The cultural loss from Brexit

As a 20 year old, I stood up in a French classroom, to teach children two years younger than me, it was literally life changing. I have gone on to live abroad three more times, speak two other languages, marry someone from another continent and work in multinational companies where I get to travel the world. I want these opportunities for my children, but fear that due to the selfishness of the older generation, that things will never be the same after Brexit.

Living overseas gives you a fresh perspective, it helps you to learn how to deal with other cultures in the work place and to cope with change. All of these things make us more rounded as individuals and working in business, understanding how other nationalities tick is vital to building cross border relationships and managing negotiations.

One of the biggest risks of Brexit is that it spells the death of the Erasmus scheme for British students. This is a great pity as it will mean that thousands of students may never get the experience I had. We must fight with every breath to make sure that British students can stay inside Erasmus.

An obvious additional benefit of living abroad is learning another language. Nigel Farage complains about people speaking other languages on the train, while his wife no doubt speaks German to the kids. Priti Patel jumped on the bandwagon about the cost of educating children with at least one EU parent. Yet neither can think of the positives of cultural integration. I will never forget the day we were told in 1981 by my headmistress, that we would have a new boy in our class who was black and how he was not different. Now my children go to school with other pupils who have parents from France, Switzerland, Japan, China, Germany, South Africa and Poland. The world has changed but now we have senior politicians who want to return us to 1981. Many of those Brexiteers have never lived abroad or bothered to learn another language. Just because they never exercised their chance to live in Europe why does that give them the right to deny that chance to the younger generations ?

I hope that their tardis never arrives and that we remain a country where my kids can mix with the United Nations from a young age. No matter how hard we have to try, we the Liberal Democrats must continue to remind people that we are a mongrel nation and that is what makes us great.

* Chris Key is dad of two girls, multilingual and internationalist. He is a Lib Dem member in Twickenham who likes holding the local council and MPs to account.

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63 Comments

  • Rightsaidfredfan 26th Jul '16 - 9:06am

    The older generation weren’t “selfish” they just had a different opinion to yourself, alienating older voters by branding them “selfish” isn’t likely to win you any votes.

    Also remember that the older generation might be right, they have the wisdom that comes with age on their side and are the only people who can actually remember life outside the EU so they have that to compare it to as well.

  • Hello Chris,

    I enjoyed reading your article. However, I do take offense at your comment about the selfishness of older people and the suggestion that we are where we are because of them. I think it is a bit more complicated than that. In addition and as you are aware many young people did not take up the opportunity to vote in the recent EU referendum. Additionally, although I agree that the Erasmus scheme is a wonderful opportunity it does from my experience appear to cost an alarming amount. May I suggest that this is because it is being paid for by the EU and is an example of a lack of cost scrutiny/accountability. Indeed, it is this lack of accountability that will sadly and in the end be the EU’s undoing. The U.K. has simply been the first country out of the stocks.

  • John Peters 26th Jul '16 - 9:12am

    Of France, Switzerland, Japan, China, Germany, South Africa and Poland more than half are not in the EU. The EU is restricted to a portion of Europe.

  • Robert Wootton 26th Jul '16 - 9:23am

    If we believe in democracy we must respect the wishes of the 17 million who voted to live the EU. However as an internationalist party, perhaps we should have a manifesto commitment to establish a United Kingdoms of Independent Nation States. The cohesive common factor amongst these states, including GB, is the establishment in law a P.O.S.I.WI.D. Liberal economic system that has justice and freedom and its concomitant, in my view, of a reduction of income inequality as its designed output.

    A new transnational organisation must respect the rights of independent states to operate according to their own rules. The condition of membership being the existence in their own law of a fair and just economic system.

  • @ Chris Key “I fear that due to the selfishness of the older generation, that things will never be the same after Brexit”.

    As a remain voter, and a Liberal Party member since 1961 – I find the ageism of Chris Keys’ remark illiberal and unacceptable……. just as I find the implied inverse ageism in Rightsaidfred’s comment illiberal and unacceptable.

  • Yvonne Finlayson 26th Jul '16 - 9:32am

    Whilst I found myself nodding to some of what you have written, I did twitch a bit at the “many have never lived abroad or bothered to learn another language.” Thankfully both international travel and languages were made available to me through support from my employers. Unfortunately the same opportunities were not made available to many of my classmates, nor to a large proportion of the young people I work with today. There is the argument that they should be proactive and just do it, however without a supportive environment and the funds it’s tough.

    I joined the Lib Dems as I am fully committed to the values that no-one shall be “enslaved by poverty and ignorance”. I contrast this to the Brexit posts focused around the apportionment of blame – with little consideration as to why Leavers voted in the manner in which they did or where the political parties failed, as a direct result of their policy decisions, in making opportunities open for everyone.

  • Change can be scary, but everything changes. A couple of years down the line those who feel discombobulated by the Leave vote will adapt fine and in many cases may even embrace those changes.

  • Alex Thomas 26th Jul '16 - 9:51am

    I actually agree with 95% of what Chris has written and I am old enough to remember life “outside the EU”. I remember power cuts, double digit inflation (and interest rates) and constant strikes (Brexiteers never mention these..). My family moved to Belgium in 1974 and most British people living there at the time referred to the UK as a “S***hole”, which, to be fair, compared to life on the continent, wasn’t far from the truth. Over the next decade, within the EU, the UK changed massively for the better. What Chris is saying is that to be a world leading nation our citizens need to be engaged, not just with the English speaking world, but with the rich diversity of cultures on our doorstep. I have a company which is currently suffering due to Brexit as most of our orders come from multinationals who operate across the EU. In order to build relationships with other countries and trading blocs , It is crucial that UK citizens learn languages, live and study in foreign countries and learn about other European cultures. It is not being ageist to say that the older generation voted us out of the EU and are depriving young people of the very conditions under which they accumulated their wealth. Brexit is very, very bad for the intellectual, cultural and economic future of this country. I, for one, hope that something can be done to bring us to our senses. Companies in the UK have spent decades building relationships and contractual relationships with customers across the EU. It is suicidal folly to think these can be replaced by “trade deals with China” etc. Trade deals take years and we would need to then build a customer base. It would be much better to stay united withIN THE EU and keep fighting for reform where necessary.

