Last week the Pride of Britain awards celebrated achievements of “truly remarkable people who make our world a better place.” Tens of thousands of nominations are submitted each year; stories of these individuals are shared with millions watching at home.
Over the weekend Britons gathered for Remembrance Day, in appreciation of those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of their countrymen and women in World Wars I and II.
Away from ceremony, currently it seems Britain is far from being a nation at ease with itself; so many, at least in the mainstream media, day-in day-out seem so uncertain, gloomy about their prospects.
Last year’s Brexit referendum result continues to be divisive and, indeed, traumatic for many who jumped into the ill-fated ‘Remain’ camp with both feet. How unhelpful is the daily speculation of Brexit negotiations, the ‘will they, won’t they’ agree on this line or that paragraph? The ‘us versus them’ coverage of talks, as we know in Northern Ireland, gets us nowhere.
Bar the impending collateral damage Northern Ireland is looking increasingly likely to endure, particularly given our lack of a local voice at the negotiating table, will Britain outside of the European Union really fare that badly? This writer doubts it. Not if Britons get it right, together.
But Brexit is just half of the matter.
There’s something not quite right about so many sitting glued to their mobile phones, awaiting with glee as Priti Patel – now former International Development Secretary – flew into London to resign from ministerial office.
If Britons want to “take back control,” and pride, they won’t do so by focusing on what divides them, or being distracted by mini political sagas and point scoring.
Over the weekend, a friend recommended I read David Aaronovitch’s article in The Times: It’s easy to see their flaws but from Thatcher to Cameron, leaders often leave a much better legacy than we imagine. I’d ask you to read it too.
People say what they like about politicians. In Northern Ireland, despite our frustrations, we still give our political leaders credit for bringing us two decades of peace as opposed to conflict.
Before the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement passes in 2018 without a power-sharing Executive, and before Brexit negotiations conclude in 2019 without us having a say, wouldn’t it be great to take pride in our politicians again?
Also published on Medium.