hope and unity rather than hate and division is a massive let down. I think what Johnson is doing is questionable but I want to look at the reasons we have ended up with him in the first place, how did it come to be like this? And how can we be better? I voted to remain because I dream of a world and a future for my children where there is peace and love, where social constructs like national borders are unimportant because humanity is looking to achieve greater things for the betterment of all, not the advancement of an extremely wealthy minority. I voted remain based on idealism, the hope for a forward looking future. I don’t think I am a particular admirer of the institution that is the European Union and I often wonder when we all became experts in the customs union and the backstop? I thought a backstop was a position in a game of rounder’s. And the question is does any of it really matter?
This is my attempt at making sense of what is going on and cutting through the noise and hyperbole on both sides and my plea for someone, anyone, to step forward and change the narrative. It could be the collection of apparently progressively minded people in the house of commons or it could be a combination of Russell Brand, the Spice Girls and Liam Gallagher for all I care, as long as someone or a group of someones start speaking sense and start taking into account everyone. And maybe we could all make a commitment to acknowledge the fact that we all have different feelings and needs, we are all wonderful individuals and sometimes we all make mistakes and that’s ok. But through all our differences we all share a humanity so can we at least work together to try and achieve something positive instead of negative, something that benefits as many people as possible rather than the few with property portfolios and hedge funds.
©John de Gruyther 2019
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