  • nigel hunter 26th Jul '16 - 9:56am

    People from abroad come to live here. They have their own language and one way or another learn English. I therefore admire a person who has endeavoured, at any age, to learn another language. The choice to learn another languages should be taught at school . Maybe , important languages as, for example, German, Mandarin should be on the ‘to do’ list in schools. Many years ago this ‘older generation’ chap was given the opportunity of learning French at school. Language learning should be encouraged right across the generations and in all schools to assist Brits to become outward looking

  • Rightsaidfredfan :
    “Also remember that the older generation might be right, they have the wisdom that comes with age on their side and are the only people who can actually remember life outside the EU so they have that to compare it to as well…..”

    Please explain what was better “outside the EU” ? Maybe WW1, WW2 ? I can see nothing but an entirely enriching experience which has brought a certain level of peace and stability. The EU is NOT just economic. It is being part of something unique with other European nations. We are now cutting ourselves off.

    Anne
    “Additionally, although I agree that the Erasmus scheme is a wonderful opportunity it does from my experience appear to cost an alarming amount”.

    Is that the only way you measure such an important cultural experience for young people which is also incredibly important for the future of our nation ? Maybe we should stop funding education altogether ?

  • Eddie Sammon 26th Jul '16 - 10:05am

    It’s not fair to speak of the selfishness of the older generation.

    I knew brexit might win because as someone considering moving to France within the next couple of years I didn’t feel fear that leaving the EU would stop this. Working visas for skilled people are not going to stop and even if they do, well, big deal I’ll probably move back to London instead.

    About students: universities all over Europe are investing into English language courses. There’s going to be no ban on English students, although there might be some effect, but overall I think the talk of “stealing the young’s future” is really overblown, unless you were planning on working for the EU.

  • My youngest son starts his BA in European Economics at Kent University with a year studying Econometrics at the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid. Like all my family he speaks a number of languages, in his case French, Spanish and Russian. He has no illusions. He accepts that he will have to leave this country and move abroad as he firmly believes we will have very limited opportunities for him.
    I’m afraid our talented young people will vote again. With their feet.

  • Author speaks of how EU benefitted him.

    Speaks of how EU might benefit his children.

    Makes no comment on costs of EU membership to any other social group (presumably no-one ever lost out?)

    Claims opponents were selfish in their vote.

    I know I have straw-manned your post Chris and I don’t really mean too. You certainly raise common views with some legitimacy. I just wish ‘remainers’ could accept the possibility of rational disagreement in how others voted and that leaving a particular political group need not mean isolationism. We should fighting for an Internationalist Brexit – as others are.

  • David Evershed 26th Jul '16 - 11:00am

    As one of the older generation I can reassure Chris Key that before the UK joined the EEC (since become the EU) we had schools exchange students with France and I worked in a West German factory with no need for a work permit.

    No reason why the same should not happen again when we leave the EU.

  • Rightsaidfredfan 26th Jul '16 - 11:17am

    @David Raw you found my “implied inverse ageism” offensive?

    All I said was that the older voters have the wisdom that comes with age on their side and can also remember a time when we were not in the EU and had that to compare it to when making their decision. Is that what you object to? Me saying that a life time of experience will most likely make someone wiser than most young people are now? Is saying people generally get wiser as they get older a form of ageism? I rather think most people would call that a fact.

    Puzzled by you saying it’s “unacceptable” though. It’s perfectly acceptable, there is nothing remotely illegal in me expressing such an opinion and I therefore have every right to say it. It can’t simply be shutdown by branding it as “unacceptable”, unacceptable to whom David?

    I sincerely believe that while the young often have energy, optimism and enthusiasm on their side they generally lack the sort of wisdom that can usually only be gained from a life time of living and therefore the opinions of older voters should not be ignored as they might be right and that it’s perfectly OK for people to say this. Unacceptable to you OK, but still a perfectly OK opinion to express nevertheless right?

  • We can have as many of these whinging and bleating articles as we like about how us latte sipping middle class have done well out of the EU, and now those nasty, stupid, poor and old people have spoiled our fun.

    Here’s the thing ,.. if 30 years worth of establishment political class had listened much earlier and done something to alleviate the issues that the working class were shouting about, this might not have happened. Feel free to bleat to your heart’s content, but you simply have no right to complain because you [collectively], turned your face away and ignored them, and now the establishment and their praetorian middle class apologists are reaping what they sowed.

    What I’m still waiting to hear from politicians is what are you (in real practical terms), going to do to re-set the societal balance more fairly.? In the mean time its good riddance to an oppressive EU that only ever functioned for the privileged few.

  • “I have a company which is currently suffering due to Brexit as most of our orders come from multinationals who operate across the EU”
    I keep reading comments about this, that or the next thing affected by a Brexit that has not happened yet. All we had is a referendum! If you are losing orders it is a pre-existing fault of your company and you are just looking for excuses.

    Similarly any decline in UK growth (that started in 2014) is only symptomatic of the fact that the mini-boom was only based on housing price rises (thanks to Osborne ponying up for house deposits); ie exactly what fooled the economists last time around. The UK problem is that it is not balancing its books because it is not manufacturing enough in the first place while spending beyond its means. If the Brexit vote brought these facts into sharper relief then halleluyah – It’s about time! Stop blaming Brexit (or the EU) for our own problems please!

    Also any one who assumes that trade with Europe must cease because the UK comes out of the EU is living in cloud-cuckoo land. At most under WTO rules we have to pay a 4% tariff to sell and so do they to sell to us. So there is not even any need for any further deals! Hence why china and the USA can still trade with the EU easily. But if there were a need for deals then 12 countries are currently waiting in the wings, some of whom were stymied by EU procrastination.

    Lastly as someone who speaks 3 languages and has lived and worked in Europe I am also qualified to opine that the author is blinkered in assuming that the vote to leave the inflexible and detached EU Federalisation project was a vote to stop dealing or mixing with the rest of Europe. Common sense will eventually win out and folk will wonder in 2 years time just what the EU was supposed to be good for.

  • J Dunn : “In the mean time its good riddance to an oppressive EU that only ever functioned for the privileged few.”

    Please explain how the EU has only ever functioned for the privileged few ? In what way is this any more true than the way that the UK has only ever functioned for the privileged few ? My experience of the EU from 25+ years living in Belgium, France and Italy is that these countries have FAR more socially progressive societies than the UK. I realy fail to see how the EU is in any the cause of our society’s issues.

  • JamesG : “I keep reading comments about this, that or the next thing affected by a Brexit that has not happened yet. All we had is a referendum! If you are losing orders it is a pre-existing fault of your company and you are just looking for excuses.”

    1) What do you mean “we only had a referendum”. Are you suggesting the result can be ignored ? This is a massive, constitutional-changing event with massive consequences.

