A Plea to Britain – We can bring this country back together again

 

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By Danny Bowman, Head of Campaigns at Parliament Street

The current climate of division we find ourselves in has many roots and can’t be solved easily. We have seen the last two years cause a division among our citizens; a division between those who voted to remain in the European Union and those who voted to leave. We see these divisions cast out around the country between families, friends and communities. These divisions have made some people I speak to come to the opinion that Britain is broken, unable to repair itself and incapable of moving past the referendum result. I take a different view, politics is broken, but Britain and its people are not. It is this reason why I don’t see the country coming back together through any parliamentary outcome, but through the power of people being able to see past their differences and come together. The thing that’s always been so special about our countries is our ability to come together when it matters and is in the common-interest. I am not writing this blog post to argue for any Brexit outcome, but for something bigger and heartier, the ability of this country and its citizens to come back together.

I want to use this blog post to make a plea to the people of Britain to come together and bring the UK back in line with the values that make our group of nations what it is.

The referendum of two years ago unearthed the simmering disheartenment among many people who felt left behind, voiceless and in dire need of change. This disheartenment was not just caused by a view on the European Union, but by lots of different domestic issues including a lack of quality employment, the reduction in hope among citizens to be able to pull themselves up out of deprivation and the ability to live a better life. These issues are still very potent across the UK and we can only address them by coming together. We have so many issues other than Brexit in this country; the social care crisis, housing, transport, mental healthcare, poverty, inequality and jobs.

The Brexit debate will not last forever, the posters and flags will come down and the rhetoric will mellow. Although, the division will not go away unless we address it head on and take our responsibility as citizens seriously to listen to one another and move forward a stronger, more tolerant and prouder nation.

It is no secret that I’m a remainer and a proud one at that, but I also have friends who voted leave and are equally impassioned by what they believe is best for this country. We disagree on many issues surrounding Europe, but one thing that has recently brought us together is our recognition of all the other issues being ignored in Britain and we have a common-consensus to address them together.

When I recently sat down with these friends in a weekly pub version of debate night we didn’t discuss Brexit, we discussed potential solutions to improving mental healthcare for young people, about HS2, jobs and social care. The mood seemed very different, it was like we had come to a realisation that there are current-affairs issues other than Brexit. I have to say this was the best pub discussion I have had in a long time. In addition, we weren’t remainers or leavers anymore, but passionate friends having a good debate about the issues that matter to us. This is where I want the group of countries we call Britain to be after all of this.

In conclusion, we have always been a group of countries that can see past our differences and find common-ground. So, whether we as individuals see ourselves as British, European or anything else. It doesn’t matter, what is important is how we manage our identities and allow ourselves to maintain our ability to understand those who have a different view to our own. No parliamentary vote, Brexit deal or 2nd referendum can solve our divisions; the only action that will solve these divisions is by the people of this country coming together and reaching for common-ground.

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