Brexit and The Future of Politics: How should we collectively respond?

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Gladys Jubane, Journalism Undergraduate, University of Roehampton

The charged Brexit debate kicked off by exposing the public’s deepening distrust in the government to negotiate in good faith and come up with the best deal.

Claire Fox, the author of I Still Find That Offensive, opened the debate with a universal response to Tom Clark’s question on what should or will happen in the coming week with the Brexit deal. She responded on behalf of both remain and leave voters, “I think there’s been a huge disillusion amongst voters having witnessed the shenanigans in parliament, and people do feel that their votes have not been taken seriously.”

United nods reflected the general dissatisfaction in the political process and uncertainty over whether the Brexit deal would deliver the people’s vote. Claire Fox pointed out that many of the ‘remain’ campaigning MPs, in trying to interpret why people voted to leave, missed the point. She argued that they largely assumed that the vote was about immigration control, and operated in a crass way which has contributed to the problems with the current deal.

Anand Menon, leader of the think tank Britain in a Changing Europe reiterated public mistrust with the unpopular deal: “I think it is the worst of all worlds where we are now. Mostly down to the way the deal trade-offs have been handled in the past two years.” The lack of public debates to explain the process exposes a failure in politics which has led to a no-deal possibility.

James Bloodworth, author of the book Hired focused on community discontentment with the deal. He believes communities, especially the poor, are going to be side-lined due to the nature of referendums in general; in not delivering on some of the promises made during campaigns. He feels greater focus is now being put on the intricate details of these trade deals rather than the issues they voted in the first place.

Simon Winder, author of Lotharingia, concluded on the lack of campaigns in the last two years by the government to involve the public in the Brexit process. He spoke of the historical ups and downs of Britain’s status in the world, highlighting the fall of sovereignty which has generally shown how divided we are as a nation. The old mostly wanted to leave. The young, London and Scotland mostly wanted to remain and the decisions came from opposing politically motivated views.

Members on both sides of the house, and on both sides of the Brexit deal, are now haunted by the Brexit division caused by parties not coalescing due to inflamed rhetoric and misinformation. This is the ‘values division’ which threatens to destabilise our politics. A greater focus is now required on an inclusive process that will not leave anyone behind.