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Things in Common

(193 Posts)
RedToothBrush Sun 20-Nov-16 21:25:47

This has been suggested by BoredofBrexit, to try and see if there is common ground between Leavers and Remainers.

I like the idea, but I do worry that this might not work out as planned. I just ask everyone to post in the spirit of this rather than critiquing others too much, though I appreciate this might be a big ask. Better to say what you AGREE with rather than point out things you disagree with.

The Hope Not Hate campaign, which was set up in 2004 in response to provide a positive antidote to the politics of hate as the BNP was winning substantial votes and local councillors in the North of England and they regarded traditional anti-racism and anti-fascism tactics as failing.

They have this blog post from earlier this month:
The far right is on the ascendency but it does not own the future

Part of it reads:
We are also likely to see growing support for far-right parties across Europe and with forthcoming elections in Austria, France, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands – to list just a few – we could also see far-right parties/politicians increase their representation and even enter government.

More worryingly, has been the adoption of far-right ideas into the political mainstream, so that even if the parties fail to win power their ideas will.

We can shut ourselves away and get depressed. We can huddle together in our little progressive circles and social media echo chambers and moan about why people can't see the truth – or we can get organised and do something about it. And that is what I intend to do.

But the very fact that far-right ideas are appealing and gaining traction should make us rethink our own approach. The fact that they are winning and we are not should make us accept that we are doing something wrong. Our ideas and tactics are clearly not resonating.

We must reassess how we do politics. We need to figure out how we can have a modern economic system that doesn't throw whole communities on the scrap heap. But the Left also needs to rethink how it engages with white working class communities so as to express genuine empathy and understanding. We need to understand the need of communities to their tradition and culture, and not appear to be meddling outsiders sneering and insulting their way of life.

Opposition to immigration and multiculturalism might be the prism through which people are increasing expressing their discontent, but accepting that should not get us to ignore genuine grievances and anxieties. We cannot condemn everyone who raises concerns about immigration as a racist. Some clearly are, but others have genuine concerns.

Our Fear and HOPE report shows that the numbers of people with strident anti-immigrant views are declining. Many more though have concerns about the pace of change and the pressures on public services and society's infrastructure. Whether we agree with these concerns or not, it is vital we don't dismiss them without a second thought and write off these people as racists.

Though I do note the date of this report is 2011, and things have changed considerably this year, I do think its the right tone and probably the best way to kick off a thread like this.

RedToothBrush Sun 20-Nov-16 21:26:30

BoredofBrexit Sun 20-Nov-16 19:42:31
Why don't we have a 'things in common' thread then? RTB, do not want to hijack. Would you like to set it up and port this across? I'll start:
I'm a Leave voter and I love the UK, love our cultural diversity, am clear that we need immigration, lots of it but would like to be able to set flexible and market driven levels and criteria as a nation. I'm not bound to a political ideology in fact right now I am all over the place. I do want a good economic future for our nation but I would like it to be freed from governance by the EU. I'd prefer if the split was not acrimonious and that we, as part of Europe could continue in a neighbourly, supportive way to our neighbours. I believe in us. I want the chance to forge a future from my children, as part of Europe but governed from within.

No critique please, just state your wishes. Somewhere down the line we can see if there is a consensus.

RedToothBrush Sun 20-Nov-16 21:30:33

In the same vein as Bored's original post:

I'm a Remain voter and I love the UK. I am very much a part of my community. I take my 'citizenship' seriously. I am thoroughly British but consider myself a 'citizen of the world' and am sad that others think this is incompatible with understanding things closer to home. I have ties with foreign places and foreign people that make it difficult to break with that feeling. To do so would undermine my own identity - which I still feel is typically British.

I am a northerner, and not in the 'London bubble'. I find there is a real difference and have been subject to some appalling snobbery. I was once told by someone they would not come and visit as they didn't go to 'places like that'. I feel closer to my neighbours in regional towns than many in London for this reason. I also dislike some elements of hipster culture for being so up their own arses they disappear and they don't fully appreciate that life isn't that cushy for everyone.

I believe that this country has a huge lack of understanding of what other parts of the UK are like, and what problems they have. I support the idea of parliament being moved out of London and Westminster being made a museum for tourists to help this.

