I like so many over the past weeks have listened with often confused dismay on the conflicting arguments of the EU referendum. I have heard valid arguments for and against, I have also heard fallacies, made up and exaggerated fabrications to further the leave or remain campaigns. I have watched the silly “Brexit” and Bremain” slogan words develop and get banded around proudly like some funky trendy fashionable brand. I have also seen a vast array of famous people forge a link with either side in the hope that the celeb status will somehow sway our minds.
I have watched as people who are undecided slowly get bored with the forceful nature both campaigns inflict on us day to day. In alliance with the media there is little respite from this constant bickering and demanding we understand their point and vote their way. So much so that I should imagine that the humble undecided person is probably sick to death of the entire subject and probably justified in deciding to avoid the whole sodding thing all together.
I am the daughter of parents who were both very active local councillors. I was brought up with politics, and taught the importance of my right to vote. I was encouraged to read up on parties and MP’s values, and with this information make up my own mind on how to cast my vote. Even with this nurtured up bringing I’m finding that I am becoming more and more disillusioned with government, with political parties, and how our MP’s behave. As a lady that was taught to stay informed about politics I often watched prime ministers question time, this is something I no longer do. I simply cannot tolerate watching the behaviour of these elected grown adults on my TV anymore. I have witnessed incessant interruptions when people are trying to speak. Watched copious amounts of varied ways to insult fellow MP’s, anything from picking on a person’s outfit, to insulting family members. Not to mention that you’re in danger of not hearing anything at all because in the background you have back benchers jeering, booing, and making noise like petulant school children. I watched on one occasion the Speaker of the House – the person charged with bringing some sort of order and decorum to proceedings – reprimanded a high ranking MP for fiddling with his mobile phone and not concentrating. I was fascinated as I watched a grown man be told off like a child for something that we all know is simply common courtesy. I’m pretty sure we would be able to put our phones away in an important meeting, I’m sure if the meeting was televised in front of a nation of people who elected us it would be incentive enough to behave like an adult….surely? So does that make Mr Speaker the voice of reason you may ask? The man tasked with managing this seemingly raucous gaggle of infantile adults. I would love to confidently say this is so, however I have witnessed some glaring inconsistencies while watching these procedures. I watched a MP be evicted from the house for using an insulting term to the prime minister. A valid and mature response to childish behaviour, and a great precedent to set for others to behave better in the future. Much like a referee in a football game one can only hope for some consistency in using this discipline in order to promote the desire to behave better or reap the consequences of being sent out like a naughty school child. I would love to say this is so, however I watched in dismay as this same Mr Speaker sat quietly as the two party leaders went on a tirade of insults to one another one insulting their opponents clothing and in retaliation the other went on to question if their mother would be proud of their actions. Yes people our party leaders stooped to the ever childish “your mum” retorts! Did the gentleman who was fiddling with his phone get sent out I hear you say? No he did not. He didn’t get sent out the first time he did it, neither did he get sent out the second time he re offended fiddling with the same phone. I am literally flabbergasted with this behaviour, jaw droppingly amazed at what I was watching week after week.
This led me to thinking about why I was so annoyed at this behaviour. Most of us go out to work. Before this we went to school. In both places we have be taught to conform to rules of behaviour. We grow up with these social conformities in order attain good grades and work in a pleasant productive and respectful environment. We learn from work, school and our parents to not interrupt people when they are trying to speak, to listen, to concentrate when people are talking to us, to not insult others. Basic normal human social behaviour. Why then is it acceptable for the people who run our country to behave like small children? With a blatant disregard for the social education we all diligently adhere to? Many people have told me that what I witness on Prime Ministers Question Time is the house of parliament’s way of working, its normal and standard to behave in this manner. To them I ask WHY? Why is it ok to disregard what the rest of the nation so diligently adheres to? If I insulted someone at work I would be disciplined, a grievance would be filed against me. If my child insulted someone at school I would be notified and asked to help teach and discipline my child. If I “jeered” and “booed” people in a meeting I can’t imagine I would last long before I was asked to leave, and if I insisted in this behaviour I should, after my disciplinary’ and grievances, be fired for my quite frankly childish and stupid behaviour. Why oh why then is it ok for these so called highly skilled, highly paid MP’s who we elected to behave any differently?
