What Brexit has achieved – it’s got people talking about politics

Posted On 18 Jan 2019 at 12:40 am

Usually in politics when you talk about a word starting with B and ending in T which people take notice of, you are talking about the budget.

For local government it’s the local budget which affects how hundreds of millions of pounds are spent on local services – some of which comes directly from the setting of council tax.

For central government it’s the day the Chancellor talks about tax rates, economic growth, forecasts and the price of a pint of beer or bottle of wine.

These events touch people’s lives and, while people understandably think about the immediate impact on them and their family, they are events which really have many broader impacts on the lives of all who live in the city and across the country.

However, this B and T rule has been completely destroyed in recent years by talk of Brexit which has achieved something that I have never known in my lifetime.

I could be walking into a pub, on the bus, in the café or at a residents meeting, and time and time again I hear that B word mentioned, with people discussing in great detail the latest news.

Obviously as a politician (albeit a minor league one) I’m very interested in the outcome of the latest twists and turns.

But to see the general public caught up in the real consequences of the political process for so long and in such depth is actually a little heartening.

True, many of them are simply saying “I wish they would get on with it” or “I wish they would stop it” but at least people are thinking about the consequences of this single political decision.

To my mind Brexit will prove in 50 years’ time to be the defining political issue of my generation and could have significant consequences that last for generations.

I have no intention here of arguing for or against it – although I’m personally strongly against.

But more than this, I am hopeful that this single defining issue will encourage more people to pay more attention and get more involved in the political process.

Democracy needs people’s voices and politics needs ideas – make yours heard.

Councillor Daniel Yates is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.

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