Brexit – a story from breakdown to breakthrough?

Following the last Brexit deadlock on the evening of 27th March, in which MP’s rejected eight different proposals to overcome the current frictions, I updated my post (originally posted on the morning of 27th March) with three questions to politicians as follows:

  1. Isn’t it the responsibility of politicians (whether in government or parliament) – rather than the people – to lead the country and shouldn’t therefore a referendum only ever be advisory (which I believe the European Union Referendum Act 2015 did state) and if anything have a persuasive political effect only, and is it not for politicians to decide in which direction to take things?
  2. Did the referendum result in 2016 not show that the country is divided rather than clearly for or against something? And does the months-long Brexit mess and yesterday’s failure of MP’s to reach agreement on any of the proposed solutions to overcome the frictions not reflect that same division?
  3. Why was the small majority of leave votes interpreted as an order to focus all efforts, energy and money towards the division and separation of the EU rather than taken as a mandate to eradicate the divisions within and bring people of the UK together again? Instead of being concerned about the result and taking responsibility for the division and hatred that exists, the finger has been pointed elsewhere. However, unity and peace are an inside out job and it is politicians’ responsibility to facilitate, work and lead our society towards that. Leaving the European Union will not bring people in the UK together; or solve any of the problems that have been the focus of the campaigns.

Brexit is like cosmetic surgery done for the wrong reasons: fixing something on the outside whilst staying ugly and depressed inside. The WHY must not be that a (tiny!) majority voted, the why must be traced further back … #Revoke #Brexit

Original post starts here

On Saturday, 23 March 2019 I took part in a public protest (the Brexit People’s Vote March) for the first time ever!!

In my mind I had already planned lots of fun things for my weekend, but in my heart I could only do one thing and join hundreds of thousands of amazing souls to march for what we think is the only ‘right’ solution to the challenges of our time: collaboration, peace and unity, and across borders – as it’s the only solution that will ever help get to the core of our human-made problems.

The energy of peace, unity, love and hope was ever so heart-warming and encouraging, and the other thing that truly touched me were the many simple, yet powerful banner messages.

One of the them was: “If Brexit is the answer, it must have been the wrong question.”

This one really stuck with me as it 100% reflects what I felt back in June 2016 on that fateful day of the referendum result, when I said “It wasn’t a vote about problems, but principles, ie HOW we solve the problems … in isolation or as a team …. This is like going back in time…” I felt my heart sink that morning…

Although, Brexit has been preoccupying my mind ever since, perhaps even caused a sleepless night here and there, I resigned to the fact that I’m powerless over what the government, or politicians in general, decide and act on. Hence, I never actively campaigned or sought to influence this historic misstep as I see it, or even wrote down my thoughts to share them publicly.

Until now that is!

I’m fully aware that it’s very late in the process, but I firmly believe that breakdowns lead to breakthroughs and all it takes is an epiphany moment. As one of the banners said “Change Brexit with a thought.”

I also realise that I never even tried to get my voice heard for I was thinking it’s only a drop in the ocean, however as Mother Theresa said “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”, so if I can only touch one person’s soul, open one person’s heart and transform one person’s mind, writing down and sharing my post today was worth it.

Brexit - breakdown to breakthrough

Politics should be about values – not the problems themselves; more about leading from within –  less about managing on the outside; and more about winning our hearts – not feeding our fears

What many people, and unfortunately most, if not all, politicians in the UK seem to have completely forgotten – and the European Union (EU) perhaps failed to highlight and promote more heavily? – is that the EU is a union of HUMANITARIAN goals and values, with peace and collaboration at the very core of it, having been set up in between 1945 and 1959 “with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars between neighbours, which culminated in the Second World War.”

In 2012 the EU even received the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the causes of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.

And this is exactly what in my mind politics should be about. It should be

  • about putting values such as peace, reconciliation, collaboration and co-operation first – not things such as control, power, money or also technology.
  • about the ways in which challenges are being faced and issues are being tackled (e.g. peacefully, respectfully, collaborative etc.) – not so much about the problems themselves, which only creates fear.
  • about society and humanity as a whole – not about individual countries.

Breakthrough to our humanity (and to revoking Article 50)

So if politics, and life in general, is about humanity I asked “what is humanity and what does it mean to be human”?

A look in the dictionary offers the following synonyms for the qualities of being humane: compassion, brotherly love, fellow feeling, humanness, kindness, kind-heartedness, consideration, understanding, sympathy, tolerance, goodness, good-heartedness, gentleness, tenderness, benevolence, charity, generosity and many more.

Looking at synonyms for humanity itself, the kind and benevolent core seems even more inherent and obvious: Humanity = humankind = human+kind = mankind = man+kind

And that to me explains the chaos as many people are simply going against the grain, that grain within all of us that is inherently kind, brotherly, compassionate, good-hearted and human. They have lost the connection to our humanity, and to their innermost soul and guidance system, and it shows in conflict, poverty, stabbings, littering, growing health problems … and Brexit. As another placard stated: “Brexit is only the symptom, not the cure.”

Reflecting on everything I said and coming back to the referendum question, which was “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”. Would it have been more accurate to let people say YES or NO to union, collaboration and teamwork vs. division and isolation, peace vs. conflict, remaining a key player in shaping Europe and society as a whole vs. becoming small and selfish?

Would it have created a different referendum result? I’d like to think so is all I can say.

And while the political chaos and failure of politicians to find common ground has possibly converted some leave-voters, it’s not really about resigning to something unsuccessful or giving in to power battles, it’s about winning hearts and coming to our human senses.

“No matter how good the team or how efficient the methodology, if we’re not solving the right problem, the project fails.” –Woody Williams

The way politicians can help us get back on track (of being human) is by laying foundations of co-operation and collaboration for everything first, promoting values of union, peace and reconciliation, focusing on opening our hearts rather feeding our fears, putting power-battles aside, never forgetting our responsibility for future generations and society as a whole, never forgetting how wars are created, and as yet another powerful banner message suggested: revoke – remain – reunite – reform – and be stronger together than ever.

Many leavers argue “the people did vote” and “it’s called democracy”.

However, the vote was three years ago and based on false premises as I tried to show in this post. I moreover believe that democracy itself was also born out of conflict and therefore has peace and human values at its very core. Democracy is not something static though (e.g. general elections take place every four years; and can also be called early etc.), but evolves and, just like peace, needs to be lived and nurtured in order to sustain and grow stronger.

I also agree with writer Julie Owen Moylan, who said: “The difference between democratic and totalitarian regimes is the ability to protest decisions, to change your mind, to petition without punishment. The scorn from some politicians and media for Remainers who do these things is a far bigger threat to democracy than having a vote.”

Let’s not divorce from peace, union and teamwork for money or the illusion of control, and let’s make Brexit a story from breakdown to breakthrough!

If you haven’t already, please sign the petition to revoke Article 50 here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/241584

To our peace, our team and to our human-kind xx

“It always seems impossible until its done.” ~Nelson Mandela

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.’ ~Phil Jackson

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”?

“There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that is not learning from experience”. –Laurence J. Peter


B-for-Birgit, that’s me, Birgit Diggins, Founder and Lead Consultant at Power-Words, one of my colourful and free-spirited business ventures, where I help organisational and social changemakers make their words more powerful and work harder.