And now for something completely different

24 Jun

Pick yourself up dust yourself off – it’s a bit more complicated than that!

Firstly let me say I’m not perfect. I woke up to the referendum result this morning and cried, then swore, hugged Dan hard, then went on to blame the elderly, the ignorant and the racist for making what I think is huge mistake and ruining the future of the country! None of which is really helpful, and much of which isn’t necessarily true.

It felt like waking up after a going to a fantastic party where the mood suddenly soured, we had all drunk too much, kissed people we shouldn’t and might have started a fight or two but can’t really remember. The only thing we do know is that we have to go to work today, or out in the streets and see the same people we were punching or inappropriately snogging yesterday.  It’s uncomfortable and upsetting, and will take a while to move on from.

My fear is that as a county we have become so divided – flung into binary choices and opposing views that we are going to have to climb down very quickly to avoid being pulled even further apart.

There is already a lot of discussion about whether the result is binding – it isn’t – but I can’t see any politicians going against “the will of the people” just yet. It may trigger a “better” offer from Brussels that would see us all vote again. There is definitely going to be a Conservative leadership contest and I’d guess a Labour one too fairly soon, and possibly a snap general election. There is going to be a lot to sort out in the next few months and years – whatever the eventual outcome.  All fun and games for a country full of tired/bored/angry/scared people with political parties more divided than ever.

The landscape of politics is changing with independent and smaller parties across the spectrum attracting more interest and vying to be political contenders. Terrifyingly the far right have been emboldened by the rhetoric and scaremongering of the past few months. With divided parties, and more voices comes the need for greater cooperation and collaboration at a time when British politics is more adversarial than it has been for decades.

My personal view is that proportional representation would better fit the current landscape – dare I say it a more European model where parties talk, bargain and negotiate rather than try to trample each other into the dust. I don’t see much chance of this becoming reality soon, because it’s a trickier, more nuanced and MORE GROWN UP way of doing things and I’m not sure if political parties can or want deal with this yet. But we as individuals need to as well.

Representative democracy would mean us all taking a step back from the binary politics and first past the post system. Move away from individualism, stop running to polar opposite points in an argument then standing there with our fingers in our ears screaming back at the supposed opposition. This isn’t fair or equal and it’s dangerously divisive. It’s being led around by the group that can shout the loudest or drowned out by them.

The question for me today is am I big enough to lick my wounds, climb down from my high horse and get stuck back in?  Are we collectively able to come together and work through things? Or are we going to keep standing on either side of a widening gulf hurling insults at each other until we can no longer hear or understand the other side?

It’s difficult, like the aftermath of the party that turned bad, it’s going be very awkward looking each other in the eye for a while. But if we don’t an awful lot of important things like the NHS, good quality education, a fair and supportive benefits system will fall into the void and we won’t be able to organise ourselves to save them.

So let’s get it out of our systems today – wallow, cry, swear, go for a run, go to the pub and drown your sorrows, celebrate, howl at the moon!  Then take a long hard look the small number of politicians  we are really be giving control of the country to, find some common ground with each other – even just a tiny bit and start getting shit done.

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