Now before I go on it would be wrong of me to tar every MP and political person with the same brush. I can proudly report that I have watched many MP’s act like the groomed members of society that the rest of us are pushed to be in the outside world. Certain members of parliament shone through the sea of old fashioned antiquated values of interrupting and jeering. They were a beacon of refreshing behaviour acting with honour and with decorum. Now I didn’t want to name people or parties in this blog, this is not about what side of the fence you sit on. Regardless of what colour you vote for this blog is not to push my ideas or values or sway your opinion in any way. That would make me as bad as them. However while writing this blog I have read of the sad passing of Jo Cox MP for Batley and Spen, and in honour of her I feel it’s only right to go against my rule of not mentioning people or parties and proudly name her has one of the good guys. In stark contrast to the loud and raucous people who shout and interrupt, I watched her talk articulately with grace and heart. Her passing is sad and tragic and parliament has lost a rising star.
There are a few more like Jo that I have watched and possibly more that I have not. I ask them to battle on, to not be swayed or turned by the quite frankly old, dated and childish ways of the rest of the house. I ask them to stick to their principals, to continue to act in the controlled manner we as the public are asked to behave as members of society. Carry on rising above the bullying and mumbling over people talking, stand tall and know you are above and beyond such childish behaviour. You are our rays of hope for change, you are new blood in a sea of career lead MP’s who are so quick to adopt the quite frankly stupid and childish behaviours that I see in parliament. I can only hope one day for change. That one day I can turn on my telly and watch the leaders of our country talk intelligently and listen to one another, discussing things like adults, debating with honour, and working together to find the best solutions for our country. To those MP’s that behave in the childish manner I have talked of, GROW UP. Look at how your constituents are asked to behave at work and try to emulate that in the place you work, the place we elected you to work for us. Maybe then we the fine people of this country can begin to start to engage again with politics, when we see the people in it behave as we do.
The EU referendum debate rages on, and me, a home grown political enthusiast, can’t wait for it to be over. I’m sick to death of it. I’m sick of the stupid posters, the scare tactics, the contradicting arguments that render both sides arguments utterly pointless and all of these from the childish politicians I have just spent time chastising. I need a political rest! Just recently it feels relentless, it only feels like yesterday we voted in the general election, more recently we had the Scottish referendum, London Mayor, and now the EU debate. I’m tired of it. One can only hope for a well-earned rest from hearing from these inflated pushy members of parliament.
Now I know many of you may be wandering how I will vote? Will I vote when I’m so disheartened with politics right now? It would go against my values to not. However on this one I won’t be swayed by either sides’ quite frankly bullish, scary, over inflated, media driven, in your face tactics. On this one I will look to my heart and seek deep inside for my own values. In this current climate of terrorism I think it would be better for us to stick together. I think it’s sad that in this modern era we are all seeking to separate and divide. I was saddened to watch the referendum in Scotland and equally saddened to hear of more attempts to divide us in this EU debate. At the end of the day we are all human beings no matter what country we live in and in life I know it’s easier and nicer if we stick together, especially now with so many nasty people who seem to insist on bringing terror to our world. That’s my thought process, not forged from MP’s complex economic reports, leaflets, facebook posts or celebrities backing campaigns. Just human instinct and perhaps a naïve desire for the people of Europe to just stick together. It’s only my opinion. Yours is your own, and because it is yours it is right. I just ask that you have made your own mind up and not been swayed by the sea of other people’s ideas and media driven opinions.
When this EU referendum is all over, hopefully we will have all earned a well-deserved break from pushy politics. I look forward to this day when the papers and media go back to the mundane celeb non news, and it is safe to look at the letter box free from scary leaflets about Europe. That day can’t come soon enough for me. Perhaps while we take that break, the politicians of this country can take the time to reflect on their behaviour. Change can happen. You don’t have to behave like children in parliament. In the unlikely event any one of the MP’s reads this blog I beg of you to evoke change. I know it’s hard to make these changes, but it can be done. Please try, from a lady that grew up with active political parents, try to restore my faith in politics.