I spent nearly a year working with an amazing group of MEPs from Cons, EPP, Labour, LibDems, Greens, Plaid and SNP who worked cross-party against Brexit, and, as importantly, to keep their EU27 colleagues on the not just Remain’s side, but the UK’s more generally.
They were brilliant. Despite very big political differences, they cooperated across party lines for a bigger objective. That’s what MEPs do. It’s the nature of the EP that cross-party cooperation is essential to get good outcomes.
They each individually took endless flack and abuse, and stood up to it. They should be applauded by remainers and leavers for mitigating the appalling effect of UKIP, Leave dot EU, much of the UK press and our own Government’s actions has had on trust and sympathy for the UK. 3/
While others were trying to destroy the UK’s reputation, and with it prospects for a positive UK-EU relationship if Brexit does happen, they stemmed a tide of those whose patience was understandably running out with an obviously disfunctional UK government and politics.
To get to work even a little with such great people willing to do this across party and political lines was one of the most uplifting experiences of my life. Really.
Now though that the politics has reverted to the standard UK mode, I don’t even feel I can name them for fear that it would cause problems for them in (some, only some) of their parties.
The contrast between the two modes of politics is so sharp. Cooperation for a common outcome or goal for the simple reason that it is the right thing to do, versus unshakeable party loyalty above all other considerations.
Call me naive or an idealist if you like (though I studied and taught politics and have been around it my whole life), point out that I’m comparing apples with oranges, or that the system dictates it must be this way. 8/
All are reasonable criticisms. I wouldn’t dismiss any of them.
The contrast is bloody depressing though, and bodes ill for our future unless there is serious reform of the political system in the UK.
As ordinary citizens (and party supporters and members), we can at least try to lessen the contrast, and, as Remain campaigners, we can try to maintain that spirit of cross-party cooperation that (most of) the parties themselves seem incapable of.
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