Who are you? Yes! You! My MEP!

If this is a bit clumsy, forgive me, it has been dictated rather than written due to my recovery from shoulder reconstruction surgery!

What a tawdry state of play. Neither Leave, nor Remain covered themselves in glory with their approach to this momentous decision, not the politicians, the media nor the electorate. And as for the leadership in a wider sense of both Labour & Conservative- utterly pathetic and cowardly. A damning indictment of the state of play in politics in the UK. I mean, I watched PMQs, Cameron has clearly thought, sod you then! Johnson (don’t call him Boris – he’s not your mate, or the nations’ cuddly toy mascot,) wasn’t there, neither were many of the shadow cabinet, as they had abandoned their leader for, well,  the shadows.

I’ll happily state outright that I voted to Remain, but did take my time reviewing the case for and against, family, friends and colleagues were wavering up to the last moment and I suggest that this will have been the case for a great many people. Lots will be written about the whys and wherefores and the future ramifications of this vote- especially as neither side had a plan for what was to happen in the event of a Leave win…ludicrous! I mean, even Baldrick had a plan!

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We seem to have forgotten that our actions impact on others and our politicians have let them down too not just us. This uncertainty and damage to the FTSE etc is global in its impact…but we have no thought to this, or rather our politicians didn’t.

It concerns me to see the bitterness, post result, particularly from Remain voters. Many of these voters are not stupid, not racist, nor the pond life being ascribed to them. Their opinions and vote means just as much as mine. Besides, this deepening entrenchment of people in their position is not going to solve the issue with a back and forth squabble in the playground of “told you so!” What we must do is stand shoulder to shoulder against the imbeciles who have taken this as acceptance of their racist and xenophobic views.

In the last week of the campaign, I felt hugely underinformed, as did many. What exactly does the EU do? How do we benefit? An alternative on the question I ask prospective colleagues is, “what will we miss out on if we don’t employ you?” What exactly could we expect from the EU by remaining…and wow, was the answer difficult to find! And herein lies some of the problem. There is much ambiguity about this and the organisation is about as transparent as the shenanigans at BHS.

I wonder how much of our difficulties lie in our lack of real engagement with Europe over the years? For 30 odd years all I can remember are negative headlines regarding the EU.

I mean, if you travel to some EU countries you see information about redevelopment funded by EU…but not here. I mean, what has the EU ever done for us? https://youtu.be/7Oor7fAmmiQ

Headlines have often taken a jingoistic slant and tapped into same sense of nationalism that Brexit has…

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Politicians from all sides have played the, “don’t blame us, it’s the EU!” Card when it suited them, like a weak deputy head who nods in agreement supinely as they pass on the bad news of an unpopular policy to teachers, with a shrug and apologetic look as if to say, I understand and I quietly agree, but it is what the Head wants.
How much do we know about our MEPs? Do we even know their name?
Do we know how often. They attended the European Commission, which meetings they attended and their record of voting?
How can we be influential in Europe if politicians like Farage attend a minuscule number of votes and miss key ones which pertain to our fishing industry…I mean, he was in the building at the time,  just didn’t take part in debate or vote on an occasion when something was passed that had direct impact on our fishing industry. Our voice was not being heard- we were the silent partners, complaining quietly and politely in the corner but lacking influence because our elected spokespeople didn’t do their job. Britain’s Ukip is Europe’s laziest major political party. Between July 2014 and May 2015, its 23 MEPs have on average participated in only 62.29% of votes in the European parliament, according to data provided by VoteWatch Europe. The Greens and Conservatives are only marginally better! Even Eurosceptic parties from other countries participate in 80%+! And THAT is at least part of why Europe didn’t work as well as it might have for us, and why we felt like we had a sense of loss of sovereignty- real or imagined. How could we hold these politicians to account, when we don’t know them, cannot see their impact or lack of it, and only 20% at an all time low to 34% in 2014 or so bother to vote for them? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/events/vote2014/eu-uk-results
This is a good site for more information, http://www.votewatch.eu/ interesting post Brexit detail that if our media had done their homework properly in the past in run up to MEP elections etc, we might have viewed these elections less like a lowly version of Eurovision and actually like something resembling the importance that they should have had!

Ultimately, we were naive, whether we vote Leave or Remain. As were the politicians who set this up.

We expected the media to report accurately and represent the possible scenarios why?

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Interestingly age plays a role in greater trust of media outlets in the US- wonder if it the same here in UK?

We expected our politicians to act with integrity and to have planned for the two possible outcomes…why?

Outcomes from an Ipsos Mori poll in Jan 16 are interesting but not unexpected!

Just 21% of Britons trust politicians to tell the truth compared with 25% trusting journalists and estate agents and 42% who trust builders. Despite this, the picture for politicians has improved since last year, when just 16% of the public trusted them to tell the truth.

This question has been asked consistently since 1983, making it the longest-running series on trust in key professions in the UK. It shows that public trust in politicians has always been low: at no point since 1983 have more than a quarter of the public ever trusted politicians to tell the truth. The lowest trust score was recorded in 2009 in the wake of the expenses scandal, when only 13% said they trusted politicians. So quite why we expected them to be honest is beyond me. Perhaps it is a self fulfilling prophecy or are our perceptions tainted by satire like Spitting Image, Yes Minister and The Thick of it?

The sad truth is that too many of us didn’t really care until it was too late and we are all a bit to blame for our current state of affairs.

It is time we reengaged fully with politics, hold both politicians and media to account for the duplicity and incompetence.

It is time we cared enough to be fully informed and view politicians and media through a critical eye.

It is time, that we encouraged our young adults and children to be interested in politics and explain why it matters…and perhaps look at 16yr olds being given the vote.

It is time, that we accept that we often get what we vote for and only understand the consequences later- after all, did anyone voting Tory in the last election really foresee this?

Whether or not Article 50 is triggered, we need to approach politics differently as a country…time to start acting on this.

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