My 350 on Brexit: The false dichotomy of the media and Brexit debate continues

"Remain in the EU and you're a righteous liberal who stands for modern values, or leave the EU and you're a dumb, misinformed xenophobe."

Gimo Zangana
29 June 2016

In the aftermath of the historic British vote to leave the EU, openDemocracy is asking for our readers' thoughts on Brexit and what needs to happen next in 350 words. We've had an extraordinary response and you can read them all here.

The false dichotomy of the media and BREXIT debate continues; remain in the EU and you're a righteous liberal who stands for modern values, or leave the EU and you're a dumb, misinformed xenophobe.

This is not the reality. The complexities of the global issues we face today are not a simplified matter of being in our out. There are many who voted remain, not because they like the EU but because they feel reform and change is needed but that no one represented them in the leave camp. There are also many who voted leave, not because they are xenophobes and want an isolationist British empire, but because they also feel change is needed and the EU is not offering an answer.

BREXIT is not an event that appeared from nowhere. It is a reaction to global issues. We are facing a global crisis; austerity cuts, corporate power, inequality, class division, core/periphery relations and exploitation, an unsustainable economic system that is in constant expansion and contraction, environmental degradation, and so on.

Advocates of the simplified dichotomy are now trying to take down Corbyn because he is not part of their narrative. Corbyn has an opportunity to unite leave and remain voters by presenting an alternative, grassroots plan for Britain. He has a great challenge ahead of him but it's not impossible. The same applies to Britain’s youth and leftists. 

BREXIT has revealed the deep divisions and frustrations in Britain that have been ignored by previous governments. This isn't so much about the EU anymore. This is about understanding the issues this nation (and the world) faces and how best to deal with it. The British public are not used to such methods of direct democracy. Whilst it has been fascinating to witness it in action, its clear that politics has easily been misunderstood and has led towards confusion and fear.

Don't fall into the simplified narrative of REMAIN or LEAVE. Either option will not fix the global crisis we face. Accept the situation is complicated and our generation has challenges either way and start working on ways to solve it in a realistic, progressive and constructive manner.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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