Friday, June 03, 2016

Strange Alliances

One thing the EU referendum has done is completely shaken up normal political alliances.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that it is only a bad thing where it has destroyed friendships, made people enemies, or made it harder for people to work together.

A lot of people were upset by the picture of David Cameron, Paddy Ashdown and Neil Kinnock hitting the phone banks together.

I don't see that any of them had anything whatsoever to be ashamed of. Where people agree that something is in Britain's interest, even people who have very different views on most other things,  why should they not work together to try to achieve it?

Ditto Cameron's sharing a platform with the new mayor of London not long after he had criticised Sadiq Khan for sharing other platforms with extremists.

It would be hard to say who was taking the bigger risk - I'm sure most of us can think of at least two or three captions for a Private Eye cover showing the two of them together. But the first person to criticise Khan over this - Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell - was promptly made to look silly by people who plastered pictures of McDonnell himself sharing platforms with various Tories all over Twitter. (He's to the right in the picture with Zac and Boris below - only in the locational sense, obviously.)

And former Labour MP Tom Harris found himself defending a Tory PM in the Telegraph here.

It does, of course, apply to both Remain and Leave supporters. A whole group of mostly very right-wing Tory and UKIP supporters found themselves expected to cheer George Galloway at a GO event and people from that part of the political spectrum have found themselves working with Labour MPs like Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart.

It has also been interesting to see whose views on Brexit have not been what I would have expected.

There have been two or three people who I would never in a million years to be backing Leave who are doing so, and two or three who I had been certain would be Leave supporters who are backing Remain.

Perhaps that shows that I didn't know them as well as I thought I did, though an alternative explanation is that people are both more complex that we sometimes give each other credit for, and can change their minds.

Part of me, for similar reasons to the ones Ashley Fox gives here, will be very glad when the referendum is over, whichever way it goes.

Another part has found the opportunity to see people in a different light quite fascinating

1 comment:

Jim said...

The thing thats stood out to me most about the run up to this referendum is how poor our establishment are at holding a debate. I am also very aware that they are also totally disengaged from the public.

Really "the debate" is taking place, but its taking place online, social media and the blogs.

The "main stream" though perhaps that is the wrong word as they cetainly are not "Main steam" campaigns, are pretty much just a muppet show on the side lines. Most people are ignoring them now, and asking a question or sparking up a conversation on each topic online.

The, lets use, "establishment" campaigns, have pretty much been relegated to horoscope in the news paper status. Most people ignore them, some people have a read of their own, but no one takes them seriously anymore. If it was the USA they would have to come with a note saying "they are for entertainment only"

Its just a shame that internationally the UK is looking like a bit of an "idiocracy" thanks to their actions.