How would you explain it to a four year old

I’ve been thinking about how I’d explain the shenanigans in parliament to Clement. He is my sounding board, my go-to listener, my beta reader for everything. He’s only four years old but I don’t see that as an issue. He knows my opinion about those who represent us and it’s an advantage that he never repeats what I tell him. He won’t argue with me and never tells me I’m wrong.

Clement has his drawbacks, he’s a bit needy at times, he likes to have my full and undivided attention and really, really, want’s to be loved. He often twists around on the floor of the office, licking his balls and ensuring we all get an eye full. Well, he’s a Labrador, what do you expect?  You can meet Clement here.

I’m going to explain our current position like this – once I’ve got his attention with a biscuit.

You live in a house and it has a thatched roof. One of your children has convinced the other kids that it’s okay to set off a firework in the attic. Now the whole roof is on fire.

Your house was built over a fault line between two tectonic plates and the plates have started to move. That’s caused an earthquake and the cottage is unsafe. You need to get out and your family needs to get out. Everyone can see the building is falling down and leaving is the right thing to do.

However you are all crowded into the front hallway and have started to argue about whether you should wear a jumper or a zip-up cardigan. Still your house is falling down around your ears – and you don’t see it. You have focused on the details of one aspect and you’re blind to the bigger picture.

That’s how I see our government at the moment. They only talk about one thing – Brexit, while the rest of the county, our union of kingdoms, is collapsing. Scotland want to remain part of Europe. The population of Northern Ireland feel betrayed and abandoned. They’ve worked to overcome their troubled history and now people, money, and trade can move seamless between the six counties in the north and the republic in the south. All of a sudden they’ve become a bargaining chip in a game being played out hundreds of miles away.

Our infrastructure is creaking and the hospitals are at breaking point. We’re entering another winter with too few nurses, not enough beds and patients on trollies in every corridor. Police officers are leaving the service at an unprecedented rate due to disillusion and poor conditions. At school teachers strugle to teach unruly children and everyday they worry about getting knifed.

But all the politicians want to talk about, in soundbites for the ten o clock news, is a strategy for leaving the union of countries that have been our most valued trading partners for more than forty years. 

In the one thousand, one hundred and sixty eight days since the referendum we have become a lughing stock and the mother of all parliaments is now the butt of all jokes. We could have been trading, manufacturing and innovating. Instead we’re tearing ourselves apart, fathers against sons and neighbour against neighbour. There can be no “winners” because each day it goes on we all loose. This is an issue that will take a decade to sort out and a generation to accept. I hope it doesn’t become violent but I’m afraid that it will. Hot heads, fired up by windbags, will move the agenda forward – but at what cost?

It’s all too depressing to think about so I’m going back to a bit of reading and I’ll continue my own writing. You can see what I’ve been reading by clicking on this link. It’s not a comprehensive list of everything I’ve read recently but you might find few hours of escapism here.