    2) We are losing orders because we depend on marketing budgets which are being put on hold due to Brexit uncertainty. We have been growing for 12 years steadily and until May 2016 our books were full. How on earth is this due to a “pre-existing fault of your company”. Have you not read that investment in UK projects has been falling dramatically since this vote ? IT is a FACT and our company is at the frontline. Also with regards to your comments re WTO, I guess you are unaware that business conditions were tough before Brexit. Do you really think that having to add 4% (or more) to goods and services will help us to compete ? What world do you live in ?

  • jedibeeftrix 26th Jul '16 - 12:19pm

    “Many of those Brexiteers have never lived abroad or bothered to learn another language”

    I grew up in Malawi, my sister was born there. My wife is Polish, and child growing up in a bilingual household. My brother lives in Germany, and uncle in Italy. Half my friends finnish, polish, french, american and canadian.

    I voted Leave, not because I was fearful of the future, or because I have an inward looking disregard for our european and world history. No, I voted Leave because i don’t recognise a shared political identity as an EU citizen. Because I believe the lack of which has bred a toxic institution that is poisoning its more integrated members. Because the goal of increasing harmony and cooperation between nations has, post Maastricht, begun working in reverse.

    Any cultural loss now results from continued membership, not the choice to exit a mishapen institution.

  • The other point you could make about this article and the notion of cultural loss is that if the central premise is that Brexiteers are attempting to turn back the clock, surely a symptom of cultural loss; then why is this supposed to be less meaningful than Remnants trying to regain their cultural loss?
    Personally, I think people judged the EU, found it lacking and more of them voted leave than to remain. Age, background and such as like being relatively unimportant beyond maybe young people being more indoctrinated into thinking the EU is more noble than it is. Most of them did not even vote and the figures only rise if you extend the idea of youth to include people in their mid – late thirties. Most youngsters proved to be indifferent based on the evidence.

  • Um. This idea that ‘turning the clock back’ is a bad thing…

    Surely, if you think that we have spent the last thirty, or however many, years going in the wrong direction, then ‘turning the clock back’ is exactly what you should be trying to do?

    If you think you took a wrong turn, you won’t end up in the right place if you keep on pushing forwards: you have to first go back to the junction before you can then take the correct path.

  • Alex Thomas
    “Are you suggesting the result can be ignored “.
    No I am stating the FACT that nothing has happened YET and is not likely to happen for about 2 years. Hence freezing development budgets now its the utmost folly which has nothing to do with Brexit.
    “We have been growing for 12 years steadily and until May 2016 our books were full. How on earth is this due to a “pre-existing fault of your company”.
    I remember 2008 when everyone stopped buying for no good reason because of Lehman brothers. Buying then resumed after 6 months. If your people cannot negotiate the way that the rest of us can then that’s your fault. Many businesses have reported in the press that all it took was a few calm words with their buyers that there was no need for panic. If your product is good and your service is better then folk will stick with you.
    “I guess you are unaware that business conditions were tough before Brexit”
    On the contrary I stated that is actually the main problem and that folk are just using the Brexit vote (not even Brexit which has still NOT happened) as an excuse.
    “you really think that having to add 4% (or more) to goods and services will help us to compete ?”
    Happily it is counterbalanced by the 15% fall in the previously overvalued pound. You should in fact be selling more as a lot of other exporters are currently reporting!
    “What world do you live in ?”
    Well in my business we sell in US dollars regardless of the end user. Currency fluctuations, ridiculous VAT charges and excessive regulations forced on us by the blundering EU are somewhat more important than a 4% reciprocal tariff!

  • Tony Greaves 26th Jul '16 - 1:17pm

    The result must not be ignored. It was no more than one poll at one moment, it certainly did not represent the settled will of the British people, and it must be overturned.

    (That is of course what the Leavers would now be saying if the result had gone the other way).

  • Tony Greaves,
    The difference is if the result were the other way round we would still be in the EU and Leave would continue to campaign to exit whilst accepting the result. Remain seem to expect to stay in the EU despite the result. No one is saying that say in that in the future there won’t be another referendum to re join, but the thing is it should be after we’ve left.
    All democratic decision are no more than a poll by your definition and as a Leaver this one most definitely does reflect my settled decision. I’m beginning to think their is some truth in the charge of anti-democratic sore-losers amongst some in the remain camp.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Jul '16 - 1:39pm

    Chris refers to culture , but the whole point of why the EU has not won the hearts of a nation , any,in fact , but only the wallets and heads on the whole , is its obsession with economics and the like , and at the expense of culture.The two can go together but are not one.

    Much of what is alluded to in this article is good sensible and heartfelt .But unless we have a more genuinely definite encouragement of cultural links to create cultural awareness , sharing art, music , film , theatre, broadcasting , nobody , or few , care.

    It starts at home. A recent post on here referred to the government downgrading youth issues by placing them now in the Department of Culture , Media and Sport , calling it the ministry of fun.Unless we recognise the value in the arts and creative industries, we barely scratch the surface on international understanding.

    There is a view common , that such things are at best elitist , at worst , irrelevant, and the mistaken notion ,that both belong in the commercial sphere only. My biggest criticism of bodies ranging from the BBC , to many local councils , is they foster this. When did our so called national broadcaster ever bring us seasons of European culture?At least some councils have done that . Where , on television,are the foreign talents , in variety , music or, dance ? On Sky Arts only !The so called Auntie ?They have stopped even showing home grown talent unless it is flavour of the month or commercially huge, like a pop star !

    Until Liberals , or the worst culprits , liberals , stop their complacency and snobbishness, inverted at times too, until they stop their own myopic elitism and denigration based on their own lack of understanding , until they wake up to the need for a social Liberalism that is also a cultural Liberalism , that is not complacent , or dated ,but is appreciative of diversity and history , we shall never win hearts to something people feel little for.

    I am trying to develop such a Liberalism and need political soul mates.

