As every year, Christmas and the New Year festivities come and go and we all soon re-enter the normal environments we live in. The same is true of politics. Brief respites return to bitter struggles and the political tennis match that has come to characterise our way of governance opens up with its new volley's, claims, and counter-claims.
But let us consider for a moment what we are. The Brexit process - from whichever angle you choose to view it from - has become the focus of and the single most divisive issue in our living memory. It has grown way beyond the simple choice between leaving or staying in the EU, rather it has become the litmus that has illuminated the underlying issues across the UK which are influencing peoples views, attitudes and values across everything from healthcare to foreign policy and all subjects inbetween. What we see now is a divided society, not just because of Brexit, but because the social and economic fabric of the country is damaged. It has been damaged for some time - way before Brexit was coined - but few with influence have chosen to either recognise the progression of this damage or have had the political will to challenge it. Tempting as it is to blame the current government, much blame can be equally levied against just about every post WW2 government we've had; and we must not avoid the accusation that we, ourselves, the public, have had a hand in our own fracturing of societal values, positions and understanding of what we are and what we would wish to be.
There is, perhaps, a given truth that change will happen, regardless of steerage or manipulation. Our society has changed in ways that even in BB's lifetime have been so significant and value shifting that it is sometimes difficult to recognise an anchor point, a point of stability and constancy that enables us to rationalise and measure the changes occurring about us so that we can draw proper and reasoned conclusions as to whether this is actually good for us as a society or not. That in itself would not stop change - for that is a function of many other external factors - but it is potentially wise for us to occasionally sit-back and reflect upon how we want our society to be. That means examining our beliefs, the things we value, our cultural framework, our norms and red-lines. Without these checks, change would remorselessly plod on and we would become increasingly servile to it - change junkies. So those reflective checks are needed to ensure we properly manage our society, establish the parameters within which we choose to live and dispense with those changes that do not accord with those values. Our values, of course, also need to shift with the times, but it is in our interest as a society to be in charge of what those values are.
This is a partnership challenge between the population and its elected government. Both elements have failed to contribute effectively to us building our societal model for the last seventy or so years - and this is a change that we should all now become engaged with. This is what divides us. Brexit is no more than a flagship event that everyone is hanging their wider concerns and doubts upon. It is a symbol of our division and our need to get credible, serious and proficient politicians and parliamentarians into the frame who will work across party lines and engage with equally capable 'citizen MP's'. Change should not be an unfettered process, it should be managed and directed at every level for the benefit of the chosen values of society. If we ignore this challenge indefinitely, we run the risk of becoming (or have we already become ?) some grotesque, dystopian and unreasoned society. The signs are there - it is up to everyone to do their bit now.