A few years ago no one would have believed this was possible

Updated: Jun 19, 2020


Rory Stewart is right


We have to leave. I voted to remain, but the country voted to leave. As I have written before, I believe we could have had another referendum after a few months, to reassure ourselves of our decision. But perhaps that window closed long ago. Too much water has flowed under the bridge, and we have to, with as much dignity as we can muster, leave the EU.

Rory Stewart gave a brilliant analogy of a separated couple, likening it to the UK going back into the EU; the man wanted to return to the family home and pick up from where he left off. As Mr Stewart demonstrated in his talk, that kind of situation is, of course, unrealistic. After all that has been said and done, we could not expect the EU to welcome us back into the fold and carry on as if nothing had happened. No sooner are we back, we then start making demands and being obstreperous and difficult to get along with. Under similar circumstances, no wife would accept her husband back into the marital bed, and understandably, the EU would not welcome the UK back either.

We have to leave - but with a deal. We should remain close and friends. We should continue to support each other. That is why Borris Johnson and his scheming cohorts have got it so wrong and utterly misconstrue the tenor of negotiation.

As in life - we have a choice; we can enter negotiations in a confrontational way, or we can enter it in a trusting and agreeable form. There are still plenty of leavers for us to pull in a negotiation, without having the rather childish threat of walking away. 

If a couple decided they no longer wished to live together but wanted to stay close and be friendly and co-operative. If they wished well for each other, they would not hurl insults or deliberately say hurtful things. They would be reasonable and enter their discussions in a caring and positive way. They should be ready to compromise and to be sensitive to the fragilities of the opposing side.

These negotiations should never have been framed as a negotiation with an aggressor. They are negotiations between friends. Some in the EU may be guilty of the same criticism. But in real life, that is how the best and most successful and enduring negotiations take place. It always ultimately gets down to honesty and trust. Honesty and Trust. Two words of which too many leaders today fail to grasp the gravitas of their meaning.

Truth is stranger than fiction


Why are we so surprised at the way some leaders behave? All my life experience, including the history I have studied, warns me, as I write this, of what is taking place today. We are treading on dangerous ground, and while some of us are aware of this, it seems that lots aren't.  It is difficult to fathom how our collective turmoil arose, both here in the UK and the US. I find it difficult to understand how any fair-minded, decent human being could endorse the values of President Trump or Prime Minister Johnson. And in questioning, nearly three years ago, the fact that Trump was ever elected President; it never dawned on me that the same thing could happen in the UK. And yet, here we are. We have Prime Minister Johnson.

They say that sometimes in progress, you may take a couple of steps backwards in the process of going forward. I do hope this is just a blip in our history and we have not sunk into some "Dark Age" of modern humanity.

I also find it curious, while unconnected, the parallels that appear; the morality of both the leaders of the US and the UK are simultaneously being questioned publicly. This can only be a good thing. Our situation here in the UK is viewed by some who glibly say we are living in interesting times. I think we are in tumultuous and possibly dangerous times. We are, if I believed it, on the verge of a coup. 

It is our leadership - or rather our lack of leadership that has lead us to this, coupled with our collective failure to compromise.

And by leadership, I do not just mean the President or Priminister, but all those involved in the policy and decision-making process. Either they have not been decisive and made their voices heard or they have been ignored. And no doubt some are too passive to be in the positions they are.

I cannot believe I am saying this - but I, a loyal UK national and resident, would almost advocate a coup. It appears we have left the rails of civility and progress and diverted our country down a cul-de-sac of self-harm.

I recall clearly, a poor young person who was in a hospital bed next to mine and had been doing precisely that - self-harming. They were in desperate need of help and had everything to live for and a bright future ahead. They just needed help to understand that. 

I have no idea of what happens next, but I do know that when you have poison in the body, you have to get rid of it if you want to survive. The next two and a half weeks here in the UK will be all-telling for our democracy. 

Our only hope is that the men and women who we have elected, are up to the task of defeating the dark forces that have ascended in our nation. I believe the same can also be said for the USA.

Jo Swinson changed my mind.


Feeling politically homeless - I thought I would vote for the Liberal Democrats. But then, their new, young and brash leader, Jo Swinson decided to switch tack. She proclaimed that the LDP would revoke article Fifty, thus rescinding the vote to leave if they won the forthcoming election. Speaking as someone who voted to remain, this seems utterly wrong on every level. It is not democratic. More people voted to leave the EU than have voted in any past national vote, and certainly more than will ever vote for the Liberal Democrats. 

Suffice to say; I could no longer contemplate voting for the Liberal Democratic Party. But who?


Rick - Suffolk - UK - 28th September 2019


rick@notesfromengland

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