On Friday 29th March 2019, the day the UK was scheduled to set sail on the horizon of it’s new autonomous life outside of the European Union, we embarrassingly find ourselves still in the midst of a fierce and confusing Brexit deal tussle.
On the same Friday in Manchester, The Common Sense Network hosted Beyond Brexit; an event which aimed to make sense of the Brexit debate, exploring the history of Britain’s position in the European Union and discussing the different views that shaped our first Brexit Referendum some two and a half years ago. All with the outlook of equipping millennials in understanding where the UK might stand beyond Brexit, if we ever get there that is.
The event featured guests and panellists ranging from MEPs, YouTuber’s, journalists, MPs and writers, all coming together to tackle the fast becoming enigma that is Brexit.
Starting With The Basics
The mornings events were kicked off with a workshop going Inside Brexit: examining the inner workings of Europe and it’s institutions. This was led by TCS Network’s own, Afshan D’souza (Editor-in-chief of The Common Sense Network) and Mike Omoniyi (CEO of The Common Sense Network).
Afshan opened the session by highlighting the power of the mainstream media in controlling the Brexit narrative, particularly national tabloids like The Sun and The Daily Mirror who have been instrumental in fuelling the Leave campaign.
She emphasised the importance of TCS Network in presenting both sides of the argument as opposed to consistently pushing a singular opinion which can manipulates the public viewpoint.
Later in the afternoon, Member of European Parliament for North West England, Wajid Khan, sat down with Mike to share his thoughts on the Brexit debate so far and what politicians need to do to resolve growing fallacies around the UK’s identity as a member of the European Union.
Wajid said, “We need to bring young people, professionals, youth groups, and community organisations together – like the work you do at The Common Sense Network – to make sure we get a variety of divergent views and find some commonality.”
Wajid Khan was passionate in his view that news outlets need to do more to help the public have a better grip on an ever changing Brexit story. You can check out his full interview with TCS Network, below.
The day’s events culminated with a panel discussion on the UK Beyond Brexit including YouTubers, Jazza John and Mr200m, Labour MP, Afzal Khan and TCS Network editor-in-chief, Afshan D’souza-Lodhi.
The discussion was highly interactive with the audience engaged throughout. An interesting point raised by one audience member during questions was the role Brexit has played in exacerbating Islamophobia in the UK.
The panellists were also keen to get involved and share their views; Afzal Khan giving special insight from within the House of Commons, highlighted the importance of considering that whether or not Britain remains in the UK, changes to our relationship with the EU will be inevitable.
With predominantly Remainers in the audience and on the panel, Mike Omoniyi, who led the discussions, encouraged both panellists and audience members to consider the view point of members of the British public in the Leave camp. This is consistent with the work TCS Network does, bringing people together to talk to each other rather than about each other from separate echo chambers.
Britain having failed to leave the EU on 29th March left little certainty regarding life beyond Brexit. As as result, this raised the question in the final half of the discussions of what should happen now. Second referendums, second general elections and even revoking Article 50 were all discussed, with a live Twitter poll that saw TCS Network followers vote in favour of a second referendum!
Overall, the event was highly informative and engaging. And in an exhausting time in British politics, this was an event that brought different voices together to make sense of Brexit and also anticipate how the UK would fair beyond the EU.