The time for anger, accusations, and crossed lines must conclude in the Remain camp.
If you are an avid follower of the heavy hitters of anti-Brexit campaigns, you will have noticed a particularly strong current of anger that has burst forth over the last few days.
The essentials of the argument are not as inconsequential as some would believe, and activists have poured onto their keyboards in defence of their beliefs. Such is ‘Twitter-politics’. But this policy threatens more than many are arguing, and it is time to sort that.
From a personal perspective, the arguments of both sides are hugely important to the success of anti-Brexit campaigns. But as many have pointed out, if we are to protest against this destructive era, we must remember what we are fighting for.
I’m a huge admirer of Prof. Tanja Bueltmann and the campaigning teams of British in Europe and The3Million groups who are at enormous risk from Brexit. As Tanja has pointed out, in the event of a bad deal or no deal which does not guarantee EU citizens’ rights, five million people in the UK and EU will have protections and rights revoked.
As a budding historian and academic, I hope to be writing in universities, which will equally lose huge talent from Brexit. The consequences are unthinkable, and they are forced to consider the future in a way many British nationals in the UK would never dream of.
Now, it’s true that immigration and xenophobia have formed the ugly centre of Brexit debates. It’s easy to miss that people’s lives are in limbo when the major campaigns are failing to mention the potential tragedies. The Remain campaign has sadly followed this line of thought, with major People’s Vote ‘manifesto’ bullet points neglecting the lives of five million people. Even more so, it is important to reflect on the cost of campaign rhetoric over basic human decency. Because of this, many who are under threat or who have already been severely affected by Brexit, are understandably frustrated with the tactics and motives of campaigners.
The methods used by Remain in the 2016 referendum campaign were flawed and dismissive of the human cost of Brexit. Economics overpowered the debate, and left people without representation or guidance. I watched news footage on the morning after the referendum declaration and saw people weeping and consoling each other, whilst many Leave activists were amazed at their swindle.
The methods we as People’s Vote/Remain campaigners must use now need to address these issues of humanity rather than just prosperity. It is impossible for me to comprehend the absolute hell that many are experiencing. I do not want to belittle through comparison or sympathy either. I am shouting united with every affected person, because this path will hurt all of us - and some much more than most.
Criticism has been stated that some are delegitimising the campaign through obscure or alternative methods. Here’s my opinion: whatever tactic or platform is used to demonstrate the political will of this movement can succeed much better if the messages behind the curtain are not ignored.
On a moral basis, the Remain campaign cannot ignore the very real dangers to people across the continent. Brexit will be a disaster no matter what path is taken. But there are many who have more to lose from such upheaval.
This feud is damaging and hurtful to all voices in the Remain campaign. It’s not a pointless or distracting exercise, as it is vital to reflect on our own motivations for campaigning and compare to others.
I’m no diplomat or treaty salesman. But the time for anger, accusations, and crossed lines must conclude.
People are right to believe in the strength of the Remain moral argument. But the basis of all liberal democracy is respect and tolerance – which after nearly three years of fighting and shouting, this country needs desperately. This is more than just GDP and hard borders. It’s about humanity and life.🔷
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(This is an original piece, first published by the author in PoliticsMeansPolitics.com)