I think there is a huge level of what can only be called corruption, but has become normalised and accepted. I think there is a huge lack of transparency and this needs to be changed.

I think our taxation system is not fit for purpose. Its grossly unfair to both low income and middle income groups for different reasons. I think tax loop holes need to be closed - though this needs to be accompanied by a base low tax rate for all to stop the loss of business and high earning incomes.

I consider myself a liberal. This covers a wide base in politics though. Liberals can be found in the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives, the Greens, Plaid, the Alliance Party and the SNP. It is not an elitist belief system if you understand what liberal means properly. It can cover very socialist ideas economically as well as the more well publicised neo-liberal values, but this seems to be very much forgotten about at present.

However I also think there is huge problems in our current political parties and system. I dislike career politicians. I hate out of area candidates being parachuted in and imposed on local areas. I think there is a place for breaking the party line, for principles that you really believe in, although you must have an overall commitment to party lines. I think there needs to be much more cross party consensus building rather than using party lines to blame everyone else for your own mistakes.

The EU to me is important. Why? For lots of reasons. I will hate leaving.

The reasons that are most important though, relate to me being British though. Because of NI and how the peace process has affected me. Because of Scotland and having Scottish roots and relatives there. I want to keep the Union because I consider myself British. I think others in my country should be listened to, because they are part of my country and don't think political decisions should be imposed on them and they are being failed politically across the board and not just because of Brexit. I am sad when people talk of traitors for being pro-EU for this reason.

I do think the EU is hugely flawed and in need of reform. I think it suffers from lots of problems that are similar to the UK's domestic problems. The Euro is a disaster for huge parts of the EU. Some countries have been treated badly by the EU as a result.

I think that immigration has been used as a way to not giving some British people the training and opportunity they sometimes should get, but I believe this is the fault of government. I believe we were foolish not to impose the same early restrictions to Eastern European immigration that other EU countries took. This led to us getting the majority of early movement rather than it being more spread out across Europe, which has led to much needless resentment.

RufusTheSpartacusReindeer Sun 20-Nov-16 21:47:23

I am a remainer

I agree with red re immigration

I am British and dont consider myself to be european and for the same reason i dont want britain to break up into seperate countries (nothing to do with having too many union jacks scattered around the house because that would be shallow) and i honestly think it will. I dont consider myself to be pro EU

I dont think i am a liberal...although the definition of it seems to keep changing

RufusTheSpartacusReindeer Sun 20-Nov-16 21:48:10


I am not very good at this grin

I will lurk and agree with other people

MangoMoon Sun 20-Nov-16 21:52:23

I'm a Leaver.

I'll shamelessly cut and paste relevant pieces from RTB & Bored's posts as they have already articulated my position!

(Stolen from PP & mixed with my own bits):

I love the UK, love our cultural diversity; I'm clear that we need immigration, but would like to be able to set flexible and market driven levels and criteria as a nation.

I'm not bound to a political ideology & think there is huge problems in our current political parties and system. I dislike career politicians. I hate out of area candidates being parachuted in and imposed on local areas.
I think there needs to be much more cross party consensus building rather than using party lines to blame everyone else for your own mistakes.

I believe that this country has a huge lack of understanding of what other parts of the UK are like, and what problems they have (I have lived all over England & Scotland, I have extended family in Wales).

I want a good economic future for our nation but I would like it to be freed from governance by the EU. I'd prefer if the split was not acrimonious and that we, as part of Europe could continue in a neighbourly, supportive way to our neighbours.

RedToothBrush Sun 20-Nov-16 22:01:12

Mango, I will copy from you.

I voted for freedom. I just view and define that differently I guess. But my motivation was similar.

RufusTheSpartacusReindeer Sun 20-Nov-16 22:05:25

I agree with mango and red

This is going well

Motheroffourdragons Sun 20-Nov-16 22:11:59

I am not sure this will work tbh. I feel alienated and disenfranchised, and that I have absolutely nothing in common with leavers.

I can't understand why people, who are apparently sensible and coherent, voted for something that can never be of any good whatsoever to our country, in the same way as I cannot understand why anyone in America voted for Trump.

I am seriously disappointed that we are in this situation, and cannot see any way whatsoever for our country to move forward with Brexit in any kind of economically viable way.

