Build­ing con­sen­sus ver­sus lan­guage

Western Morning News - - Letters -

I lis­tened with mount­ing dis­be­lief to com­ments made on Novem­ber 28 by Ja­cob Rees-Mogg on BBC Ra­dio.

The pre­sen­ter asked the

MP, who wants a crash-out Brexit, his view of fig­ures pub­lished by the Bank of Eng­land which state that a dis­or­derly Brexit would re­duce UK eco­nomic growth by 8% and would most prob­a­bly lead to a house price col­lapse and sig­nif­i­cant growth in in­fla­tion, in­ter­est rates and un­em­ploy­ment.

Th­ese points are also listed in other eco­nomic re­ports and lay waste to the ex­treme Brex­iter view that ex­it­ing the EU will, “apart from a short bumpy pe­riod“, be eco­nom­i­cally mar­vel­lous for the “Bri­tish pub­lic”.

Mr Rees-Mogg avoided a de­tailed re­sponse and in­stead at­tacked the Gover­nor of the Bank in the most ag­gres­sive terms stat­ing that all the stud­ies pro­duced while this Cana­dian has been the

Bank’s leader are er­ro­neous and “hys­ter­i­cal”.

To hear a politi­cian who, it seems, wants des­perately to be­come leader of the Con­ser­va­tive Party (and Prime Min­is­ter?) us­ing such hys­ter­i­cal lan­guage him­self showed why many vot­ers de­spair of cur­rent politi­cians.

Could it be that deal­ing log­i­cally with in­for­ma­tion that goes against your view is no longer nec­es­sary if you are a Brex­iter?

The word Brex­iter is surely prefer­able, by the way, to Brex­i­teer? Pri­va­teers were pi­rates who stole from ev­ery­body dur­ing the 18th cen­tury; is that the kind of as­so­ci­a­tion that Mr ReesMogg, a very rich man, and his as­so­ciates want?

Mr Rees-Mogg also claimed the BBC was in­sult­ing his rep­u­ta­tion by “as­ser­tions of dis­hon­esty”. It should be pos­si­ble for the UK to rise above the in­ter­na­tional trend in pol­i­tics by which “the main form of de­fence is al­ways to at­tack”.

We also seem to have for­got­ten that only last month the Prime Min­is­ter was said by Brex­iters to “be en­ter­ing the death zone,” “that she should bring her own noose” and that “a hot knife should be used” against her.

The Bri­tish voter surely re­jects this type of lan­guage and yet it has been used by politi­cians who claim they alone can lead us back to a pe­riod when Bri­tish val­ues (such as calm de­bate and po­lite lan­guage) were re­spected across the world.

If we are to Brexit, which other Bri­tish val­ues must we dis­card? Hon­esty? The in­tegrity to ac­cept that your opin­ion is dis­proven by events? Fair play show­ing re­spect for peo­ple who have a dif­fer­ent view than yours?

Boris Johnson is praised by some for us­ing “colour­ful lan­guage” and yet, when it came to one of the most ba­sic du­ties of a For­eign Min­is­ter, that of pro­tect­ing the well­be­ing of Bri­tish ci­ti­zens abroad, he clearly failed.

Is the po­lit­i­cal leader of the post-Brexit world to be judged by the ag­gres­sion of his/her lan­guage rather than their abil­ity to build con­sen­sus?

Jeremy Hall

Crock­ern­well, Ex­eter

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