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Will the divisions in the UK ever be healed?

(66 Posts)
Dinahmo Mon 25-May-20 12:39:23

After Brexit those people who supported Remain were told to shut up, suck it up and get on with it. The govt exhorted the country to come together and move on. I, like many of my friends felt unable to do that. Our reasons being that staying in the EU were very important to us.

When the virus hit the country those divisions were forgotten and it seemed that everybody was pulling together. We heard accounts of neighbours who previously had little contact with others, helping other people. Groups of volunteers were set up without the aid of government, for example. The vast majority followed the govt guidelines over social distancing etc.

Then things started to go wrong. Most people seemed to think that the govt hadn't acted soon enough, or weren't doing the right thing and we all know about the thousands of people who have died. Some needlessly perhaps, because of the govt's slow reactions.

Now some people on GN and other platforms are calling those who are critical of the govt members of the Looney Left or Remoaners. Some of the press and others who supported BJ are now saying that the criticism of Cummings has been brought about by Remainers who see the prospective sacking of Cummings as being the first step in an attempt to dismantle the Brexit deal.

So, the old divisions are coming to the fore again.

In the States, Trump, undercover of all the furore going on there about covid, is busily dismantling environmental laws that protect the American National Parks. They are gradually being sold off to oil and gas prospectors and others who seek to develop them. The conspiracy theorist in me sees similar things happening here.

growstuff Fri 29-May-20 16:14:42

Maybe somebody needs to remind you Tooting that we live in a democracy. Everybody is entitled to vote and make decisions, having informed themselves. They're also entitled to opinions.

growstuff Fri 29-May-20 16:12:39

Wayhay! When's the first flight to North Korea? It would appear some GNers would love living there. Criticism of the glorious leader is strictly forbidden.

Dinahmo Fri 29-May-20 14:52:03

Tooting29 You cannot be serious. Many of the great British public aren't sceptical of the press at all. That is why we are in the current parlous situation. In the main we believe what we are told - by press and politicians.

We now seem to have a competent opposition, certainly an improvement on the current front bench. But we need a press to hold the govt to account.

Tooting29 Thu 28-May-20 20:35:52

lemongrove I'm with you on your previous comment. I think divisions can heal, once we get through this. I don't think the media will come out of this well. And if the great British public can be as sceptical about the press and the twitterati as they are about Government that would be a healthy start. A great line from Life of Brian comes to mind. "You are all individuals you don't have to follow the crowd". Let Parliament hold the government to account through its committees and a competent opposition. Papers report, and good journalism highlight injustice armchair experts go back to their day job, and perhaps there is a chance.

Cindersdad Wed 27-May-20 08:01:02

As I was writing his Davidhs has said it as it is. Boris just wanted to be PM and Coronavirus can be blamed when it all goes wrong. The outcomes of evrything matter very much to us all.

Cindersdad Wed 27-May-20 07:57:21

vegansrock, totally agree with you, I just hope it's not too late to do something about it. If we had another referendum (they will not let us have one) the result would almost certainly be reversed. As you say many older leave voters have died, 4 years worth of younger voters deserve a say in their future. Given a better informed choice those of us those who voted in 2016 have the right to change our minds, either way. If Boris and co were so convinced in their case why didn't they have the courage to allow a "People's Vote".

NotSpaghetti Wed 27-May-20 07:52:12

Davidhs - I don’t think Brexit ever mattered to Boris Johnson. It was the peg on which he hung his hat in order to become PM.

The coronavirus is however likely to be the peg on which a poor Brexit outcome will be blamed. Oh! And the EU itself, of course!

NotSpaghetti Wed 27-May-20 07:49:11

Personally Growstuff I think it was deliberate manipulation. As we know, there is a strong link between the economic distress of declining cities and Vote Leave. This was an EU election in which Boris Johnson, Farage et al said they were with “the people” - and they still say it now (remember the “Parliament v. People” and we are “all in this together “?). They implied that just like the people they were suffering under the EU.

