DIA CHAKRAVARTY

The Sunday Telegraph - - Front page - DIA CHAKRAVARTY FOL­LOW Dia Chakravarty on Twit­ter @Di­aChakravarty

Shailesh Vara, Do­minic Raab, Es­ther McVey, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Suella Braver­man, Ranil Jayawar­dena, Rehman Chishti, reads the list of the seven Con­ser­va­tives who re­signed in nearly as many hours from their var­i­ous min­is­te­rial and se­nior party roles on Thurs­day in protest at Theresa May’s draft With­drawal Agree­ment. None of them felt that the deal they were pre­sented with re­spected the ref­er­en­dum re­sult.

This list of names also goes against the ap­par­ently es­tab­lished nar­ra­tive that the only peo­ple kick­ing up a fuss about im­ple­ment­ing the Leave vote are a bunch of old, white men who (given half a chance) would cut us off from the rest of the world. The “lit­tle Eng­lan­ders” hell bent on de­stroy­ing the coun­try.

I have al­ways found the dis­missal of “old, white men”, on the grounds that they are ap­par­ently self­ish xeno­phobes, rather amus­ing. As if – even were the lu­di­crous char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion to be true – their vote would carry any less weight than that of young im­mi­grant women like me in a democ­racy.

So I con­fess it tick­led me some­what when, once the stream of resignations ended last week, it tran­spired that ev­ery one of those who felt com­pelled to leave their var­i­ous cov­eted gov­ern­ment and party roles in protest at Mrs May’s bodged Brexit is ei­ther an eth­nic mi­nor­ity, a child of an im­mi­grant or a woman. Not one of them can jus­ti­fi­ably be de­scribed as old, ei­ther. A de­li­cious irony.

I have no doubt there are some who would deny women or im­mi­grants and their chil­dren agency and would ar­gue that these seven in­di­vid­u­als from hugely di­verse back­grounds are mere props in a racist “Gam­mon” project. But that would only be­tray their own nar­row-mind­ed­ness in ques­tion­ing the in­tegrity – without any ev­i­dence – of any­one who goes against their idea of how some­one who def­i­nitely isn’t an old, white man ought to think and vote.

The truth, I think, tells a much more in­ter­est­ing story about a quiet but mean­ing­ful evo­lu­tion that Bri­tain has gone through over the re­cent years: it has be­come much harder to di­vide the coun­try along the lazy, nar­row lines of gen­der and eth­nic­ity.

Peo­ple are ul­ti­mately the sum of their ex­pe­ri­ences and the val­ues they hold dear. And in a truly in­clu­sive coun­try, where ev­ery cit­i­zen is en­cour­aged to have a stake in the so­ci­ety and an equal say in pol­i­cy­mak­ing, nei­ther ex­pe­ri­ences nor val­ues re­main the pre­serve of any par­tic­u­lar sex or eth­nic group. Peo­ple are much more likely to be di­vided along ide­o­log­i­cal lines.

And so it was with the seven MPs who cited their con­cern around the im­pact of Mrs May’s deal on the in­tegrity of the Union and our abil­ity to make our own laws and strike in­de­pen­dent trade deals as rea­sons for their res­ig­na­tion.

It is in­ter­est­ing that not one raised the con­tin­u­a­tion of free move­ment un­til the end of the tran­si­tion pe­riod as a rea­son for their de­par­ture, lend­ing weight to the view that bor­der con­trol is far from the most sig­nif­i­cant con­sid­er­a­tion for all Brex­i­teers.

We may be a coun­try truly di­vided on the is­sue of Brexit, but we cer­tainly aren’t on race. Not many coun­tries can claim that.

The MPs re­sign­ing over the bodged Brexit are ei­ther women or a child of im­mi­grants

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