I was watching the news the other day and saw some people arguing reall "energetically" about Brexit. These guys were shouting at each other!
It made me think, "what do they hope to gain from this?" Do they really think that there is some golden nugget of information that they can bring to the table which will make the other person see sense? Or, maybe they just want to insult the other person? Do they really think the other person will care what this guy thinks of them?
I mean, I have a firm view on the issue, and that view hasn't wavered, but it was formed long before any referendum campaign, just by weighing up the pros and cons. But I can appreciate that there is a different view which is perfectly valid, held by some other people. One of my best friends once articulated this "other" view to me and, really, I've known this guy for years and one of the reasons we became friends in the first place was because we trust each other's judgement - I certainly wouldn't want to fall out with them just because of this issue, not where there is 90% agreement anyway (all except the final conclusion).
And when you look at what causes different views, it is all a question of priorities. Both Labour and Tory want to work towards the same thing - prosperity - but Labour feel we'll get there by prioritising X over Y, and the Tories Y over X. I don't think you can really read anything more into it than that. Just as I formed my view on Brexit according to my priorities, so they come to their view according to theirs'. The people who don't agree with us are not necessarily malevolents or idiots, just people who broadly want the same thing, but who believe it is more achievable by another means - I remember Dennis Skinner saying in his autobiography that he didn't like even to speak to Tories, and that made me quite disappointed, especially as he is in a position where his job must entail trying to make progress alongside people who don't see eye-to-eye. On many things I'd probably go along with the guy, but not on this.
Brexit is merely A.N. Other issue which follows that pattern. It does worry me how much harm this single issue is doing to our other politics - will there ever be a day that these two people, shouting at each other, can be united on an issue without letting Brexit get in the way?
BEFORE YOU START: Please note that although I currently volunteer for both the Stroke Association and Age UK, the views expressed in this blog are strictly my own. I am not a spokesperson for either (or, indeed, for any) organisation, and I accept complete responsibility for the views expressed herein. As indicated by the domain name, I am based in the UK and the blog therefore has a UK bias - I've tried to use the Glossary to explain any ambiguous terms, but if you think there is anything I've missed, please message me.