2017 Election thoughts: End of free speech?

Firstly this post is not criticising any political party in the attempt to promote their rival. This is simply my opinion on why I fear for the future of British politics due to the political environment and our society.

Division of the Country

As shown in the run up the Brexit referendum this nation is deeply divided on many fronts. However, rather than talking to each other to find common ground or at least an ability to understand and accept why people vote for in/out of the EU or Labour or/Conservatives in the upcoming General Election , we are now in a situation where vast swathes of the population feel they can not express their political view-point.

I will first touch on Brexit. This referendum was and still is a driving force in the division of this nation. However, my main issues lies with the way politicians and their supporters fought for their preferred result. There was excessive fear mongering from the remain side and the Brexiteers were overly optimistic and wanting people to look at the past through rose-tinted glasses.

With a referendum such as the Brexit it is tough to look at facts as we cannot predict the future The predictions of what will happen have been proven to be innacarute not only with Brexit but also with previous financial crisis and their effects initially.

This led to the referendum from my perspective been fought with fear mongering and catchy slogans that promised a better tomorrow. Both were equally unrealistic and shown to be best/worst case scenarios rather than the more likely middle ground.

This campaign strategy has exacerbated an underlying problem. As a nation we are unable to accept that people have different political opinions and we automatically label one another based on their opinion.

A vocal group of remain supporters labelled the Brexit supporter racists, stupid, ignorant and easily misled by their campaign to leave the EU. Equally the remainers were labelled naive, unpatriotic and were controlled by the machine. I strongly believe that the lack of compromise and willing to accept people’s views but debating them on it has led to the protests and results we see today.

To label all Brexit supporters racist is incredibly insulting to anyone who voted to leave the EU. Were some racist. Probably yes. However, many individuals voted to leave the EU for valid reasons that they thought would mean that Britain would be in a better position in the future. If you have concerns about immigration and the levels of people entering a country does this make you racist? No, many people had valid concerns whether it is the lack of space/houses and the lack of integration that is so prevalent in some areas. But for a vocal group of remainers to ignore a significant portion of the populations concerns and label them as racist meant that many people did not dare to air their opinions out of fear of being labelled a racist. This is one of the key reasons why the polls did not pick up the result. Instead of airing their views and been persuaded to change or at least make others understand why they felt that way, they would wait until the ballot box before confirming sharing their opinion.

Equally groups of the leave campaign who vilified some immigrants and their supporters as inviting terror to the streets of Britain was disgusting. This escalation on both sides has and is resulting in an evermore divided country where people are refusing to listen to each other when they have opinions and concerns.

This division intensified after the election where remainers complained that the older generations were able to vote which had a massive impact on the result. Promoting an idea that bans certain groups voting in referendums and elections based on their age is truly shocking. If, for example you banned certain people voting on wealth or religion this would not be tolerated so to say that in this election older generations should not have been allowed to vote in my mind really shows the lack of respect for each others opinions.

Do I understand why remainers were upset and I equally understand why brexiteers were happy. I support the freedom of speech if you are unhappy with a result but there is a fine line between freedom of speech and then beginning to oppress a group based on race, religion or age and this was crossed by some remainers. Again this is where, whether you like it or not, the majority of people who took the time to vote, voted to leave. If you are upset with the result then use this to try to make changes by going into politics yourself or support a party that is true to your values. To try to force through a second referendum through accusations that all leave supporters were racist and this was over 50% of the voters sets a dangerous precedent and only harms your own viewpoint. If we held elections like this then we would be in a never-ending cycle of general elections when people change their mind.

Finally, with regards to the current election the current party’s and their supporters tactics is not of benefit to anyone. The conservatives have been extremely thin on the ground when it comes to their policies and I hope that once they officially launch their manifesto we begin to see their plans for the country so everyone can make an informed decision. However, like with brexit the tory supporters need to recognise why Jeremy Corbyn has support. Is he this liberal lunatic they portray him to be? No. I honestly believe he feels he would do what is in the best interests of the nation,  whether you agree with that is down to your opinion, but he and his supporters should be allowed to explain why they feel that way but also how they will implement those changes in a realistic way. It is vital that any political party gives realistic aims rather telling people just what they want to hear.

Equally worrying is the name calling of the tory supporters. I have seen many Corbyn supporters label tory supporters as “dirty tory” and use slogans such as “never trust a tory”. These slogans although might be of use for marketing are unacceptable attacks on people’s support for a party. Equally the verbal attack on tory supporters stating “I hope you get ill and need the NHS if they win as you won’t be able to afford it” is disgusting. Wishing ill on a person just because you have a different political opinion is damaging to everyone and again promotes this fear of speaking openly about your opinions. This promotes conditions where the far right and left can flourish.

Whether you agree with their political views or not to resort to this style of bullying is unacceptable and promotes further shifts to the far right and left as much of the population feel disenfranchised and unable to openly air their opinions.

All we can hope for moving forward is that common sense prevails and we finally listen to each other and respect different opinions.

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