  • Sue Sutherland 26th Jul '16 - 1:59pm

    Two things
    1. The referendum result was, in fact, very close so broad statements of blame about who caused Leave to win really aren’t helpful. I can remember life before the Common Market, the affluence of existing member countries versus our economic woes, the humiliation every time General de Gaulle said Non to our membership, the exhilaration when we finally entered and indeed the excitement of the first Eurovision Song Contest when for the first time several countries were united by the power of TV technology. Of course I voted Remain,
    2. The lifestyle you are describing, Chris, is a very liberal one but there are many people in this country who have been left behind, unable to participate. When you worry about crossing town by bus to visit your Mum and Dad because the only housing you can get is that far away ( and you were lucky to get that) do you think that learning languages and living abroad is a meaningful choice for you? When you are old and ill and have to choose between heating or eating because you only have the state pension to live on, do you think the option of moving to a warmer country is available to you? We live in a deeply divided society and are paying the price for that through the referendum vote. Of course people voted Leave for lots of different reasons, but I think we Lib Dems must be taking up the cause of the dispossessed at the same time as we fight to stay in the EU.

  • @ Lorenzo Cherin & ‘Culture’. Why don’t you tell us what you mean by culture ?

    Your frequent attacks on the BBC – if they ever got any traction (and hopefully they won’t) – would leave a massive cultural deficit in this country – and you produce no evidence whatsoever to back up your rather confused case.

    In fact the BBC makes a massive contribution to the arts and culture in the UK – and on the whole a well informed commentary on news and current affairs

    Have you ever really listened to the range of programmes on Radio 4 and Radio 3, and watched BBC 2 and BBC 4 ? Have you ever been to the Proms sponsored by the BBC or attended a concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra ? Did you know the BBC sponsors a whole range of cultural programmes aimed at schools ?

    Just for starters try looking up this website. BBC – Culture – Art – BBC.com
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/culture/sections/art

    To take the opposite case – do you really want to entrust the cultural life of our country to those media visigoths the Murdochs and the Desmonds ? Do you really want an unvaried diet of cheap trash with overtones of right wing propaganda – because that is what you would get. Try watching the media in the USA and be thankful for what you have still got despite all the machinations of the Whittingdales of this world. Thank goodness Mrs May has got rid of him.

  • Paul Murray 26th Jul '16 - 3:16pm

    @David Raw – indeed. The Proms is one of the jewels of British cultural life and an institution of which the BBC can be rightly proud. I had the great pleasure to be at The Proms last Saturday evening for the performance of Tippett’s “A Child of our Time”.

    Tippett – a lifelong pacifist and socialist – was motivated to write his “secular oratorio” after the murder of a German diplomat in Paris by a 17 year old Polish-German Jewish youth whose parents had been deported by the Nazis. The Nazis used this murder as a pretext for the barbarity of Kristallnacht. Tippett writes “Behold the man! The scape-goat! The child of our time”. I sat stunned as the “Chorus of the self-righteous” sang: “We cannot have them in our Empire. They shall not work, nor draw a dole. Let them starve in No-Man’s Land!”. Tippett’s words echo down the decades to us.

    It is an interesting reflection of the times we live in that I found myself thinking it was “brave” for the BBC to broadcast the piece. The commentary from the conductor drew explicit parallels with contemporary events. I cannot imagine such a heady fusion of high art and incendiary political critique being broadcast anywhere except the BBC.

  • I find it quite distasteful the amount of anti-brexit posts I read. I voted Brexit and the more I hear from Lib Dems telling me I’m Selfish, racist, xenophobic, the less chance I’ll stay a member of the Lib Dems and I’m sure there are many more who feel like this.

    Us Libs are not a one policy party. We have members with many views. What ties us together “was” our tolerance of people with differing views. That seems to be a distant memory now.

  • Andrew McCaig 26th Jul '16 - 10:38pm

    Can we lay to rest this idea touted several times on here that “most youngsters did not choose to vote”

    The often quoted figure of 36% from Sky Data appears to have been made up. The only meaningful figure is 64% of 18-24 year olds. Lower than other age groups but respectable

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/09/young-people-referendum-turnout-brexit-twice-as-high

  • Eddie Sammon 26th Jul '16 - 10:40pm

    People should listen to Alan’s comment. Tim Farron also says similar in the Guardian today saying how he went to an event in Preston where most voted brexit and talking about them negatively like we so often hear from the London based liberals is really not a good idea.

    I’m not anti-London at all, I’m just saying: let’s not morally judge entire regions, directly or indirectly.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Jul '16 - 12:01am

    David Raw

    If , instead of insulting by condescention after having read , barely , but one comment , you had ever bothered to read the actual content of my opinions expressed on the BBC, you would find in me the strongest champion for public broadcasting in Britain bar none ! Just because I support a truly precious and worthwhile content of that same public broadcasting , does not make me someone who , to use your inappropriate word , attacks the BBC. A monopoly worth three plus, plus billion which we are forced to pay for is capable of facing a little criticism.

    I am more than fed up with the insults towards those of us who spend time in the same industry , who see things a little differently to those like you , who are content with paying Graham Norton twenty million from the forced tv licence system that every year imprisons , mainly poor women for non payment

    I am well aware of the joys of the Proms , I have written about it being virtually the only classical music on the BBC tv output , and praised it in this site more than once .I am in favour of the best of everything it does.It does much of everything that is subsidised commercial pandering to the farthest reaches of the ratings and market place . So , which of us is the leftist on this,maybe , me ?!

    I believe the amount of coverage for all the arts I mention , and particularly the work of the hard working , not famous , the ones that labour in the vineeyard unappreciated but talented, is very scant , on tv in general .

    I believe it is time for us to stop paying the salaries of the rich and famous from the public being forced to , and , through the same department of government that funds our national theatre, orchestras and local talent , the department of culture , media and sport, do so for our broadcasting.

    I have many radical ideas , and they are far from laissez faire, but are social Liberal , if you would like to go beyond the insults.

  • Looking at the latest ICM opinion poll this Lib Dem attitude to those who voted Brexit doesn’t seem to be helping. Labour support down to 27% and they all seem to be going straight to the Tories. I shouldn’t be surprised because at the moment that’s what I intend to do and I’ve never voted Tory in my life.

    CON 43% (+4)
    LAB 27% (-2)
    LD 8% -1
    UKIP 13% -1
    GRN 4%

  • On Brexit, this atheist is reminded of the saying “Hate the sin, love the sinner!”

    Many people misguidedly voted Leave because they held very legitimate grievances. The provinces and the working class have been ignored and left behind by the political establishment, the Cameron Tories, and London – based finance and business sectors who work with and support membership of the EU.

    The Leave campaigners came along and swept up the votes of the people with these grievances. They lied that Brexit would reduce competition from immigrants, when they had (and have) every intention of continuing high immigration for the sake of business interests. They lied that there would be no bad economic consequences. They lied that Britain could get a special deal with Europe that would win them everything that Britain wanted.

