Last Sunday, I rode a 12 hour time trial, finishing 2nd in the National Championships with 284 miles. If you’re fed up with politics, riding a 12 hour time trial is very good for clearing the mind. A little extreme maybe, but worth considering if you want to get away from it all. This week I have been physically recovering from this 284 miles, but perhaps more difficult is recovering from the impact of Brexit and the new divisions facing UK society.
I had resigned myself to a new era post EU. Maybe the economic costs won’t be so bad as we feared. Maybe it is time just to look forward and hope the post-Brexit rise in racist incidents is just a temporary aberration. However, my new confidence in Brexit Britain was shaken by visiting a Polish friend who has lived in country for many years, but now feels unwelcome. What can you say? Is this the society we voted for?
Since Labour give the impression of being mostly concerned with self-indulgent left-wing factionalism, it appears that for all their deep divisions, Shakespearian treachery and incompetence, the Conservative party still manage to give the impression of being the ‘natural party’ of government. For a while, Theresa May seemed to have many good qualities, which offered some hope to those who despair of a having a coherent opposition.
Let EU nationals stay in UK
However, my positive impression of Theresa May has been shaken by her statement that ‘we’ can make no guarantee that EU nationals won’t be repatriated. People who legitimately came to UK, during EU membership should not be used as bargaining chips. If she is willing to create uncertainty in the minds of million of workers in Britain, just to appeal to the hard right of the Conservative party, what else will a May Britain have?
Am I missing something or in the referendum campaign did even Nigel Farage say they would be no repatriation of EU nationals? It is saying something when the heir to Thatcher and Leave Campaigner Andrea Leadsom appears liberal by saying there will be no repatriation of EU nationals.
Looking forward and holding people to account
It is important to look forward and see positives and opportunities for the new direction Britain has taken. It’s important to avoid bitterness, regret and a strongly negative attitude.
However, that doesn’t mean that the Leave campaign should not be held to account. I am disappointed about the decision to leave the EU, but I am more concerned about the nature of the Leave campaign, which was based on distortions and deceptions, and as the leader of the Leave campaign, Aaron Banks stated a ‘post-truth campaign’.
“It was taking an American-style media approach,” said Banks. “What they said early on was ‘facts don’t work’ and that’s it. The remain campaign featured fact, fact, fact, fact, fact. It just doesn’t work. You have got to connect with people emotionally. It’s the Trump success.” (Media Bias)
When people realise leaving the EU does nothing to improve housing, public services and there is no extra £350m week for the NHS, it is really important that those leavers who promised a golden age are held to account. My fear is that just as migrants were blamed for past austerity and inadequate public services, we will continue to blame migrants for the future economic and social problems.
A surprising thing is to see all the prominent leavers evaporating from the political scene. We could be left with a situation where we have a ‘nominally remain’ Prime Minister, and all the Leavers won’t be there to take responsibility.
Brexit is brexit
For a short time, I harboured a notion that maybe Brexit is reversible or maybe we will end up in the EEA. But, it isn’t. Full Brexit will happen, and it can’t be reversed. If nothing else, the EU really don’t want the UK back. The chord has been snapped. During the referendum, the positive case for the EU was rarely made, apart from on the fringes of British politics.
The decision to leave the EU wasn’t just the result of 4 months of referendum campaign, it has been taken in the past 10-20 years, with the Tabloids and many broadsheets relentless message of blaming migrants and the EU for all and sundry. Media bias in the UK is a real problem. But, at the same time, everyone has a choice what newspaper to buy, read and believe. You can’t negate your responsibility to be informed. Britain had a choice, and we took it.
I just hope something positive will emerge from this new direction and the divisions will heal as we remember the shared values we have in common.