I am clearly a remoaner, and will not apologise for that.

shirleyknotanotherbot Sun 20-Nov-16 22:17:49

I'm a remainer. I, perhaps naively, want to be part of a bigger society. I don't need to be British, I'm happy to be European, being European makes me feel safer and gives me a greater sense of belonging. Being in the EU also seems to be much more economically sensible than leaving. However, I do understand that we all have decision bias.
I live in the West Midlands, so not in the London 'bubble'. I'm not rich, not elitist, not dismissive of the concerns of leavers. I accept that we do have to leave now and this makes me very sad, but we need to mend the division in society.

Please excuse my ramblings; I've had a few glasses in the Brexit Arms.

squishysquirmy Sun 20-Nov-16 22:49:07

I'm a remainer.
I'm from North England originally, now live in Scotland. I don't think I'm in a bubble (but they're see through so I could be wrong).

I have never believed that all leavers are racist, or stupid or bigoted, even though I was disappointed with the result.
I understand the frustration with "establishment" politics and that the current system has let a lot of people down.
I believe that, globally, things are "better" than they have ever been (not quite sure how to phrase that) and I would rather be alive now than at any point in history.
I also agree, however that there are very serious problems and injustices that need sorting out both globally and nationally.
Personally I believe that the best way to sort these problems, is nuanced debate, pragmatism, compromise, really boring but well thought out legislation, trial and error, constant pressure (from across the political spectrum), an evidence based approach and the occasional setback/unforeseen consequence.

I have always felt very ambivalent towards the EU, and critical of some aspects so I was surprised that I had a very emotional response to the Brexit result. I thought my decision to vote remain was a rational one, but maybe emotion had more to do with it than I thought.

I concede that now we have voted to leave, we probably have to but am very nervous about the future. I am hoping for a soft Brexit.
I am trying to be optimistic but every time I have a spark of hope (eg. I had higher hopes of May) it seems to be pinched out by another news story.

I want us to be successful as a country, and I want the EU to be successful as well.

I live in Scotland and don't want us to leave the UK. The day after the Brexit vote, I did.

I used to consider myself ever so slightly left of centre, but now like very far left without having actually moved - it's like the ground has moved beneath my feet and that's disconcerting.

I secretly do not know what a neo-liberal is.

BlueEyeshadow Sun 20-Nov-16 22:50:59

I agree almost entirely with Red, although I'm a southerner through and through (though not in London).

I work with languages for a living, and have studied enough of 20th century British and European history not to want it repeated. This includes an appreciation of why the EEC/EU was set up in the first place, and a little of how it works, or is meant to.

I am English and British and European. I feel heartbroken by this whole referendum, the result and the hatred and division it seems to have unleashed/ intensified/ justified. I feel bereaved, and that other people have (or have attempted to) taken away part of my identity. I am hugely angry with the failure of politicians to tackle the lies and misinformation. I am also hugely angry that my children will (as things stand) be denied the rights that my generation has taken for granted.

I can't see why we should just commit economic suicide because of "the will of the people". I am afraid of all the hundreds and hundreds of little (and extremely big!) unforeseen consequences that this will create for generations to come.

I am sad for people who thought they were voting for a better future, when they have actually achieved the precise opposite. But I am also bloody angry with them for believing the lies. And my loathing for the Daily Fail currently knows no bounds.

I am in despair at the Labour Party too, and it's /Corbyn's refusal to oppose a damaging/unplanned Brexit, or to offer any real opposition to the Tories at a time when it's needed most.

I would love some kind of progressive alliance and electoral reform to come out of this mess, but can't see it happening as things stand right now. Blair certainly isn't the man for the job because of his baggage.

Probably lots more to say, but it makes me too angry/sad/depressed/weary. All so bloody stupid and utterly avoidable and unnecessary.

twofingerstoGideon Sun 20-Nov-16 23:07:29

Things in common? After reading the pub thread, I can't imagine I have anything in common with someone who writes/thinks: I don't post on other ref threads anymore, I'm not interested in hearing what fanatic remainers hope happens to us ( illness, job loss, etc ) the more hateful they become, & the more they spill that hate all over the Internet, the more people will see them for what they are. Their cover has been blown. They hate people.

