There are lots of articles on Brexit today, one year before the leaving date. But most of them blame half the UK population for voting “the wrong way.”
They will say how the other half were stupid, manipulated, ignorant, angry, complacent, and so on. Followed by, “if only they had realised …” the lie about £350million a week to the NHS, the manipulation of Facebook and Twitter, the conspiracy of big business, the false promises, and so on.
I disagree. Two years on, we need to start an honest conversation with people we don’t happen to agree with. It doesn’t have to be long, technical or detailed.
My summary is:
1. The people voted half in, half out. And after all we have learnt since polling day, this sentiment has not changed much at all. Another referendum would also be half in, half out.
2. We need to respect every vote, not just the votes of people who agreed with us. Until we do so, the divisions across the UK will continue to fester: urban and rural, richer and poorer, younger and older, north and south.
3. So, we need to become a half member of the EU, like the people of Norway agreed years ago. We can call it associate membership, which as in any club gives us lower subscriptions and less involvement.
4. And we need to take this honest, inclusive and healing communities approach into the negotiations. So, if the negotiations fail the fall-back isn’t a catastrophic No Deal, the fall-back is a Norway cut snd paste.
5. So, from now on our politicians should negotiate amendments to a Norway cut and paste – maybe less about reindeer programmes say, and more about tweaking financial services, world trade and free movement. Which is actually still quite a hard set of asks.
Half in and half out.
In French, moitié, moitié.
In English, pragmatism.