As the Brexit deadline looms, just two months away, and with some important votes set to take place in Parliament today, the pressure is on politicians to deliver any kind of certainty about what happens next.
And as we’ve seen over the past few years of the Brexit process, it’s clear many of them simply don’t have a deep understanding of just how globally connected the world is today.
The importance of global supply chains eluded many of the most influential Brexiters for far too long, many refuse to take the Irish border seriously, and ideas to smooth over problems with Brexit are often so poorly thought-through that you can poke holes in them like they were tracing paper.
But while we clearly need more from our politicians, on one level I’m not at all surprised, because most of us scrape through life on a thin understanding of issues that affect us.
The internet has a funny way of distilling knowledge and twisting it in unexpected ways…
- One person reads a book on an issue new to them, and writes a blog post about it
- A hundred people read that post and think they’re experts now because they suddenly know 100% more about the issue than they did before.
- They all tweet about their interpretation of what they read in the blog about the book
- Thousands of people read those tweets and a distilled, twisted version of the information in the original book becomes something ‘everyone knows.’
- As everyone 'knows’ it, it becomes sound basis to base a political policy idea around.
And that’s before we consider people willfully throwing misinformation into the mix.
With politicians of all stripes racing to 'deliver’ their version of Brexit, it’s understandable they’re resorting to shorthand versions of reality, even if it would be rational for them to call the whole thing off for now and take a few years to get the next steps right. Forget the referendum result, and public expectations – it’s simply too complicated to rush and expect a positive outcome.
If Brexit is the disaster many predict, the UK will have a lot of reflecting to do. How people get their information in the modern world, and to what level of depth, may well be something we’ll want to understand. Deeply.