Also, can't imagine having anything in common with anyone who has Milo Yiannopoulos as their poster boy.
All I see is division, frankly, which is very sad.

MangoMoon Sun 20-Nov-16 23:16:31

Gideon - it was me who posted the Milo link - I not once insinuated he was a 'poster boy' or any such thing.

You are being disingenuous at best, but I suspect it's actually just the usual goady bollocks.

squishysquirmy Sun 20-Nov-16 23:28:06

Sorry I forgot to say what I actually agreed with: blush
Like bored, I love the UK and our cultural diversity. I am hoping that the split from the EU will not be acrimonious.
Agree with most of what red and Mango said, especially regarding our cultural diversity, and that the effects of immigration have not always been handled well by the government.
Strongly agree with what Shirley said -especially about decision bias (it is very hard to recognise it in ourselves), and that we need to leave. I don't want to but I think that the social consequences of not leaving post vote now could be more catastrophic than leaving.
Like Blueeyeshadow, I am heartbroken. And share much of her despair and anger. The feelings described by mother and twofingers also resonate strongly.

I think this was a great idea for a thread, thanks bored.
flowers to you all. (feeling cheesy).

twofingerstoGideon Sun 20-Nov-16 23:33:29

Mango. Your comment on Milo: Again, articulates really well what a lot of us have already grasped - what posters of Bear & her ilk are still not able to make that leap to doing yet. (sorry, but that makes you sound like quite a fan IMO.)

Surfer, too: But people love Milo, he has millions of followers because he's not afraid to stick up for the boring, untrendy, white man/woman. Black people had had enough of being overlooked, gay people, feminists. great! good luck to them, but you can't then criticise the ordinary white person for saying, 'fuck this' I've had enough.

BoredofBrexit Sun 20-Nov-16 23:33:44

Appreciate if we could keep the thread going folks, please.

twofingerstoGideon Sun 20-Nov-16 23:34:24

Anyway, would prefer not to make this a TAAT or a thread about two threads!

MangoMoon Sun 20-Nov-16 23:35:31

Well don't then.
It's really very simple not to.

Just do what the rest of us did.

BoredofBrexit Sun 20-Nov-16 23:36:34

Two fingers, if you don't want to articulate your position that's fine, but it's not helpful for you to appropriate that of others.

DoctorTwo Mon 21-Nov-16 05:36:05

I am in despair at the Labour Party too, and it's /Corbyn's refusal to oppose a damaging/unplanned Brexit, or to offer any real opposition to the Tories at a time when it's needed most.

Corbyn campaigned hard for Remain despite having made a career out of being anti the EU. It wasn't reported by the press as it didn't support their narrative, which was Brexit all the way.

Most people I know voted to leave, and to my knowledge they're neither stupid nor racist, they just want a change to the status quo. They're sick of their well paid jobs being sent overseas, they're sick of being told they're not trying hard enough. I understand, because so am I. What they don't accept is that it's policies of national governments since the late 70s that have 'outsourced' jobs to wherever labour is cheapest.

InfiniteSheldon Mon 21-Nov-16 06:55:38

I voted Leave because I can't see any need for a further level of beauracracy regarding our law making, because the thought of an EU army terrifies me because I don't want to be part of an EU Superstate. I recognise that the transition will be economically painful for some and beneficial for others and spent a long time considering my decision. When I hear about cultural diversity and being a European I know want to be part of global community not just European. I'd like the trading block aspect to continue as much as possible it's good to be part of a trading block but not at the cost of our sovereignty. Generally I believe in less government rather than more and the EU is more government on an appallingly wasteful scale. I am horrified at the racism element that has jumped on the bandwagon of the Leave camp but they aren't representative of me and my views and I will stand up to them where ever and whenever I can.

twofingerstoGideon Mon 21-Nov-16 07:05:17

My position is clear, Bored. I believe I have no common ground with the leavers I've seen posting on the EU Referendum threads. You aren't the thread police and if I want to use other posts as illustrations of why I think the way I do, I can. I only know 2 leave voters in real life. One thought it was 'time for a change', but couldn't say how or what, and the other thought more money should go to the NHS, so I struggle to find common ground with them, too.

I believe the last thing the country needs, as we emerge from Tory-imposed austerity, is a colossally expensive Brexit, 'organised' (for want of a better word) by people who seem incompetent or only interested in their own political careers. If this had been well thought-out and not 'sold' with lies on buses, I may well think differently.

