I’ve been trying to avoid talking about Brexit. But I’m watching the EU Election results, and I’m sad. I believe in democracy, I believe everyone has the right to have their opinion listened to. I believe everyone’s vote counts.
But – cards on the table – I want to Remain in the EU. I lived in the Republic of Ireland for four years, back in the halcyon days when anyone could live anywhere. I worked in the Republic of Ireland back in the halcyon days when anyone could work anywhere – I taught English as a Foreign Language to people from all over Europe, back in the halcyon days when anyone could just hop on a plane and fly anywhere for a week or a month or a year.
And these were European elections. This election was to vote for the people that we felt would work best for the UK’s interests in the EU Parliament.
Many years ago, when I was doing my degree, we had a lecture on exam technique. As we arrived, there was an overhead projector (it was many years ago), and the letters RTFQ projected on to the screen. Some people smiled knowingly – but most of us were concerned. We’d done the coursework, we’d written the essays, we didn’t remember coming across this abbreviation before. Surely we couldn’t all have missed the same tutorial?? What did it mean?? Then, of course, all was revealed. Read The Fucking Question. Best bit of advice I’ve ever been given – not just for passing exams, but for life in general. And keep reading it – keep going back and checking that you’re answering the actual question, not the question that you thought (or wished) the examiner had asked.
And here we are, the morning after the EU election results have come in, and the Brexit Party have come in ahead. I think the word ‘romped’ was used in the papers. Are they the best people to work for the UK’s best interests in Europe? No of course not. They’ve never suggested that they were. So why have they been so successful? Because the voters didn’t RTFQ. They didn’t feel the need to RTFQ. They invented their own question, and then answered it. Even the politicians, the pundits, the commentators and the losing parties seem to have forgotten what the actual question was.
So, I’m sad. Not because the Brexit Party won. But because so, so many people in the country can’t RTFQ.
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