Tuesday, 2 January 2018


One of the most insidious traits human beings possess is an innate sense of certainty. Even when expressing uncertainty, most of us are convinced of the overwhelming honesty of our position. Politicians in particular feel the need to express in absolute terms why their philosophy is better than the other side’s philosophy, why the opposition’s policies are sure to fail... and then they go on to adopt and adapt and rename the other side’s policy as their own.

And having mentioned philosophy, if ever there was certainty in this most uncertain of callings, A C Grayling does his level best to express it to an astonishing degree. He thinks, or at least he tweets as if he thinks, that all who voted for Brexit are country-wrecking, intellectually challenged, mentally deficient thugs. The hysteria with which he presents this viewpoint approaches the point at which any truly sane person would begin to doubt their own mental stability.

Brexiteers are plain nasty, didn’t you know? Take this Guardian article by Matthew D’Ancona, in which his disdain for ‘populism’ shines like a beacon calling all like-minded Remain voters to the temple. In his world, all the spite, all the spitting hatred, all the very worst human ugliness is displayed only by Leavers, who he only just falls short of comparing to Nazis. The ‘lexicon of Brexit’ he seems to suggest, would have made Joseph Goebbels proud.

But this expression of certainty that the other side are the villains of the piece is not just a one way observation. In the Daily Mail Dominic Lawson argues that the Remainers are out of touch deniers of democracy. Oddly, in that very article Lawson observes that Matthew D’Ancona himself said of anti-Brexit group figurehead Lord Malloch-Brown that he is 'the very incarnation of what made people vote Leave in the first place'. Odd how the light occasionally shines through.

Naturally, I enjoyed the Daily Mail piece – which satisfied my own confirmation bias – more than the Guardian one – which raised my hackles a little and comes over as sneering disdain for ‘people like me’. But then this is how humans function; we need certainty in our lives, we like to be agreed with. We want to spend time in our own comfortable bubbles. This Express piece by Owen Paterson similarly feeds me ‘facts’ I like to hear, as opposed to ‘lies’ I don’t want to hear, expressing the certainty of economic triumphs post-Brexit

Dealing with certainty...

It’s all getting a bit too much though and at some time reality surely must bite. As much as I might turn my nose up at his activism, I recall Sting’s lyrics in ‘Russians’: “There is no monopoly on common sense, on either side of the political fence.” And realise that we need to leave room for uncertainty. As I keep saying, nobody knows the future, but what we all should realise is that we are driven by the same instincts. Maybe the other side has a point? Maybe we do all want the same things, after all? There has to be room to express and embrace doubt and to not do so, to paraphrase Sting, would be such an ignorant thing to do, if Remainers love their children too.

1 comment:

  1. I believe exactly the same thing about remainers as Grayling does about leavers. I base my belief so I tell myself on evidence as for me there is an abundance of it to substantiate the leave case but I am convinced I can find none to support remain and nor can they. It does not help their cause that they have stupidly made predictions that have been quickly shown up to be false.