MITCH BENN will continue to be a ‘sore loser’ in 2020 because his views on Brexit have not changed – regardless of the general election result.
Okay, so that sucked.
Not Christmas; I should point that out. I can’t speak for anyone else but I had a good Christmas, indeed, judging by the fact I no longer appear to own a single item of clothing that fits properly, a great Christmas.
This was partly because, for the first time all year, politics played no part in proceedings whatsoever.
My family didn’t even have to make this decision; it was an entirely unspoken but universally agreed upon arrangement that the subjects of Brexit, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and the precarious situation this country now finds itself in would be left for another time.
This wasn’t in order to avoid arguments; I’m very fortunate in that my family is more or less of a single mind on all of these topics. We just didn’t want to think about them over Christmas. So we didn’t.
But Christmas is over, and the New Year is with us. Auld Lang Syne, resolutions and all that.
I’ve been thinking about New Year’s resolutions, and I’m kind of in two minds about the whole tradition, to be honest.
On the one hand the purely rational side of my brain thinks that if something would be a good and right thing to do, you should be doing it already rather than waiting for January to come around, and that putting such a change off until then may make it seem more daunting than it need be, and, as such, all the more likely to fail.
The more human side of my brain recognises that people sometimes need an excuse and a context in which to make good choices and if a New Year’s resolution serves such a purpose, then fair enough.
And as is usually the way with my brain, thinking about this got me thinking about something else, and it was this: It’s okay to be a sore loser, if that’s what it takes to get your arse into gear.
This, I know, flies in the face of everything we were all taught as children. Losing with good grace and acceptance was an undisputed virtue and a sore loser was one of the worst things you could be. But we’re not children any more, and this is not a game we’re playing.
Besides, it’s not being a sore loser to point out that the game was, if not rigged exactly, heavily skewed against you.
The failure of the pro-Remain parties to unite (and specifically the failure of Labour definitively to decide if it even was a pro-Remain party) made the scenario we’d all been fearing a reality: The government, having won 43.6% of a 67% turnout, has nonetheless been granted a sizeable majority by our archaic embarrassment of an electoral system and is now declaring an absolute mandate to pursue Brexit, despite Brexit now being less popular with the public than ever.
When the way the game was played gave you no chance of winning, you’re not being a sore loser when you point this out and refuse to give up. You’re just taking a stand for what’s right.
Moreover, accepting defeat with grace and humility when your opponent doesn’t act in good faith – indeed seems only dimly aware of the concept of acting in good faith – isn’t being a ‘good loser’. It’s being a mug.
Something I learned many years ago in the midst of my midlife crisis (I got mine out of the way when I was 24) is that while you can’t always control your initial emotional reactions to events, you can – with a bit of practice – control your reactions to your reactions.
In other words, while you can’t change the way you feel, you can choose what your feelings make you do.
Right now I’m angry, and I’m not the only one. I’m sure many of you now reading this have been in a state of barely suppressed rage for about three weeks (even if, like me, you did give yourself a few days off in the middle of it). So we have a choice: what are we going to do with that anger?
Are we going to bottle it up like so much post-Christmas indigestion, feeling it eat away at us from the inside until we’re hollowed out, or until it bursts out of us in uncontrolled and probably undesirable circumstances?
Or are going to let it motivate us and guide us, as we take the next steps towards restoring some sort of sanity to our country?
It’s not, of course, yet clear exactly what form those next steps are going to take. I don’t think it’s unnecessarily cynical of me to wonder if Boris Johnson called a mid-December election precisely because he knew Christmas would provide a welcome distraction from events and take all the post-election anger and energy out of the Remain movement. But he’s underestimated us before. And while I haven’t been talking much about Brexit these last couple of weeks, I’ve had plenty of time to think about it, and I’ve had some ideas.
But that’s for next week.
Yeah, I said resist.