We can look at social media. We can follow the News. We can read literate articles. However much we do all three of these there’s not much new to say about Brexit. Every fact, every option, every prejudice has been stripped bare. Themes have been regurgitated. Mantras bombard each other like artillery fire. Billions of words have been written and spoken over the last 6-years.
In consequence, the British political dial has shifted but not as much as might have been expected. In a purely rational world, the dial should be bouncing off the end stop by now. The human capacity to dig in despite facts, evidence and experience is what makes us such strange political animals.
I’ve found, revealing, and likely more insightful are the unprompted conversations that touch on the subject matter. Now and then, disclosures, often unintentionally open true feelings, and emotions.
Like last evening, a casual conversation starts off in one direction and then stumbles into the swamp that is Brexit. Passing the time of day, I got talking to a woman doing a part-time job. She was retired. She had got fed up with her profession and was now working freelance for a bit of extra cash. Likewise, I told her my story. We moved on to how the world has changed. It was an inquisitive good-natured chat. I mentioned Brexit. Not in an overtly political way but simply as one of the changes that has upset the way people work. Within a second our friendly chat ended. It was clear that she would not tolerate any criticism of Brexit, whatsoever. I was left feeling that such an unnatural gulf in understanding is a heavy burden to bear. Deep entrenchment cannot be healthy.
It must be said that I’ve had the opposite conversation too. Social gatherings are good places to catch-up. At a recent funeral reception, chatting with someone I hadn’t seen for several years, we went through the topics of family and holidays. Then – how’s business? Immediately, there was an opening-up as to how awful Brexit had been and the impact on exporting to Europe. There was no prompt needed. Not only feelings but real lived experience poured out in this exchange. Time, money, energy, and opportunity had all be wasted climbing new mountains of paperwork.
So, in August 2022, we are still in British Brexit’s first world war trenches. Each national camp is not making a move. Every day, bombastic slogans, and simplistic rhetoric are hurtled over the top. It’s a zombie like ritual.
Now, I’m sure this sharp polarisation is not entirely universal. There are, believe it or not, some people who are ambivalent. Bored with the topic. Disengaged and positively avoiding any step near these deep trenches. What’s distressing. What’s truly unhealthy for the country. What continues to set us back is the pandering of Conservative politicians to only one of these camps. The on-going party leadership race is pitted with appeals to their hard-core Brexit minded membership. I’d go as far to say the Conservative party, as it was known for decades, no longer exists. The UKIP party has been absorbed and integrated. There is no such thing as a broad church, or one-nation Conservatism. That traditional political formula simply doesn’t exist anymore.
POST 1: Unwise. Let’s keep Brexit safe. Playing to the in-crowd without a care for the outcome https://twitter.com/RishiSunak/status/1556590394170818560
POST 2: Unworkable. There’s party members votes in bashing the EU. https://twitter.com/trussliz/status/1554066408128012290