The Blame Game

Sorry for another political rant.

It started with a phone call from my youngest, and the subject – as it inevitably does in the UK at the moment – drifted into politics.  It shouldn’t have been a problem.  We both, for the record, voted to remain in the EU; we were both dismayed at the result.  There, though, the similarities end.  For me, a slightly grim pragmatism has taken over – a kind of ‘Well, OK, we’re in this mess, so what can we do to make the best of it?’ attitude.  His disappointment, however, has taken him in a different direction.

“Not wanting to cause offence or anything,” he said, “but you know it was mainly the older people who voted for Brexit.”

I pointed out that two thirds of young people hadn’t even bothered to use their votes.

Old Man, Man, Face, Senior, Older, Weathered, Age“Well, yes, maybe,” he continued, “but it isn’t fair that these people, who won’t even be around to deal with the consequences, should have decided our future.  A group of us were saying, the other night, that – just as there’s a lower cut-off point for voting of 18 – there should maybe be a cut-off at the other end and people over 70…”

“When I reach 70,” I told him, icily, “I expect to last for approximately another 30 years.  That’s longer than you’ve been alive.”

“Well yes,” (he knows as well as I do the genetic predisposition of women in our family to last well into their nineties and often beyond) “perhaps 70 is a bit harsh.  Maybe it should be more like…”

He didn’t get to finish that sentence.

There was me thinking the ‘Remain’ camp had the higher moral ground.  We were the ones who had said, ‘Well admittedly all is not as we’d like it, but let’s stay in the Union and change things from within, rather than throwing babies out with the bathwater and putting the blame for all our ills on others – immigrants, economic migrants, European bureaucracy, Greece, Germany or whatever.’

Seems I was wrong.

As soon as the Remainers have reason to feel miffed, what do they do?  They begin flailing around looking for someone to blame.  The Scots blame the English.  The educated blame the ignorant.  My son and his mates would happily disenfranchise their parents and grandparents, just as surely as the Brexiteers would gleefully repatriate the European workers who are propping up our health service.

Why?

Index, Finger, Pointing, You, Hand, MeBecause BLAME is endemic in our culture.  We have grown up believing that everything we dislike is someone else’s fault.  All we need to do is find that someone, punish or denounce or harass them and things will start to get better.

Such an attitude is the stuff of life to our media; they thrive on fuelling the ‘righteous’ indignation of the many against the few.

It is the modus vivendi of politics.  We look on miserably while the two sides slug it out in parliament, endlessly blaming each other for whatever mess we’re in.

The trouble is, there are no winners in the Blame Game – just losers.

So how would it look, I’m wondering, if we stopped blaming?

Just simply stopped.

How would it look if each one of us took responsibility for the way things are now?

What if we calmly considered what we’re happy with and what could do with changing?

What if we then set about entering into a blame-free dialogue with others to find ways of improving matters?

What if the media observed and reported on what is happening in the country and beyond, without apportioning blame or inciting revenge?

What if politicians didn’t square up to each other across a divided room and hurl insults and recrimination?  What if they formed into all-party special interest groups – individuals with particular levels of experience and expertise in particular areas of government – and became groups of ‘elders’ who sat around a table and worked together to forge a way forward for the benefit of all?

It couldn’t be a lot worse, could it?  Maybe it could be a great deal better…

It all starts with us, though – us not blaming anyone.

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4 comments on “The Blame Game

  1. Heaven forbid the system make sense and be constructive! The tricky thing with this sort of thing is being able to identity what the root cause is without blaming and remaining detached.
    Take a step back
    I mean, europe has had it pretty rough in the last 100 years. first the great war, then the second one, and then the United states created marshall plan was enacted to pick up the economy in europe (which includes accepting their ‘foreign policy’ *cough puppets cough*. Which evolved into the EU. And frankly it has been not very helpful for anyone. Countries are being conquered by bankrupting them and all sorts of bizzare happenings.
    Why is separating from this union considered a xenophobic act and higly racist and all of that? I guess I’m looking from the outside and I don’t get it. Much like I don’t get the almost religous fervor for democracy being the best system ever. becuase it isn’t.

    • Some interesting points there, Sage.
      To answer your question, in Europe we have (had?) a rule that anyone from within the EU could settle and find work in any other country. When several Eastern European countries joined, many people from those countries moved into the more affluent Western countries. They work incredibly hard and often do jobs the Brits don’t much fancy – care workers, fruit pickers and so forth. However these immigrants became convenient scapegoats for those who wanted someone to blame for any problems they could think of. One of the main Brexit leaders was an out and out racist who ran his campaign along those lines. I don’t believe for a moment that everyone who voted for Brexit had a racist motivation, but within certain parts of the press, the two are linked.

  2. Thank you for being the voice of reason! Since I’m not British and honestly barely follow politics here in the US, thanks for the description and break down of things. Looking for solutions is always the way to forward movement, the way through change. Sitting in a pity pot of blame does no one any good.

    When my son was 14 months old I stumbled into (wink) a class for parents of one year olds, where the kids played and we parents spent time with the children, and also had some time with an instructor, learning about parenting. One of the best things I learned was how to approach situations from a place of, ” if something didn’t work out the way we want, what can be done next time?” It is solution oriented. The philosophy I was introduced to very specifically steered away from using shame or blame as motivation. Perfect class, especially for my son.

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