Emotive Subjects

Whenever someone utters the word ’emotive subject’, you can safely wager that what they really mean to say is ‘everyone just calm down, please’. Or ‘this topic is probably best avoided’. The subject will often be about money, religion or politics. Or a rage inducing mix of all three. Brexit is an emotive subject. Exceedlingly so. Partly because of the money angle – we’re going to be poorer. And almost everyone, on both sides of the debate, now agrees on that point. But Brexit is emotive beyond the financial implications it will have upon our lives.

Like most people my age, I was brought up on an ideological diet of British exceptionalism, maintained in part through xenophobic denigration of our European neighbours. For an all too brief decade or two, within the EU, we became an open, inclusive and outward looking nation. A place where casual prejudice was called out, not embraced. And yet here we are in 2018, turning inward and looking backward yet again. A place where bigotry is once more being normalised and accepted as part of British life.

I stood at the stern of the ferry, gazing back at Cherbourg as we sailed away from the French coast. I watched the Tricolour flap in the wind. And I thought to myself, “I rather wish I were French”. And I further thought, “I’m probably not the only one”. How did it come to this? Well, Brexit is an emotive subject. Shall we talk about something else for a while?




14 thoughts on “Emotive Subjects

  1. Your post expressed so well my feelings regarding Brexit. Why is this madness permitted to continue? Can it be stopped? Expressing one’s opinion seems so futile at present. All we can do is hope for the best and carry on with our lives.


    • It seems to me that it’s a battle between bitter older folk looking back at a ficticious past versus a younger generation who choose to look forward with a sense of optimism.

      And there’s a huge injustice in that battle. The baby boomers have already done their bit to leave the next generation in a swamp of debt and inequality. And in a last hurrah, they have chosen to make themselves poorer* for the rest of their natural lives just so they can enforce their unpopular and unwanted will on the country’s youth one more time.

      And there’s also an irony in this. I have no doubt we’ll rejoin the EU at some stage. Five years? Ten years? Twenty years at most. And we’ll rejoin without the opt-outs we currently enjoy. Schengen and the single currency are mandatory for new members. I look forward to seeing the old timers that survive struggling with cents and euros.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I just fall outside the baby boomer generation by a whisker having been born in 1965, but I agree, I know people of my generation and older who voted ‘out’ – and there was nothing you could say to change their minds leading up to the vote. They were utterly blinkered. I think a few have since realised their mistake – that’s one of the main reasons I support a second referendum.

        Yes, I agree, it’s quite likely we will end up back in the EU at some point. It’s all such a monumental waste of time and money when we should be tackling really important issues like the environment!


        • I know people of my generation and older who voted ‘out’ – and there was nothing you could say to change their minds leading up to the vote. They were utterly blinkered.

          The conversations I’ve had with Leavers are always a farce. Just a lot of nonsense about muslims, their own misunderstanding of EU democracy, wacky conspiracy theories and visions of a rosy yet entirely ficticious past. And none of them will ever provide an actual, real life example of where the EU screws up. And there are perfectly good examples. The ludicrous to and fro that goes on between Brussels and Strasbourg is a good one.

          …that’s one of the main reasons I support a second referendum.

          Contrary to many Leavers opinions, the real affront to democracy would be to not have a second referendum. Or specifically, a referendum offering the choice between Remain and The Deal. There is ample evidence that the electorate has changed its mind and to proceed further would be in defiance of the ‘will of the people’. Referendums can be irrevocable or they can be democratic. They can’t be both.

          More importantly, it is clear that what was ‘promised’ in the Leave campaign bears no relation whatsoever to what is going to be delivered. If I ordered fillet steak in a restaurant and was served roadkill, I’d like the option to send it back.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. norm says:

    I did not think Trumper had a snowball’s chance in hell to be our executive officer. I did not think the leave vote would prevail so my pronosacation record is a bit tarnished but I still think in the end, your government will decide to find a way to stay in the EU, Article 50 or not. Half full always.


    • I didn’t underestimate Trump. I overestimated the American people. Bigotry and suspicion won the day. The latter was interesting. Clinton wasn’t popular, clearly. There were a few good reasons. But by and large, it seems to me that she was done over by a gullible public swallowing some of the most absurd conspiracy theories. I read intelligent folk repeating demonstrable nonsense that was clearly influencing their thought processes. SAD!


    • Trump and Brexit do not speak for all of us. Yet they both say an awful lot about the people that chose them. And what they say is a sorry tale. We’re not the peoples I once believed us to be. We’re anything but exceptional in any positive sense.

      Viva la France.
      (Who also struggle with their demons, but have thus far kept them contained).


  3. “I rather wish I were French.” Good grief, man. Stiffen that upper lip. I might as well say, I rather wish I were Californian. I may need ti fly over and conduct an intervention.


    • Last night I awoke Mrs P at 3 am, talking French in my sleep. This morning, Amazon delivered the entire collection of Voltaire. I don’t even recollect ordering it.

      The situation is serious, Steve.


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