    For these voters, voting Leave was a mistake. Being suckered into voting against their own best interests was a mistake. But the Remain campaign also made crucial mistakes. It didn’t recognise that the people who voted Leave had real concerns which deserved to be listened to.

    In much the same way, many German voters in the 1930s had perfectly good reasons to resent the way they were being treated. Sadly, only Hitler listened, and he came up with bogus solutions. Boris’s “solutions” aren’t murderous like Hitler’s, but they are also bogus solutions.

    The liars from Leave, and the complacent incompetents from Remain, must share the blame for the national decline which Britain now faces.

  • John Peters 27th Jul '16 - 6:48am

    malc

    Perhaps the strategy of suggesting 30% of your supporters are idiots isn’t a vote winner.

    Never mind, it would be completely different result if we had PR.

    Under PR a Tory+UKIP vote of 56% wouldn’t be enough to Brexit against the opposing 44%. Hang on is my maths faulty.

  • David Evans 27th Jul '16 - 8:05am

    Sadly, another article telling us how simply wrong so many people are who voted Brexit. Apparently “Many of those Brexiteers have never lived abroad or bothered to learn another language.” and ” Just because they never exercised their chance to live in Europe why does that give them the right …”

    I am ashamed, as a Lib Dem who believes that “no-one should be enslaved by conformity” that another Lib Dem should choose to describe other people in such a manner. The implications of the casual sweeping statement ” … could not be bothered … ” is precisely the sort of language that leads to polarisation and alienation. I hope it is retracted.

  • Are the Conservatives the only political party prepared to have a crack at making Brexit successful?

    It is so disappointing that the Lib Dems seem to be intent on resisting / blocking progress towards the exit door and only prepared to focus on getting the UK back into the EU at any cost. If a GE was called tomorrow, I’d be voting Conservative and, at present, have no intention of renewing my membership to a backward looking Lib Dem party.

  • For goodness sake people will still be able to travel to and work in other countries. They’ll simply need a visa and to comply with local rules just like they do in most countries outside of the EU. What will probably be harder is setting up an employment agency in places like Poland to supply temp staff to UK warehouses etc. A lot of these alleged freedoms only date back to 2004. They have plainly lead to resentment and problems, which is one of the many reasons people voted to leave the EU in the first place,

    Andrew McCraig
    It’s one poll of 2000 people. Not proof. And even if it’s remotely accurate, maybe more youngsters voted Leave than was previously thought.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th Jul '16 - 9:11am

    @Paul Murray,
    But how many people know of its existence, listen to it, and how many people not only understand the message and its relevance to what is currently happening but are moved to change their views because of it?

    The fact that you felt that you had to give a resume of the stimulus for its creation and its relevance today, on a site like this, is I think telling.

    The question for me, is how does one open up a world of magic to children, whether it be to appreciate ‘A child in Time’, or experience the rich life that I and Chris Key have had the opportunity to experience and pass on to our children?

  • Peter Watson 27th Jul '16 - 9:25am

    David Allen “Many people misguidedly voted Leave because they held very legitimate grievances.”
    I agree, and it is a shame that Lib Dems still do not seem to want to address those grievances. The response of many Lib Dems since the referendum is so disappointing as they seek to continue fighting the dismally negative Bremain campaign.
    I would much prefer to hear suggestions of how the benefits of EU membership can be shared by and/or communicated to those who felt that their lives would not be worse outside. Instead this site looks like a stream of articles and posts about very middle-class whinges.
    Like malc above, I find myself in the unwelcome position of contemplating voting for the Conservatives (yeuch!),or no longer bothering to vote. As a party, Tories seem to be the only one in England taking a “grown up” approach to the referendum result (as well as demonstrating the sort of diversity that Lib Dems can only dream of), while Labour is a political tragi-comedy.

  • Paul Murray 27th Jul '16 - 9:51am

    @Jayne Mansfield – since it was for The Proms, the performance was recorded and broadcast on BBC4 television – complete with a lengthy description of the circumstances of its creation – on Sunday evening. It is still available on the iPlayer. So the audience for this performance will have been substantial and many people will (like me) have been coming to the piece for the first time and being taken aback by its continued relevance. And surely that’s the point? Public service broadcasting like this is the embodiment of Reithian values.

  • Richard Underhill 27th Jul '16 - 10:05am

    “A Child of our Time” was repeated on BBC Radio 3 on 26/7/16.
    “Set my people free!”

  • “Are the Conservatives the only political party prepared to have a crack at making Brexit successful?”

    Ah, these masterful Tories, with their unfailing patrician self-assurance. They have maintained their self-confidence all the way through calling an appallingly designed referendum, telling everyone that losing it would mean economic disaster, losing it, happily binning their vaunted “long term economic plan”, putting on a brave face, adopting a Plan B leader, and then getting around to start planning for a contingency they hadn’t even started to make any plans for. But because they are toffs, and they project a divine right to rule irrespective of having made a complete pig’s ear of the job, some people support them. Not me, chums.

    “It is so disappointing that the Lib Dems seem to be intent on resisting / blocking progress towards the exit door and only prepared to focus on getting the UK back into the EU”

    Leaving aside the questions of peace, stability, co-operation and cultural broadening, we Lib Dems agreed with Cameron that leaving the EU would be an economic disaster. All the signs since the vote are that it is indeed going to be an economic disaster, if it happens. Brave, impossible statements are daily being trotted out by the Brexit crew. The latest is that we shall control EU immigration, that Eire will have open EU immigration, but we shall not need a “hard” border between Eire and Ulster or between Ulster and mainland Britain. Obvious nonsense of course. One of the many bad consequences of Brexit may well be the return of the border issues in Ireland (to put this in as non-sensational a way as I can). Yes, the Lib Dems are rightly focused on avoiding disaster. The Tories are sleepwalking toward a precipice.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th Jul '16 - 12:01pm

    @ Paul Murray,
    I do not share Reith’s views, well certainly not those he held in the 1930s. I find it rather ironic that the scheduling of ‘A child in Time’ is mentioned in the same breathe as Reithian values.

    My question, is how are young people from all backgrounds introduced to ‘high culture’ , when it seems that there is a large body of people who balk at the idea that there is such a thing?

    I don’t know why people who enjoy something like the Proms etc., don’t just admit that they are a cultural elite, and an elite that is made up of many who are unconcerned about introducing new members. Instead there is this pretence that all culture is of equal worth and value, leaving some children to languish in soulless environments where they are supposedly able to access these cultural feasts on TV or on iplayer. How many from such backgrounds do you suppose do so?

