Socially Polarised, Politically Paralysed

Malik, Kenan

Publisher:  Pandaemonium
Date Written:  14/01/2019
Year Published:  2019  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23259

An essay on the peculiar character of contemporary social polarisation illstrated through the discussion of Brexit.




In a recent essay, the Conservative activist Graeme Archer suggested that we live today in an 'age of semiotics' in which signs have become both all-important and peculiarly distorted. Signs have become 'tribalised' and 'the deconstruction of signs… has become our chief political diagnostic'. There is truth to this. Consider the Brexit debate. The hostility and harassment faced by the Tory Remainer Anna Soubry dominated much discussion over the past week. 'This is what has happened to our country,' Soubry observed in the infamous interview on London's College Green drowned out by chants of 'Soubry is a Nazi'. She was right, though perhaps not quite in the way she meant.

It’s not, as Soubry seemed to suggest, that the Brexit debate has created a tribalised Britain in which people with whom you disagree become fair game to be harassed and denounced as Nazis. Rather, it is that a more tribalised Britain has meant that the Brexit debate is inevitably now seen in tribal terms.

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