Claire wrote an article for the Spectator following her appearance on BBC Politics Live. She argues that whatever the aggravations of the Brexit debates, it’s time to try to be constructive in the way we discuss politics.
I confess I had butterflies doing the first BBC Politics Live of 2020. It felt like the first day back at school. Beyond Twitter spats and Christmas family banter, the festive period had been politics-free. Would I be rusty, especially as one of the other panelists was the formidable Alastair Campbell? As a former People’s Vote heavyweight, Campbell is something of an arch nemesis who has a reputation for taking no prisoners.
But regardless, one of my new year resolutions is to not dwell on past enmities. I am keen to build some unity, in order to make Brexit as productive as possible. Ahead of the programme, I reminded myself of the importance of not gloating about our impending departure from the EU, regardless of my antipathy to the second referendum crowd.
Sloganeering and name-calling have been some of the most unsavoury aspects of Leave/ Remain conflicts over the past few years. This won’t stop overnight. For many Leavers, having been demonised in the vilest terms as racists, stupid and worse, it is hard to simply employ a hug-a-Remainer approach. For those still clinging on to their Remain identity, a degree of bitter resentment and profound disappointment may lead to a lashing out. Certainly, we can expect a regular stream of Brexit-blaming soundbites whatever issue is being discussed, as Alastair Campbell illustrated with his resort to a Brexit snipe in the middle of a discussion about an unrelated conflict across the world. Hopefully, he learned a lesson from his on-air mistake.
Whether he learns the lesson or not, the rest of us should. Here’s to less sniping and better arguing in 2020.
Read the full article here.