Speak Up

Brexit: A Lesson In Being Ill-Informed?

In the wake of yesterdays no confidence vote result, I have started to wonder if we, as a nation are rather ill informed and much more indoctrinated by certain media outlets than we realise.

I see nonsensical stuff banded about on Facebook with venom and purpose but little true understanding of the facts. It seems almost everyone is happy to share a meme, if it looks good on the surface but is anyone actually examining the evidence to support them?

How did we ever let ourselves get into a situation where the DUP called the shots yesterday? None of us voted for their input, they weren’t on any of our ballot sheets. And yet, when all was said and done it was their votes that swung the result.

The DUP are a racist, sexist, homophobic organisation. They oppose abortion (even in the case of rape) and gay marriage. Their views are retrogressive, often defying logic and basic human empathy. One Minister was quoting as saying that a person who has had sex with an African, should not be allowed to donate blood.

I doubt that many people even realise these facts and I doubt that many recall (or care to remember) that those crucial, deciding votes given yesterday were paid for.

Quite literally paid for, from our own pockets.

Yes, track back to the Election in 2017, where the Conservative Party paid the DUP  £1 billion to secure their support. Ask yourself where that money came from? If you voted Tory in that election, ask yourself if the DUP’s politics are your politics. Check if you’re ok with that.

Check really hard.

Then stop using the BBC coverage and the Daily Mail as your only point of reference. Just because it’s there in your face every morning, just because it’s a life long habit – it doesn’t mean it’s giving you a balanced point of view. Inform yourself on how and why these organisations may be biased. Consider who owns them and what their interests and motives may be. 

Next, stop looking to the past to make choices about the future. The politics of 20, 30, 50 years ago are not the politics of today. Everything has changed. Society is constantly moving and evolving and we must too.

Stop assuming that younger generations don’t know what they are talking about, because they haven’t lived as long as you. Consider instead, that you have raised a generation of young adults who are able to think for themselves and balance out the facts with their emotions. Consider also, that they are the ones in the thick of it now. Right in the middle of their lives, raising kids and working and dealing with immense pressures that you never had to contend with. Review your use of the term Millennial, stop using it as a passive aggressive insult.

Consider that you don’t have to stick blindly to a Political Party for life. Contemplate, that you have the freedom to agree or disagree at your own will with whomever you choose, at any given moment. Even if that is some one you vehemently disagreed with in the past.

If your life is reasonably comfortable, consider how life isn’t for others. Use your privilege to speak up for a struggling minority whose voice no one will listen to. Go back to the facts about Grenfell. Go watch I, Daniel Blake. Research what Universal Credit and Zero Hour Contracts actually are. Google poverty, homeless and domestic violence statistics over the last ten years.

Find out about your local food bank. Where is it located? How many are in your area? Find out if indeed, more people are relying on it now than a decade ago. If they are, help them out by donating.

Contemplate what might happen to you, if your support network disappeared, or you lost your job or became critically ill. Contemplate who would speak up for you, if you hadn’t been as lucky.

Stop blaming immigrants. Stop buying the lie that Polish people have stolen your jobs. The next time you hear someone say this , ask what job. Ask what specific job has been stolen. Understand that your children’s children will integrate with Eastern European migrant children in the years to come. That much like the Common Wealth Immigrants of the 50s and 60s, they will work with and for them. They will go to school with them and live next door to them. They will marry them and have children with them. Know that your Great Grand Children may have more European sounding surnames. Know that no one will care, because it wont be a big deal.

Finally when it comes to Brexit itself, consider the possibility that we were duped. That some Politicians were peddling a lie to further their own interests or at best a misconception about what Brexit would actually mean. Consider that no one really knew what Brexit really meant and that we still don’t.

Consider, that we’ve shot ourselves in the foot on this one. That we’ve bought about more harm than good. That our Politicians should have done better and that we should have asked more questions and demanded more concrete answers. Reflect on this as a lesson. One that our childrens, children will learn about in Modern History lessons and gape in disbelief at our ignorance.

Acknowledge, that all we can do now is to be better next time and learn from the lesson of allowing ourselves to be so ill-informed.

photo credit: Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916 UK, EU mull possible Brexit delay via photopin (license)
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