Stay focused and mind the gap
November 5th, 2016 | Posted in Uncategorized
Even after the shock of Brexit, I still don’t think we understand just how badly divided the western world is, how angry some people are, and the risks of us not responding properly to them.
All that jovial talk after the referendum that the Vote Leave campaign was “only meant to blow the bloody doors off” missed the point. The people who voted ‘Leave’ didn’t want to limit the damage, they really did want to blow everything up – and start again.
Over in the USA, they are so angry that they will vote for Donald Trump regardless of what he says or has done in the past because people believe he’s their only hope of blowing everything up.
Here Theresa May, an experienced and respected politician, understood immediately what Brexit exposed and responded by promising to change the way our country works when we leave the European Union so it works for everyone.
For our new Prime Minister, getting out of the European Union is a means to an end. It is not the end in itself. And that’s why Theresa May is right to do nothing that undermines people’s belief in what Brexit means.
We should consider ourselves lucky that the people who are angry believe our serious-minded, experienced Prime Minister can deliver for them.
I went to the “Women of the Year Awards” a couple of weeks ago where the Prime Minister presented an award to the Hillsborough Women. What happened was fascinating and tells us a lot.
Margaret Aspinall, the woman who has been most vocal in the Hillsborough families’ cause, came to the stage to accept and gave Theresa May the most heartfelt embrace, even putting her hand on the back of the Prime Minister’s neck. Margaret Aspinall then said, to a room full of several hundred other women and in front of television cameras, that Theresa May was the first person in power she had ever trusted.
Let’s just stop and think about what that cameo tells us.
Theresa May can command the trust of people previously let down and therefore has the potential to unite.
Brexit exposed the massive chasm between those who have been ignored for too long and those who have the power to make change happen. The way I picture it, the people who voted ‘Leave’ are stood on one side pointing to the chasm between us and screaming at the other side for help. And Theresa May has crossed over to them.
That’s what the rest of us have got to do. This really is not about politics at all. There’s a mish-mash of parties and a coalition of all sorts of people on both sides of the chasm.
Until we’re all on the other side and working together to fix that gap, the one thing I know for sure is that the normal game of politics won’t work. A general election right now would be about politicians and their power to not make change happen.
There are many serious business figures, other professionals, experts, MPs and members of the House of Lords who want desperately to get the best Brexit for the whole of the UK and will work tirelessly to achieve that.
But the people who need our help don’t believe us anymore.
So what do we do?
We have all got to follow Theresa. That doesn’t mean people have to vote for her, agree with her, or not challenge her.
It means that if we want the people on the other side of the chasm to listen, to take us seriously and believe that we want a country that works for everyone too, we first have to walk over the bridge she has built, or build one of our own, and join them.
The judges were doing their job this week and they were doing it as they should. The newspapers were doing their job too. But the reason that judges are judging and newspapers are shouting is because powerful people – in business and politics – are not focusing on the chasm. Instead, they appear to everyone on the other side of the chasm to be focusing on themselves.
We have to accept we are coming out of the European Union. We will be triggering Article 50 by the end of March. Two years after that we will be out. I don’t know if that means a Hard Brexit or not, but I do believe the sooner talk of delays, second referendums and Soft Brexits stops, the better Brexit will be for everyone.
At an election rally in the US on Friday night Barack Obama told the crowds they have to stay focussed. He said it over and over again. He’s right. But has he and Hillary been focussing on the right thing?
We’ll find out on Tuesday night.