I see it as a deliberate political construct used for the electoral purposes of Boris Johnson. He had always wanted the top job and used the brainpower of Mr. Cummings to get him there. These two, the single-minded driven brains and the gregarious frontman, were given an easy goal in the light of the Labour Party’s divisions and their more complex message. The simplicity of the message shone out. People were persuaded they knew what they were doing because the message was so clear.

vegansrock Wed 27-May-20 05:47:54

Brexit does matter, since the promises made in 2016 were undeliverable. Johnson's lies at the election that he had an “oven ready deal”‘ when he actually had no deal are coming back to bite him on the bum when the economy is already taking a massive hit. How many of those who voted for Brexit have since died I wonder?

Davidhs Tue 26-May-20 20:39:35

Brexit doesn’t matter any more does it.
The Corona virus disaster is going to overshadow any gain or loss due to Brexit. We are all in the same boat now, it’s up to us all to make the best of whatever state the economy is in over the next few years.

Cindersdad Tue 26-May-20 20:14:58

All those in power at the time of WW2 have long passed on so to attach any responsibility to the present generations of Europeans is flawed. The European Coal, Iron and Steel Federation which morphed into the EU came about to ensure that never again would there be a major conflict in Europe. By breaking up the EU, faults and all, we are risking that peace which has lasted more or less in tact for over 70 years. The gap between WW1 and WW2 was just 21 years.

The Germans have become the leading European nation because they have worked hard and been governed well since WW2. The fact that Britain may have fallen behind is down to the British and our political system. Harking back to days of Empire when Britain was the world's strongest power does us no favours. Every British leader since WW2, except for Boris Johnson, has recognised that we need to be part of Europe. Theresa May, a European at heart, was handed a poison chalice by David Cameron, she gave up because in the end she realised Brexit could not be delivered.

The current government has messed up Covid-19 from the start for reasons well known. They had evidence from South Korea, Taiwan and the WHO which they chose not to follow at the cost of at least 20,000 lives. To them Brexit took priority over evrything including preparation for Covid-19 which they knew was coming.

That is why I and many of my fellow citizens feel ashmed of our Government hell bent on destroying a once great nation for reasons best known to themselves.

Few if any WW2 veterans are Brexiteers because they remember just how awful war was. I was born just after D-Day, though I do not remember much before 1950 I do remember rationing, bomb sites in Liverpool and other after effects of WW2 well enough not to risk a repeat.

EllanVannin Tue 26-May-20 19:31:09


What about the French Resistance , Poland, Belgium, Greece, Norway, Czechoslovakia, Malta.

Many more countries supported Britain back in 1939 to 1945.

Who do you think would be there to support us if, God forbid, there should be another war ?

lemongrove Tue 26-May-20 19:28:22

Why, thank you gangy 😃 I’m often a lone voice in the wilderness, I realise.😁

gangy5 Tue 26-May-20 19:13:47

lemongrove I must chip in here and congratulate you on such a sensible post !!

Baggs Tue 26-May-20 19:07:50

Divisions, or differences of opinion freely expressed, are the sign of a healthy democracy. Where uniformity of opinion and political leanings are suppressed you have a dictatorship. Dictatorships have a history of being oppressive and demanding conformity on pain of severe punishment.

Give me divisions every time.

Hetty58 Tue 26-May-20 19:05:04

Dinahmo, you're right in that 'it seemed that everybody was pulling together' - but that was just an illusion created by a common threat.

Of course, the danger was, and is, far greater for some than others. There are always divisions, different viewpoints and opinions.

People will try to simplify - but being a Labour or Tory supporter doesn't necessarily correspond with being a remainer or brexiteer.

growstuff Tue 26-May-20 18:56:20

I think divisions are too ingrained. They existed before Covid-19 and even before the referendum. Newspapers, social media and, of course, politicians exploit them and reinforce them for their own agendas, but they're not going to go away. There must be hundreds of "fault lines" - education, wealth, class, age, immigration, geographical location, big vs little state, ideas about the place of the family/marriage, sexuality, crime and punishment, globalism, ideas about equality, ete etc etc.

