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Monday, January 06, 2020

Johnson's 'Festival of Brexit' designed to accentuate divisions

For a Prime Minister who claims to want to heal the divide in our country caused by his championing of Brexit, Boris Johnson has a peculiar way of delivering on his objective.

As the Guardian reports, the UK Government is planning to press ahead with plans for post-Brexit festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 2022 at an estimated cost of £120 million. Of course the two year gap between commitment and delivery is plenty of time for that cost to double.

The paper says that figures from arts institutions have privately expressed concern about the project, which some say is likely to alienate remain-supporting visitors at museums and galleries that are expected to take part.

In addition they say that there had been previous warnings that the idea – announced by Theresa May in 2018 as an initiative that would “strengthen our precious union” – could inflame tensions in Northern Ireland, coming a year after the centenary of Irish partition and on the 100th anniversary of the start of the Irish civil war.

As Liberal Democrat MP, Layla Moran, says: “I’m astounded that the government is going ahead with what is basically a Brexit festival despite everything that is going on. It is a complete waste of money at a time when funding cuts to our schools, hospitals and local services continue despite government announcements to the contrary. The Conservatives are trying to distract us with bread and circuses, but it won’t work.”

If Johnson really wants to heal divisions, he will scrap this idea now and spend the money on essential services instead.
Layla's words should be widely published to show the folly of this idea
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