    Sadly, to pick up an earlier point, I also know people who wax lyrical about ‘The child in Time and are totally unmoved when it comes to examining their own behaviour of scapegoating. They can cope with examining historical behaviour then use the passage of time to detach from it as something others did, but not current behaviour that they themselves are guilty of.

    Instead of picking on Chris Key’s terminology, as some have, I am impressed by his description of what could be for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, rather than what is currently on offer.

    I thought that was what politics was about, not the status quo but making life better and richer ( not simply in the financial sense) for people.

  • Peter Bancroft 27th Jul '16 - 12:34pm

    Stepping aside from the Brexiteer sniping in the comments, I think it’s a refreshing reminder that the European Union has a strong cultural element which will presumably be dramatically reduced in the future post-Brexit world.

    Hundreds of thousands of couples will never meet, marriages won’t happen and multi-citizen children won’t be born. UK teachers won’t cycle through the European Schools bringing back their learnings from overseas and British students overseas will no longer be taught alongside their peers from other countries. Students will no longer spend years in other EU countries and Universities, reducing the diversity in their life and capacity for invention. Inter-University research cooperation will be dramatically cut, reducing the potential for British-based academics to be part of the next big advancements in human kind, whether they be economically or culturally. UK civil servants will no longer cycle through international programmes, senior British council heads will no longer share experiences in a structured way through the Council of Regions and young and old members of European political parties will no longer take part in mainstream political debate, growing up and exchanging ideas with people from other countries.

    It is certain a valid point that these kinds of experiences were primarily seized upon in the UK by the middle class, but that does not make them invalid, and certainly not irrelevant. It is also true that the UK has been under-represented in many of these institutions and programmes compared to its size, but for the answer to that we would need to look to our society rather than that of the EU.

    The next generation have lost their EU citizenship and will not be taking part in activities across the continent that their parents’ took for granted and participated in by the million. You might regard that as a good or bad thing (to the person complaining about Eurasmus costs – I suspect you have no idea how much Eurasmus costs and am sure you have no idea what would be reasonable), but it is appropriate to acknowledge the change and consider how to mitigate the loss of these shared experiences, shared lives and moments of inspiration for the future.

  • Peter Watson
    The EU and its predecessors are “in our DNA” – our constitution – We cannot take a diverse approach to it!

  • Paul Murray 28th Jul '16 - 8:43am

    @Jayne Mansfield – I do not recognize your perception of elitism. It is a charge often made against opera, for example, by people who have no experience of it. Tickets for the Royal Opera House are available from £9 which is less than for a ticket to conference league football, there is no dress code, performances are often preceded by free “insight” talks, and the atmosphere is inclusive and welcoming.

    The Prom we discussed earlier was preceded by a lunchtime prom for secondary school students that ended with The Ride of the Valkyries, segueing neatly into the evening Prom which began with the same music as it opened with a performance of the last scene of Die Walkuere.

    I’m really not clear what point you are making with your statement about cultural relativism. Can I paraphrase your comments as “anybody who likes this stuff is a snob”? You are of course entitled to your view. But you are wrong.

  • Does wall to wall Jeremy Kyle programmes on the non-public service TV stations in which often rather inadequate people are encouraged to humiliate themselves by a right wing former public schoolboy count as a cultural and life enhancing contribution ?

  • I no longer watch the telly.
    But I can well remember the diverse cultural highlights of the BBC, such as Masterchef, Celebrity Masterchef and the innovative Masterchef: The Professionals. Also who can forget Pointless and Celebrity Pointless or Bargain Hunt and Celebrity Bargain Hunt.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 28th Jul '16 - 2:34pm

    Jayne Mansfield, re comments taken up by Paul Murray

    I have to say that even though your motives are good , you are very mistaken in your views about classical music. I agree with Paul above on his example. I do believe some of our great institutions do not make enough effort , the national orchestras should all , some do , others do not. But the charge of elitism about a whole genre , is not the same as against an organisation.There is nothing elitist about a form of music that has at times been a vital part of peoples culture .When the great , and liberal , Italian composer , Giuseppe Verdi, died , his “chorus of the Hebrew slaves ” from his opera Nabucco , about Jewish history , was sung at his funeral en masse . He , as a not very religious ,and very unpretentious man , had asked for a simple send off , stipulating ,” a priest and two candles” . They gave him a state funeral , and thousands lined the streets, he meant so much to people .Classical music, is music , it has a following based on who hears it and likes it . For two classical fans to agree is no more likely at all times than a classical fan and a pop fan agreeing . In fact , as someone whose main love in music is melody , I have far more of a love for both classical music from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries ,and easy listening ,and what I would call, classic ballad singers from Bing Crosby to Jack Jones , because of my love of melody .Similarly , I love musical theatre and the great singer songwriters only when melodic , so Rodgers and Hammerstein , Leonard Bernstein , and Neil Diamond are all part of my collected favourites !None of this is any more elitist than , Verdi! We must bring the best of everything to everyone so they can decide for themselves. Parents , schools and cultural institutions must all play a part .

  • Jayne Mansfield 28th Jul '16 - 3:53pm

    @ Paul Murray,
    No I am not saying that anyone who likes this sort of stuff is a snob. I enjoy Opera. What I want is for people from more disadvantaged backgrounds to have an introduction to this and other cultural forms.

    What I am saying, is that those who constantly praise the high quality cultural programmes on the BBC, the the availability of culture at places like the Royal Opera House fail to accept that these cultural forms currently most benefit a middle class elite like myself, subsidised by people who for one reason or another choose not to access them.

    Would I like more people to want to access them? Yes, particularly those from disadvantaged homes. I accept that the Royal Opera House uses some of its funding including money for outreach programmes etc, but that does not alter the fact that ‘The Place Report’ found that arts lottery funding disproportionately benefitted the most prosperous and ‘arts engaged’ communities, those least likely to contribute to lottery funds , with some of the least ‘arts engaged’ and poorest communities contributing most to the arts ‘good cause fund whilst receiving least return.

    The Royal Opera House, ENO, Sadlers Wells and the Southbank Centre have received more in funding than the 33 local authorities areas where there is least engagement in the arts. I would argues that venues that attract sponsorship, philanthropic donations and attendees who can often well afford to attend without public subsidy should not be making such a big call on public funds, money should go to more disadvantaged areas where young people can be introduced to the magic that you and I take for granted.

