By Juergen Maier, Co-Founder of vocL
I enjoyed my recent appearance on Question Time more so than previous ones. Prior to it, I was worried that it would be too combative with panellists shouting over each other as is often the case. It wasn’t. There were different views of course, but there seemed a more open atmosphere. I was also positively surprised at the feedback on social media afterwards, with people, mostly agreeing that a less aggressive and argumentative tone is more productive. It has made me wonder, if after Covid, Brexit and the increasing division, we are seeing – between the extreme left and right arguments in politics – our nation is fatiguing from this persistent division. I certainly am.
This is why I was intent on not mentioning Brexit at all on the programme, because like many, I’m tired of the constant arguments. I would just like to see more acknowledgement that all hasn’t gone as promised and that only by admitting that, can we start to solve some of the problems. I’m also not suggesting that the solution is to rejoin the EU. That ship has sailed, and I understand democracy, and that such a decision really is only to be taken once in a generation. For now, all we can do, is our best to fix the problems and that needs mending the now fractious relationship with our EU Neighbours.
The programme did make me reflect, if the potential war in Europe, is the trigger to start mending this fractious relationship. As per my comments on the show (see excerpt below), I feel this horrible conflict on our doorstep is giving purpose to the EU and is pulling the union together, not tearing it apart as is Putins intent. Those that now stand by to criticise the EU will put this renewed and strong EU purpose at risk and coming from the UK, such criticism will fall on deaf ears in the EU anyway. They are still hurting from the division caused by Brexit. I’m therefore left hoping that this will be a reflective moment for the UK, and that it can have a healing effect on our relationship with the EU.
Some reading this might wonder, why is it important that we have more business voices in debates like these? Is it not too far away from the remit of business? I think not. More often than not business can be a politically impartial voice of calm and reason when the stakes are high. If war does break out, and let’s hope not, business would be massively impacted and indeed required to support, with the supply of arms, medicines, infrastructure and much more. Our vision at vocL is that we create more space for business voices – especially of the next generation.