Keep calm and carry on

As a general rule I try to avoid politics. However, the recent referendum on EU membership is more than your average political issue. Save living in a cave it’s been hard to avoid. In particular I am concerned how it has divided the nation on grounds of identity, nationality, age and more.

For me the ideal political climate is one where there is calm, and respect for people of different nationalities, race and political views. I also hope the nation will aspire to the ideal of unity in diversity. The UK is melting pot of different nations, cultures and nationalities. Understanding that, despite these differences, there is more that unites than separates is very important for creating a society where everyone feels welcomed.

The nature of a yes / no political referendum is that it can polarise opinion. Families can find themselves on opposing sides, minority groups feel less welcome, even threatened. There is a split along the grounds of age, region and education. In a period of turmoil, there is always a fear of what may happen and it becomes easier to be very pessimistic and start blaming someone else.

Whatever happens, it is important to remember these universal values of calm, dignity, tolerance and remember we need to treat others how we would like to be treated ourselves. Pessimism and blaming others for our woes only takes us so far. A more constructive approach is to feel what we can do to live and promote the basic values of human goodness, tolerance and empathy.

I work as an economist so I have certain viewpoints on the EU referendum, but I try to avoid projecting motives and negative assumptions on those who take a different view.

If all else fails, avoid the topic. I think it’s still safe to talk to anyone about the weather…

Of course, what the UK really needs amid this chaos and potential disintegration is some sporting achievement to unite the nation in a feel good sporting triumph – like going all the way to the finals of the European football Championships.

Failing that, we should take comfort from that reassuring familiarity of another humiliating failure and under-perfomance at a major championships – if that sense of shared suffering, despondency and gallows humour cannot unite the nation, I don’t know what will.

  • Iceland 2 – Poundland 1

No matter what happens, it’s always worth remembering things have been a lot worse in the past, and they could be a lot worse now. The human spirit is generally resourceful and difficult times come and go.

A quote from Sri Chinmoy

“Inner compassion
And outer tolerance
Can easily make a new world,
A better world.”