DOREEN WACHMANN COLUMN
Queen sets example to political bruisers

THE referendum was about the future of Britain, whether it would remain a sovereign state or be eternally ruled by a largely unaccountable, bureaucratic European Union, likely to be affected by the enormous political flux in the wake of the immigration and Euro crises.

Almost everyone predicted short-term economic instability in the wake of the Brexit decision, but no one predicted the political chaos which is currently engulfing Britain.

Unlike the referendum debate, the current British political discourse is not about the future of Britain but about the future of opportunist politicians of both the major parties who were using the present crisis to advance their own careers.

I have never before witnessed such a level of in-fighting, back-stabbing and smear campaigns in British politics as we have rarely seen.

I voted for Brexit because I believed in the future of Britain and British values and decency and fairness over the shambles of the disparate countries of the EU which are struggling to work together despite their ever-present call for closer union.

I now wonder whether my belief in Britain's ability to weather storms and carry on regardless was misplaced.

I voted for Brexit partly because I was inspired by the messages of hope coming from its leading campaigners Boris Johnson and Andrea Leadsom.

Now that these two optimistic campaigners have become the victims of unparalleled back-stabbing and smear campaigns, I am wondering whether I was wrong to put my trust in mere humans, particularly as none of the campaigners seemed to have any specific plans for the future.

Nevertheless, as my fellow columnist Sandi Mann wrote last week, the current crisis is caused not by hard facts but by hysterical emotional reactions.

Nothing should be less emotional than money and the economy. Yet the value of our pound and economy is affected, not by facts but by hysterical reactions in the City.

That is why in this collective nervous breakdown which British politics has undergone, we need more than anything a message of hope and belief in Britain's ability not only to weather the storm but emerge from it stronger in order to steady the markets.

But all hope seemed to be quashed after Boris was knife-stabbed by his supposed ally Michael Gove, and Andrea was the subject of a smear campaign because of exaggerations in her CV, alleged lack of experience and boasting of her motherhood.

Yet her rival Theresa May, experienced as she may be, was not for Brexit.

Why on earth did David Cameron resign, just to be succeeded by another Remain supporter? It just does not make sense except to fulfil Theresa's own political ambitions.

Relatively inexperienced as government minister Andrea may have been, she is far more politically experienced than US presidential candidate Donald Trump who has had zilch political experience yet could be the next president.

Having just returned from America, I cringe at the overweening arrogance of so many Americans in their belief that they are the best country in the world, despite their barbaric gun laws, death penalty and bad race relations.

But we British are far too self-deprecating for our own good. Which other country would fall into a state of political paralysis when they had won a referendum to regain their sovereignty and independence?

In order for Brexit to work, we need to start believing in ourselves as a country again, that we can indeed be Great Britain once more.

The difference between the 10 biblical spies who became disheartened at their ability to conquer the Promised Land and the two good spies was that the latter retained their confidence in their ability to succeed with God's help.

And there lies another distinction between our country and America, where faith in God is asset to a political candidate whereas in this country, Andrea's Christian faith has been used as a criticism against her.

Much has been made of the predominance of women in contemporary politics, Theresa and Andrea fighting it out to be the next prime minister, Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish first minister, Arlene Foster in Northern Ireland, Angela Eagle Labour leadership challenger, Angela Merkel in Germany and American presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

But I would like to quote our own British female leader who has had all of 64 years of experience, Her Majesty the Queen.

When she recently opened the Scottish Parliament in the midst of all the political turmoil, she called for making "room for quiet thinking and contemplation, staying calm and collected" in an "increasingly challenging world".

Let us hope that now we have a female prime minister, she will follow the calm and measured example of the Queen and that backbiting, at least in one major political party, will become a thing of the past.

God bless Her Majesty!

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