Monday 27 June 2016

What Boris has to do before anything else

One of the key moments I remember from politics in my twenties was when Harold Macmillan, then the aged Earl of Stockton, intervened in the miners' strike, to the rage of the Thatcher government, in a speech in the House of Lords. "This terrible strike," he called it, "by the best men in the world." Those, as he put it, who had stood up to the Kaiser and then stood up to Hitler as well.

It was electrifying partly because it was such a stark contrast with the prevailing narrative of the time.

One of the clear implications of the shock referendum vote was that it emphasised, almost beyond everything else, the need to bring the best men and women in the world in from the cold. Starting, it seems to me, by treating the result with some degree of respect.

I said in a blog, when I was still as emotionally bejiggered as everyone else, that I had a gut feeling that the future belonged to whoever could interpret and explain the result in the most liberal, open-minded way possible.

To do him credit, that is exactly what Boris Johnson did on Friday, while Tim Farron still had Jeremy Corbyn by the throat.

And a brief digression on this. I can understand, for example, why the knee-jerk reaction of the Lib Dems is to put out a campaign based on representing the 48 per cent. But I see no great future in just representing the defeated half, without understanding and incorporating some of the concerns of the winning half - especially as so many of those former Lib Dem places were very firmly for Leave (Cornwall springs to mind).

Again, if we want to go beyond the current impasse, we have to be able to discern the Liberalism amongst some of the 52 per cent as well as the 48 per cent. More on that at a later date.

I spent the weekend with rather damp camping expedition in the New Forest with two families, one of whom is part of the great multinational experiment of South London that I hailed as such a success in my book Broke.

There is hardly a street where you can't find more than a few people from Europe and beyond who have accepted our implicit invitation to make their lives in this tolerant place, and who are making a huge contribution - teaching, in the NHS, as school secretaries, holding down maybe two or three jobs each to pay the rent.

Their fears about their future this weekend have not been heard. To live up to his rhetoric, Boris needs to immediately make a commitment to them - or those who are most effective will start making plans to return over the summer, unsure what kind of nation we are about to become.

And the consequences of them departing are serious. So, say something now, Boris. History is waiting.

See my book on the Southern Railways disaster too, now on sale for £1.99 (10p goes to Railway Benefit Fund).

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Oh, la, la said...

Boris is in a bate cave right now, going Walter E. Kurtz but keeping his back to the wall.
Napalm is coming, and the knives.
History will remenber him as a shyster.

I am French, My opinion is WTF ? That was a smart move?

Barney said...

Two points. Firstly we weren't always a part of the EU. The world didn't explode then, and it won't now, not that our (self-appointed) "leaders" have any intention of allowing us to leave their gravy train.

Secondly, there was ample evidence to suggest that last year's general election was rigged, but we didn't have the press screaming then to overturn the result.

Unless there is overwhelming evidence of fraud, we accept the result of a public vote, whether we like it or not, so why should this be any different?

The people have spoken, but politicians and their professional mouthpieces are now saying we're ignorant and uninformed, so our opinions don't matter.

The result WILL be overturned by those who oppose true democracy, but before doing so they should read Kipling's "The wrath of the awakened Saxon". They've treated us like dirt for too long, and our anger continues to build toward the inevitable backlash. This is our country, and sooner or later we will take it back from the descendants of Cromwell's traitors.

Oh, la la said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Oh, la la said...

Would an eye roll have been more acceptable?