Vested interests

February 3, 2020 · Print This Article

I’ve been sporting a vest underneath my shirts and sweaters this winter. My vest is not the most exciting piece of fashion in my wardrobe, but it is nothing like the one the Museum of London is about to get out of its closet.

For the first time in ten years, this autumn you’ll be able to see the vest that kept a king warm on his way to be executed – a king of England, at that! King Charles I was beheaded 371 years ago last Thursday.

“I go to where no disturbance is!” was the ironic last utterance from the King, following the disturbance that was England’s first and last civil war. The war ended the power struggle between King and Parliament and we’ve never had a civil war since. Well, until…

“It almost turned into a civil war at one point”, she said, looking across the dinner table, “and I’m so glad the civil war is over”. Rachel Johnson (Boris Johnson’s sister) was on a blind date with none other than Nigel Farage (she’s a Remainer, by the way…awkward!). She was talking with Farage about the nation post-Brexit on the Victoria Derbyshire programme last Saturday. “What’s going to be important now”, she continues, “is winning the peace”.

Whether you’re a Remainer or Leaver, peace is an idea we can all agree on. But what will it take to win this peace on an issue that has so deeply divided the country? Today, I got an email that gave a suggestion. In the email was a link to a song whose genre was a little less familiar than the Justin Timberlake or Snoop Dog I grew up on.

The song was called Reconciled (for Brexit and Beyond). Now, there’s a brave title.  So I listened, maybe just out of curiosity. It was catchy. Song-writer Andy Flanagan has created a praise song to help build unity in our nation post-Brexit. It’s different; more pop than pious. But the ideas in it are catchier.

It talks about the walls that separate us; the tribes that give us identities but create division. But then a simple idea comes. All too often the tribes we naturally fall into cause distance. So what’s left to unite us and bring reconciliation with those that we see as the ‘others’?

Flanagan points to an identity that is bigger than the tribes that separate us. He points to a higher tribe, a tribe that he believes we are all a part of: the human tribe. He sings, “we acknowledge each other as sister and brother”. Not a new idea, but an old one. We all share this common ground because, in the end, whether you’re a Leaver or Remainer, or somewhere in between, we are all one another’s sister or brother. Meaning that we are bound by something bigger than what we voted for. We’re family!

I guess if we can think of each other like this, we too, can go where no disturbance is. Going about our lives without the political and relational frictions of the last three years.

Richard Fowler

Rchard is editorial assistant at Because

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