    I am not calling you a snob, I am saying that too many people with elite tastes are too ready to accept money from poorer, disadvantaged people. This is as true of the BBC as Opera.

    @ David Raw
    If one is appalled by some of our television output, surely the answer is to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds to appreciate higher cultural forms through education and exposure to these. I don’t believe children from such backgrounds where watching shows such as Jeremy Kyle etc. are the daily norm, are given the experiences necessary to inspire them to switch over to Opera on the BBC to check it out. As with most things, they need an introduction. Some will reject these new experiences but at least one can be satisfied that they have been offered choice. How can we open up these new horizons?

  • @ Jayne Mansfield I appreciate your comments Jayne and fully share your concerns.

    It is a cause for great sadness to me as a former Headteacher to see how central government (& the Lib Dems in Coalition went along with it) have undermined local authorities financially – making it difficult to support local Arts Councils and schools. The move away from local authority education authorities has compounded this.

    There will be no renaissance in the arts until there is a renaissance in local government.

    The same is true of supported youth work and the WEA. The exhibition of the Pitmen Painters at Woodhorn Colliery Museum, Ashington, is an example of how a spark of inspiration (it was from Newcastle University WEA back in the 1930’s) can trigger off the most extraordinary things. The Billy Elliot film offers a similar example based on the life story of Wayne Sleep from Hartlepool.

    Kathryn Tickell’s work with the Northumbrian pipes is similarly wonderful.

    But all these things need a supporting superstructure.

    I’m afraid that I have to judge economic liberals of both Tory and Lib Dem backgrounds as modern philistines.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 28th Jul '16 - 9:04pm

    Jayne and David Raw

    Neither responded to my comments . It is interesting how many times someone like Mr. Raw criticises , scathingly , a point , and then does not engage fully with replies.

    As a passionately consistent practitioner, and proponent of the arts , I feel the latter comments made by both of the above ,are good sense, but need qualifying.

    Much of the support for the arts comes from the Arts Council , and it did not have the budget slashed greatly in the coalition , certainly not like some departments. Local councils often have their own agendas and are as elitist as any on such things, if that is their overarching attitude , neither are a panacea , and Liberals who have had much local government experience and done real good , must surely know that, some councils even awash with money, are not exactly arts oriented !

    As one who does not adhere to the strict division between economic and social Liberal description , unfortunately , the philistinism is as much from the moderate left and inverted snob far left as anywhere .And the elitism is as likely to come from the centre left and centre.If by that we mean a very self absorbed attitude , and preconceived notions.

    An attitude that believes in decisions taken by Trust appointees and ex politicians at the BBC , that thinks Patten knows best ,at the self same organisation which i am apparently obliged to adore ,to prove my liberal credentials, that accepts vast salaries for superstar tv celebrities out of the draconian licence fee, with no democratic accountability , that is not radical.

    I am full of praise for the proms as backed by the BBC, like David Raw , and do not agree with the initial comments by Jayne Mansfield, but the latter , Jayne ,more than many , and even on the thread subsequently here , speaks concern for those I share it for , and strongly.

    I happen to feel support for the status quo is only good , if it , that status quo ,is , and ,it is not at all.

    I feel so much money in the public arts is wasted on the salaries of the commercially viable, or on budgets for the completely unnecessary. The National Theatre, a great theatre, employs hundreds of staff in admin, marketing and also the creative aspects behind the scenes , costumes , props and stage management , on permanent contracts on decent salaries.And has NO permanent actors company whatsoever !

  • Jayne Mansfield 29th Jul '16 - 11:46am

    @ Lorenzo Cherin,
    I apologise for not responding earlier.

    Music is of course a matter of person taste. Ironically, I believe that it is the distinction between ‘High and low culture culture’ embedded on the provision of public subsidy for some forms, that makes them seem particularly daunting to some.

    On the objective data. Arts funding was slashed greatly during the coalition years. The Grant in Aid was cut from 453 to 350million. Some of the shortfall caused by cuts in Grant in Aid were made up by lottery funding, incorrectly so, because the additionality principle was breached. Moreover, Ed Vaisey’s reported claim that cuts were offset by this extra lottery funding were wrong.

    Any overall cuts in funding should not be allowed to disguise the imbalance of where these lottery funds came from and how the arts funding was dispensed. London got amounts disproportionate to its population.

    I disagree with your criticism of Local authorities. Local authorities in challenging areas with high levels of deprivation had to make decision about cuts to spending on the vulnerable, or to culture, libraries etc.

    On a broader point, it is very easy to make assumptions about the abilities of others to obtain equal access to the nation and the EU’s ‘goodies’/ I don’t think this is borne out in reality. Until I started reading Liberal Democrat Voice I had no knowledge of the Erasmus scheme. I have also experienced the difficulty of accessing an A level course if french for mature students. Only ‘Conversational French’ was on offer. How much harder must it be for those lacking the funds, confidence and know-how to access what they need?

    I welcome that individuals have taken advantage of opportunities available to them, well done to Chris Key for doing so, but access to those opportunities need widening. People from disadvantaged backgrounds need to be assured that these opportunities are available for them too. I believe that a pre-requisite is both proper funding and also an acknowledgement that this requires more not less support for those who may have fragile confidence about their place in the world.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 29th Jul '16 - 2:17pm

    Jayne

    Thank you for your reply, very good to see what you have written.As you allude to two
    things I commented on , let me clarify.

    I did not say that there were not cuts over all to the arts , but that the arts council budget was not cut as much as some. Similarly , I , as I explained , think there is a lot of wastage and money thrown at well connected , often pointless so called arts projects .Yes of course as you say , it is all about taste of us as individuals.But I know from experience what a tick box culture is often dominant in such places .

    You misunderstand me on local authorities.I feel very strongly , as I said , that the best , and often Liberal , or over the years Liberal Democrat , are to be considerably backed and praised.I was commenting on the , in my view , overly laboured point that everything that we somehow believe in , is only possible or accepted if it is from a local council , some are lousy !

    I was mainly talking about the view that the centre left or left are less philistine than the centre right or right , or even the centre. Not actually .I dd not agree with this view.

    I would like to mention that when the late and great , Sam wanamaker was endeavouring to set up the Globe , he encountered resistance from the then left leaning Southwark Labour council , who thought the project elitist and Shakespeare too! He got little or no interest from them , ironic , as he had been on the left and , no pun intended, he had actually left the USA because he was hounded by the Mcarthy Witchunt.

