No, this is not another blog post about the outcome of the UK’s EU referendum. My aim is to identify political behaviors that trigger those difficult situations we all have to deal with. And therefore I will use two examples, the AfD example in Germany and the EU referendum in the UK.
In February, I have written a political post about the refugee crisis from a German perspective. Not because I wanted to get into political writing. But because I had to raise my voice at a time when my country was shocked by an increasing number of nationalist-driven crimes against refugees. When I wrote this in February, I couldn’t know how the right-wing party AfD would misuse this situation to drive even more fear, hatred, and negativity across the country.
Unfortunately, their negative, right-wing, and fear-driven campaign including false assertions was pretty successful: they got elected into all three federal parliaments on March 6. Germany was shocked. But it wasn’t such a surprise. Various analysis of the election brought up the truth: 75% of the AfD voters were frustrated people, mostly young men, without a job, more in East than in West Germany. Even worse, they did not know anything about the AfD’s program. And there wasn’t much of a program at this time. Now, we know: this right-wing party is primarily against everything that made Germany a strong country including the EU, and of course, the refugees are blamed for almost everything. And, of course, they had and have no plan what to do in the future.
Being against something is acceptable, even if I’d prefer to have a plan how to solve the issue in the future. But driving fears and not being afraid to “adjust facts” into false assertions is absolutely not acceptable, just to win an election, but not having any idea how to implement the campaign’s goal. We experienced this behavior in March in Germany, and the UK is still experiencing the results of this behavior regarding the EU referendum.
I love many places in the UK, London, England, and especially Scotland. I have friends in all parts of the country, and I spend a couple of weeks each year in the UK, for business and also privately. I’m always following politics in the UK as I do it in Germany.
Honestly, I didn’t expect the Brexit campaign to win. For three reasons:
One, I could never build any trust in the figureheads of the campaign, especially in Boris Johnson. For me, it was way too transparent from the very beginning that he had a personal agenda. How could the previous Mayor of London, who was leading a capital which was always based on the contribution of various cultures including many global enterprises that have chosen London for their European head offices, being against the EU?
Two, because I watched their campaign video very carefully. I was sure that most people would identify the lack of facts and the very thin ice they were skating on. And the very thin ice was misusing immigration as the key topic to drive people’s fear, to win the referendum.
Three, I listened to a presentation of a professor of European Law, explaining all the legal issues, all the advantages, and the problems and also what it would really mean to leave the EU.
Don’t get me wrong: The EU is far away from being perfect, and no other large organisation is perfect. And the EU made bad decisions as any other organisation or government did as well. But the initial purpose of the EU is right, and the benefits can be seen across Europe, including the UK.
What can we learn from these political happenings that seem to be patterns that just come over and over again in different forms and shapes?
- A referendum in a parliamentary democracy, especially with such an essential question, has special risks:
What would the result be in Germany, asking the same question? Not sure, it could easily end up in a similar constitutional crisis. Because such a question regarding the EU is one of the most complex questions, you can ever ask. Why do we expect that every person in a country with the right to vote is also able to understand the problem in its complexity and depth, and its impact on various areas of people’s life?
It’s different in a direct democracy. Ask Swiss people. They have to answer a referendum every other month. They know the process, they know that they have to read a lot of stuff (and they get the material) to make a decision. They know that voting is a right AND a duty.
- Politicians are not to blame alone. Because politicians are just a mirror of our societies. Campaigning with an “adjusted truth” just to win an election or a referendum is just the same illness we experience in so many corporations. Decisions, even if facts have to be “adjusted” are made just to serve a short-term purpose, e.g. to fix a quarter, to maximize the shareholder value, even if the decisions make no sense from a long-term, strategic perspective. It’s just the same illness, just in different forms and shapes.
- How can a call for political isolation ever be a solution in a deeply connected world with global challenges?
Make your own opinion, and ask yourself this question whatever the election or the campaign might be.
Our thoughts impact our actions. Our actions determine our results.
If our thoughts are fearful and negative, our actions will reflect this, and negative, fear-driven results will manifest.
If our thoughts are compassionate, integrating and collaborative, our actions will reflect this, and more positive results will manifest. In our lives, and in our environment.
“As the world’s fears increase and humanity’s actions reflect these fears, allow your inner flame to burn brighter.”
Develop love and compassion within your heart, as a state of being.
Develop a positive vision of your future success, based on your soul’s purpose, and act accordingly.
And don’t forget that clarity and change often come when there are chaos and confusion.
Having said this, I wish all my friends in the UK a positive outcome, for all of us!