Sunday, 31 March 2019

X marks the spot

We've just overshot the date at which the UK might have exited the European Union. If and when that happens now is very unclear. But the mark on people's calendars for either parties or acts of sad reflection, will remain as an historic record of a politics that has gone awry.

These are extraordinary times, not just because of Brexit, but also the range of social, physical and geo-political challenges that face us. Northern Friends Peace Board members, meeting at the beginning of March, reflected on this, with a paper of reflections and questions in front of them.

As I write, we are into extra time before the next point in this national political crisis. This time might entail another opportunity to vote – putting our X on the ballot-paper.  With issues so unresolved, it is in the nature of the lead-up to any further vote that it will be used by those involved to both promote their particular vision but also to argue against others, and all too often to denigrate them or others in society.

It will be crucially important for journalists, citizens and anyone with a public voice to scrutinise assertions and challenge the language of hate. In relation to the EU elections, QCEA has recently set up a particularly helpful website , aiming to change the conversation from hate-speech. This will be just as important in whatever electoral context we find ourselves next.