The phrase "taking back control" will come under scrutiny like never before.
24 April 2017
Politicians always say that general elections are important. Usually they say they are “the most important for a generation”. But this time, when they say that they are right.
This election is about power, and about Brexit. It is about the right to negotiate Britain’s relationship with the European Union, and to try to shape our relationship with the rest of the world.
But it is also about the right to try to shape our country’s future at home. Because the way Britain works right now is simply not accepted by millions of people. That is the lesson we all should have learnt from last year’s referendum.
The message in the referendum was clear enough: British citizens wanted to “take back control”. But the meaning has been lost in interpretation. It has become a caricature of itself.
The Brexit vote has been taken to mean that we are a nation obsessed with repatriating powers from Brussels and keeping immigrants out. And yes, it’s true that these are the elements of control which many people most readily turn to when asked. Do a quick, surface-level canvass of voters, and you may well take away that message – and that message only.
But keep listening, and you will hear something else.
Democracy & participation
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Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by NEF Senior Organiser Becki Winson.
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