Friday, 13 December 2019

Brexit Britain, divided and diminished, is no longer a country for those old men who will always cherish the belief that its place is in Europe

In this week's General Election. because of Britain's first past the post electoral system, Boris Johnson's Conservative Party polled 44% of the total vote, but gained 56% of the seats in the House of Commons. Parties wanting to leave the European Union polled 47% of the vote and those parties which supported a second referendum polled 51%.

Johnson's victory does not decry from the fact that Britain remains bitterly divided on the question of its relationship with Europe and the election of a Government determined to take the country out of the European Union by the end of January will do nothing heal, but only widen the divisions.

So far in the process, Prime Ministers May and Johnson have refused to seek compromise and find what Queen Elizabeth I called a 'via media,' a 'middle way', for the Church Of England in the bitter religious disputes in the 16th Century. They have done nothing to assuage the fears and elicit the support of those 16,141,241 citizens who voted to remain in the European Union. Their policies have been directed solely at satisfying the 17,410,742 who voted to leave.

As one of the pro-European old men who now find themselves disconsolate and at odds with their country, I can draw solace from the fact that I am in good company and stand alongside the old :
Master of Spy Fiction called John le CarrĂ©.
“It is my considered opinion that for Britain and Europe, and for liberal democracy across the entire world as a whole, Britain’s departure from the European Union in the time of Donald Trump, and Britain’s consequent unqualified dependence on the United States in an era when the US is heading straight down the road to institutional racism and neo-fascism, is an unmitigated clusterfuck bar none."

Film Director called Mike Leigh.
"Brexit is the epitome of democracy under threat – indeed, of democracy gone wrong. To end this awful impasse we must have another referendum, one that is not afflicted with the lies and spin of 2016 – the People’s Vote. The spirit of Peterloo must endure."

Prime Minister called Gordon Brown. "Unionism appears to be sleepwalking into oblivion and the United Kingdom – once admired around the world for an understated but comfortably unifying Britishness that was inclusive, outward-looking, tolerant and ultimately pragmatic – now presents an ugly picture : of bitter division, intolerance and introversion so extreme that it has sacrificed common sense in favour of a dogmatic abandonment of its own best interests.'

Film and Theatre Director called Peter Brook.
"I think the folly, for any of us, for all any of us living in Europe and in England is Brexit. It is something so narrow-minded, this old fashion thing that, because we are an island, we mustn't have anything to do with those awful people on the Continent."

Sculptor called Anthony Gormley.
“We all know the EU is inefficient, but most human institutions are inefficient and that doesn’t mean we should not be part of their improvement. I sincerely hope this moment of utter instability and lack of movement just disappears and we get on with making a sounder, safer, more just world because without the help of our neighbours we can’t do it.”

Prime Minister called Tony Blair.
"The debate on Brexit has naturally focused on the economic fall-out. But the political effect of Britain leaving the European Union may be worse. At a stroke, Britain loses its position in the world’s largest commercial market and biggest political union. America loses its foremost ally which has often been a bridge between the two sides of the Alliance."

Novelist called Martin Amis.
"I'm as depressed as my friend Ian McKewan about it. I think a self-inflicted wound and I don't like the kind of nostalgic utopia that was being booted about, that it will return to just the sort of England that I don't like, which is the country town-rustic-beer drinking- family butcher England."

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