Building consensus versus language
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?