None of those are going to go away. At least in the "olden days" it was just religion which divided people. hmm

lemongrove Tue 26-May-20 18:42:29

I do think divisions will be healed ( or at least partially so)
When this pandemic is over and we have concluded trade talks with the EU.Life will return to normal, and it will be a long time to another General Election. I also think, perhaps hopefully, that a kinder spirit will prevail after this difficult year, and that people will be happy to do all the things they are used to doing without feeling the need to be aggrieved about false divisions because newspapers and social media tell them to be.

growstuff Tue 26-May-20 18:34:14

Well said Doodledog.

growstuff Tue 26-May-20 18:32:05

EllanVannin I was Birkenhead born and bred. Even back in the day when the Mersey still had shipyards and was relatively thriving, I was looked down on for being a snob (yes really) for having the audacity to move to London. A certain kind of inverted snobbery and tribalism, based on location, has always existed. It's shame because London has some of the poorest, most deprived boroughs in the country and West Wirral has some pockets of wealth. It's really not as simple as dividing the country by geographical location.

Doodledog Tue 26-May-20 18:32:04

I think that people have been encouraged to divide one another into groups, and that divisions have been deliberately engineered.

Older people are Boomers, who have had lives handed on a plate, get enormous pensions, spend their lives on cruises, and didn't pay for anything.

Young people are Millenials, who are feckless and selfish. They were spoilt by their parents and expect to be treated as special without working hard.

Brexiteers are racist Gammons, who froth at the mouth when Johnny Foreigner is mentioned, and would flog or hang people for littering.

Europhiles are whinging Remoaners, who need to 'get over it', 'suck it up', and accept that they 'lost'.

Muslims are Extremists, who abuse women and have terrorist sympathies.

Experts are Elites, with arrogant ideas that they want to inflict on everyone else.

Workers are Ignoramuses.

The unemployed are Scroungers. And so on.

It's a good job you and I are normal (and I'm not too sure about you!) grin

It is so much easier to pick people off when they are 'othered' like this. If we all stuck together and supported one another, regardless of religion, colour, age, politics or anything else, we would be a force to be reckoned with, but as long as we are busy being annoyed by some, looking down on others and sticking firmly to our guns, the government can get away with what it likes.

georgenotheoldone Tue 26-May-20 18:03:41

What a pity EllanVannin brought up WW2.
Germany invaded many countries, supported by Italy. They sought to dominate Europe with the "Thousand Year Reich".
France had a very strong Hitler supporting faction, Paris welcomed the German occupation.
Denmark provided an army of volunteers to help Germany.
Please explain how those countries helped us.

EllanVannin Tue 26-May-20 17:45:30

We pay more in overseas aid than we did being part of the EU.

EllanVannin Tue 26-May-20 17:43:24

Cindersdad, I too voted Remain as I could foresee the shambles ahead of leaving the EU. To be perfectly honest, I saw it as a snub to Europe and felt quite ashamed for what they did in helping this country during the Second World War.

Cindersdad Tue 26-May-20 17:37:45

As an ardent Remainer I'm not prepared to put up or shut up when nothing has led me to believe that Brexit is not very bad for Britain indeed. The solution for Northern Ireland is unworkable, most leave voters did not vote for the type of Brexit we are likely to end up with. 52% may have voted for it but who will benefit from it, very few of the 52%?

I fear that Brexit may go horribly wrong in which case those who voted for it will feel cheated and blame the lies told by Vote Leave for the sorry state we find ourselves in . If that happens then the usual British self reserve could well give way to violence in the streets.

If Brexit works out then I will have been proved wrong.

As for the divisions in society they will only be healed when both Labour and Conservative parties move towards the centre ground like they used to be from the 1950's to 1970's. The Labour party has taken a step in the right direction by electing Sir Kier Starmer as its new leader. There are moderate Conservatives waiting in the wings to pick up what's left of their party in due course.