The result of the referendum has given rise to a lot of unpalatable (IMO) far right voices and racial attacks, so my position hasn't changed. Also, if I'd seen any acknowledgement by our PM that more than 16 million people did not want this, coupled with some sort of attempt to satisfy the whole of our nation, rather than 17 million of its citizens, I might have rethought my position, but I haven't seen that either. Instead I've been told I'm a 'remainiac', a 'remoaner', should 'suck it up' or been described as an elitist. There's been no attempt to assuage the anxities of remain voters, so I'm feeling pretty intransigent at the moment.

IamWendy Mon 21-Nov-16 07:24:50

Leaver. I actually think the notion of us clubbing together and helping the poorer countries is great! But, not by simply letting people rush to the richer places. Not by making a superstate. We don't need an eu flag to have a trading bloc with a view to giving the poorer countries good trade deals to help them out.

whatwouldrondo Mon 21-Nov-16 07:57:01

Things in common hmm I genuinely wondered if I should post on here after reading almost every poster feeling the need to emphasise some sort of otherness from London. Up until six months ago I would have embraced this thread wholeheartedly, and I applauded Jo Cox's words that there is more in common than sets us apart. However in recent weeks I have become more and more disillusioned by the division and vitriol that has spewed out both here and in real life. It seems as if genuine hatred and resentment are taking over the discourse, even in my own family.

However here goes, I live in London but like most people I know who live here I come from elsewhere, in my case the North, and I put that identity before my London one. I do not regard myself as part of any sort of elite, indeed I have spent quite a lot of my spare time as part of activist groups fighting the various plans the local representative of the political elite has pushed forward to hijack my local community for the benefit of his rich /influential friends, two Judicial Reviews and counting..... However equally I do regard myself as living and working in a wider world. I lived overseas for a while and really enjoyed immersing myself in another culture, my work still relates to it, I am still involved in an NGO in the region and as a result I have friends who are now across the globe. So I do feel like a citizen of the world as well as my country and my community and where I still regard as actually home, where I grew up.

What I want is simple, greater fairness in society. I am furious at the way this government has actively increased the unfairness in our society and is dismantling our health system and welfare state, and causing suffering. I would pay more tax to see that fairly distributed. I also fully understand how parts of the country feel left behind, my home city more than most. I do think that the benefits that London has gained as a global city (and the UK is far from alone in terms of the imbalance between its global cities and the rest of the country - see the US) should be shared across the country. I am also furious at the way the political elite is now working hand in glove with a handful of media moguls to spin the news to a right wing agenda. I see in my own family how the resulting division and misperceptions have taken hold

In terms of Brexit I had become proud of the role the UK was taking as part of the EU in world affairs. I think it is important now more than ever that countries with shared liberal political values stood up for those values and helped and encouraged those people elsewhere in the world who aspire to making their own countries fairer. I have witnessed first hand how Pritti Patels mean spirited takeover of Foriegn aid according to conservative values is being percieved in developing countries (and indeed Brexit), it is dangerous short termism and I do not want that to be the direction of our role in the world post Brexit. More recently I have come to realise that the EU is going to be increasingly important in terms of our security too, and maintaining peace.

I regard being part of a geopolitical and economic block as essential to playing an effective role in the world economically too, given the rise of the emerging economies, partly as a result of my knowledge of one of those economies. The country voted for Brexit but I want whatever Brexit is negotiated to as far as possible preserve all the economic benefits we have as a result of being in the EU, particularly inbservices and science and technology because I consider them essential to our competitiveness in the world economy, I do not want us to find ourselves at the back of the queue for trade with the rest of the world.

I am very concerned about the younger generation, as in the under 35s who I know feel betrayed by this vote. I think we may be on the verge of not just a brain drain but a youth drain, and I know a lot of young people and not just the highly educated who are now disenchanted with a political system they feel has no interest in them and an economic system they feel is stacked against them and are looking to move away. They really value FOM in Europe so I do hope any settlement includes that.

Most of all though I just want all these vile divisions to be broken down again. We are all human beings and whatever the future holds we will do better tackling them together rather than engaging in tribal feuds.

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