    In contrast , two or three decades later , when the Rose theatre , in Kingston was set up in the 2ooos, the Liberal Democrat council were right behind it in support , I know the extent of it from our own marvellous , Mary Reid , one of the LDV editors , a fine example of the best our party has to offer in local government etc. , she has long been a Liberal Democrat councillor ,and Board member of the Rose theatre!

  • @ Lorenzo, Like, Jayne, I’m sorry I have been unable to respond before.

    I think Jayne makes a very powerful point about Local authorities in challenging areas with high levels of deprivation had to make decision about cuts to spending on the vulnerable, or to culture, libraries etc. What adds to this is the fact that the Tory,and I’m afraid Coalition, Governments not only cut local authority budgets but did so disproportionately in favour of Tory controlled councils.

    You may remember Joan Littlewood’s efforts in East London – we need more of that.

    Where I disagree with you is about the BBC. If you take the piece as a whole they have to respond to the full range of tastes, and I believe they do so extremely well and they do a fair bit for culture within that remit. The cuts by Whittingdale et al have been pernicious.

    It would also help if you got a few facts right. Chris Patten retired well over two years ago….. so he’s long gone and does not rule …… and Graham Norton (who with Chris Evans I don’t like) earned £ 2.5 million (out of which he had to pay his production company) not £ 20 million as you claim.

    The Guardian report in April 2016 : “Graham Norton was paid more than £2.5m in fees and salary last year, for services including fronting BBC1’s The Graham Norton Show and BBC Radio 2 Saturday programme.”

    I put up with – and ignore – Norton, but I think the BBC does a great job overall and subsidise the arts out of the profitable lines. Abolishing the licence fee would push it into the hands of advertisers and the Murdoch/Desmonds of this world. Which do you prefer : BBC 4 and BBC 3 – or the Jeremy Kyle show.

    Incidentally, I happen to know staff at Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera House don’t enjoy cushy permanent salaries…. I’m also delighted Glyndebourne and Opera North have an outreach programme.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 29th Jul '16 - 4:10pm

    David Raw
    Terrific to hear from you . But you do resort to digs even when a gent !

    I did not say Patten was in charge now , two years makes sweet fanny adams difference, but the likes of him , who I have no animosity to actually , in control , rather than we the licence payers appals me.
    I did not mean that Graham Norton is on that per year , many fees are put in a five plus years contract, but either way the sums are an obscenity in a so called public body.

    I am determined for you and every left leaning Liberal I sometimes agree with , at others do not , but see as my colleague , realise that to criticise an organisation is not to condemn it , a bit like my actually quite liking Graham Norton, but not his show being on a public broadcasting channel , and Chris Patten , but not him in charge at the BBC!

    I also think you need to realise two things .
    1. Tony Benn three decades ago , Gerald Kaufman on the culture committee one or two ago , and the Green Party currently , call for the abolition of the illiberal tv licence. None are right wing ! The alternative , to fund public broadcasting from taxation via the DCMS, makes for no more of a state run BBC, than saying the National theatre is run from whitehall ! The BBC may appeal more to you than me as is , but it is of no more importance to our culture than our great theatres or orchestras or galleries and should be funded as such.

    I favour the creation of a Broadcasting Council to distribute not very differently to the Arts Council or Crafts, the money to not just the BBC , but other applicants , eg. production co.s or individuals with public service broadcasts, of any sort.

    And please can you understand that as you rightly see the good as well as waste in the Royal Opera , and I was a Friend of Covent Garden while at school, there is much good at Sky , if not in Murdoch , who barely has any input in it these days . Sky Arts was set up by Sir Jeremy Issacs and is an excellent channel , and Sky news are of award winning quality.

    And I loathe the Jeremy Kyle show , but also dislike Top Gear !

  • Thanks for all the comments. My ire is directed at the politicians who voted leave who have never made use of the opportunities I had while ignoring the fact that many Britains want to live in Europe, to work, study or retire. And yes the older generations were not thinking of the benefits of Europe including members of my own family. They voted Leave because they were concerned largely about immigration. Even Chris Patten, former Tory Minister and Governor of Hong Kong spoke of the unfairness in the older generations taking away chances our generation has had.

    The Erasmus scheme is a prime example of how the youth of today will suffer because of Brexit. Not enough was done to make us feel that our European neighbours are wanted and bring us massive cultural benefits by the Remain side.

  • Peter Watson 30th Jul '16 - 10:42am

    @Chris Key “The Erasmus scheme is a prime example of how the youth of today will suffer because of Brexit.”
    Many UK universities have agreements with foreign universities for students to spend a year of their studies outside Europe in the USA, Australia, Canada, the Far East, etc. Erasmus accounts for just over half of the students who went abroad to study or for an internship as part of their course and the biggest growth has been outside the Erasmus programme (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/number-of-uk-university-students-travelling-abroad-as-part-of-study-soars-by-50-per-cent-10279358.html).
    Why should Brexit mean that such arrangements cannot be made with universities in Europe? Perhaps, post-Brexit the UK can develop approaches which are more expansive, inclusive, flexible and cost-effective than the Erasmus programme. It strikes me that such outcomes are less likely if Bremainers in general, and Lib Dems in particular, simply sulk on the sidelines rather than try to shape a post-referendum UK.

  • Martin Land I am sure there are many others like your son. I wish him well.

  • I agree with the majority of Chris’s comments,. probably because I have also benefited from mixed parentage and have lived abroad many years. Yes the UK is a nice place and has many things going for it, but to believe it is nirvana is plainly delusional, silly and not very true.

    The plain reality is that the EU and Europe (actually globalisation) has hugely benefited people with degrees, a knowledge of the world and the flexibility (and intellectual curiosity) to look outside their doorstep. The biggest losers have been blue collar workers with little or no qualifications and the inability to reconvert themselves or move abroad. The sad reality of Brexit is that many used it as a protest vote, without a true understanding of what the EU does and stands for and were seduced by the facile and ‘two-penny’ leave rhetoric. Yes the EU is not perfect but the campaigns led by the Murdoch media were shockingly misinformed, tied to outdated warmongering notions and clearly in the closest interest of Mr Murdoch himself, who is visibly troubled by EU competition and monopoly requirements. As an educated and sceptical reader I was not just surprised but positively disgusted by the excessive lies, untruths, fears and silliness portrayed by the Sun and The Daily Mail pre and post referendum.

    Hopefully the UK will manage to steer a positive course post-Brexit but I do see a long period of uncertainty, lack of investment, potential UK fragmentation and ‘deep’ soul searching.

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