When It Comes To The EU part 2 –

Is This The Best Atmosphere In Which To Negotiate?

On the 23rd June the country voted in the EU Referendum. We made our decision on gut feel, research based on conjecture and hope. Then someone had to deal with the aftermath.

Some, who thought that they might want to handle the job, just walked away when the time came. Theresa May stepped up to the plate and thank God she did; someone had to and the alternative choices don’t bear thinking about.  She didn’t want to leave the EU and almost certainly still doesn’t but has been handed a task that needs doing; negotiating a deal in such a way that gives Britain the best possible outcome.

For me, the worrying issue now is that everything that the Prime Minister does, every single step, is done in an atmosphere of challenge and turmoil. Each decision triggers hoards to shout at her that it is either too far or that it is not far enough. The papers scream. Each breath, each move, each laugh, each item of clothing is used to stir. The commentary is constant. The noise is deafening.

There will be no pleasing of all of the people. There will be no unification of ideas, hopes and dreams. The best outcome will not appease everyone or be fully agreed on. She will not complete this task and get a sense of success.

This is an appalling atmosphere to work through possibly one of the most complex negotiations of our time. And yet she must continue.

My hope, my prayer, is that she has the strength, courage and willpower to see it to the end. The temptation to walk away must be overwhelming. And that would be utterly disastrous.

When It Comes To The EU part 1 –

We Have The Perspective Of Z

Perspective of size – I highly recommend the animated film Antz to you, a delightful tale about a colony of ants. The main character is a worker ant called Z, pronounced zee, voiced brilliantly by Woody Allen.  Z tries to break away from the insignificance of his existence and accidently becomes a hero, saving millions of lives.  At the end of the film the “camera” pans away and you are shown that this huge colony, that seems vast and complex, is just a small mound in the middle of Central Park. The point is well made; these tiny creatures, that we have come to love and cheer for, are insignificant in the grand scheme of things and so they have a very limited perspective on the whole world.

Perspective of time – When the Romans invaded Britain, no doubt it was a terrible time; a time for fighting against their oppression and for deciding how to deal with these invaders. What would be the best thing to do for your family, should you collaborate or resist and what on earth is garlic?  Now we can look back on that time, almost with fondness, and celebrate some of the ways our country changed – the food, the City walls, the straight roads, Hadrian’s Wall and Fishbourne Palace.  If we had the chance to change history, would we have stopped them?  It is impossible to say.

For weeks before the EU referendum I was trying to make a decision about something that I couldn’t fully grasp. I was confused by the arguments for and against. I couldn’t understand (and still don’t) how anyone could be absolutely certain either way. There were big businesses supporting either side of the argument and there was a lot of noise, but little in the way of facts, because all of it was conjecture – we have neither the perspective of size or time.

I decided to vote remain but I was not sure. I had a feeling that if the country did decide to remain then there would have been a bit of me that wondered if that was the right choice, an opportunity missed.

I am certain that some leavers voted so for utterly racist reasons.  I am equally certain that many did so for logical, strategic and hope filled reasons.  And I am also certain that many who voted either way did so for self-serving reasons and in a position of arrogance.  We all voted from a position of ignorance.

The irrefutable truth is that we democratically voted to leave; well England and Wales did anyway.  It may well mean that Scotland leaves the UK.  On the other hand, it may well unite Ireland. It is impossible to know now if in generations to come this will be seen as a great decision or a disastrous decision – we have the perspective of Z.

 

What If There’s No Such Thing As A Wrong Choice?

This is patently not so… but what if?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last few months and a lot of a lot, in the last few days. (The EU Referendum was 5 days ago.)

At times we do things and then wish we had held off or had done things in a different way.  “If only I had waited until after the weekend” “If only I had waited until after the second interview”  “If only I had turned East rather than West, left earlier, left later, kept my mouth shut, spoke up sooner, had stayed home, had gone out, had voted differently.”

Thoughts like this can keep us awake at night, which is destructive both mentally and physically.  And wondering “what if…” is a waste of precious resources.  We have already spent time churning over different options and taken action based on our thoughts about those options.  It is pointless to re-do the thinking that we have already done, or that we perhaps should have done earlier.

How about looking at this from a different perspective? What if there was no such thing as a wrong choice? What benefit would there be if that were true?

No regrets

No angst

No waste of energy considering the what ifs

We will never know the result of taking a different path from the one we took.  We’ll never be able to compare the outcomes of all the choices.  It is possible that the way we chose was the better choice after all.  Since we’ll never know, to fret over it is to put energy into a pointless activity. That energy could be better spent moving forward on the path we did take.

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This is not a manifesto to be careless about making choices; clearly we need to put our efforts into making good decisions.  It is also not a comment on what happened last week; there were intelligent people on both sides that voted with their consciences for good reasons.