“Brexit means Brexit”, says our new PM, creating a meme I must have seen 50 times already.
Forgetting the tautology, what has she actually done? May has gone on a tour to find out what Brexit means..
This from the Guardian today:
“Nonetheless, in her ongoing quest to discover what Brexit might in fact mean, May visited Berlin, where she made clear – with the approval of the chancellor, Angela Merkel – that she would not be starting the formal two-year exit process before the end of 2016:
All of us need time to prepare for these negotiations and the UK will not invoke article 50 until our objectives are clear.”
Guess what, she and her lieutenants have spent no time at all in the most stressed and underprivileged areas of England finding out what their constituents are going through, were voting for and what they wanted.
This is a typical lack of engagement that characterises modern politics and drives estrangement from it. They engage only with the people who matter to them, not with the people they represent.
What should they do instead? An extensive study across the land of who voted for what and what their objectives in voting were. Also, what Brexit looks like or could look like to those who voted for it – or against it. We are starting that work in our own small way, see here: https://www.facebook.com/events/293586684326851/
I ran a post Brexit workshop in this series in Islington last Friday. It included both Remainers & Leavers. Some comments here:
A further element of the study would be to explore the promises made pre-referendum and how to create richer understanding & acceptance of the compromises which might be necessary.
Because they won’t do this or publish the results of their private polling, whatever comes to pass will alienate as many as it satisfies and we will be back in a post-traumatic stress situation which echoes that of June 24th this year. And not just once, it will carry on until the population’s interest is simply exhausted and we adopt defensive strategies to try to protect ourselves and our families. Regrettably, many of these will not be communal in nature.
My issue is that our politicians are mainly concerned with managing their own reputation. The part of that most important to them is what people they admire think of them – in other words, the opinion of people like themselves, the political elites. They are not concerned with their standing among the people who elected them. The strategy there, as we have just seen, is to ignore such people until an election approaches, then to promise people whatever they want, only to ignore it once in power. And so it continues.