cgtn: The vote to leave the EU is driving a wedge between families as well as politicians, finds Nosmot Gbadamosi
Britain is due to leave the European Union (EU) in a matter of days, and there is still no deal in place. The rift between British politicians for and against Brexit has been fierce.
But it is not only behind the walls of Westminster that fractured groups of leavers and remainers are heatedly discussing the deal. The entire country has been a battleground for debate since the referendum vote two years ago.
It has certainly been a divisive issue for 30-year-old identical twins Sam and Adam Hollings, who voted on opposite sides of the Brexit debate.
“I felt like he betrayed me,” says Sam, who lives in Swindon and voted to stay in the EU. “I couldn’t understand how he could come to that conclusion and that was the most hurtful thing, because we’re the same people.”
The brothers grew up in Yorkshire but Adam now lives and works as an English teacher in Henan Province, China.
“I don’t actually care about Europe that much,” says Adam. “The workings of the European Union or the day-to-day running of the UK – it doesn’t bother me, because it doesn’t really affect me at all.”
Adam, who is married to a Chinese native and has two children born in China, says he based his vote on what he read.
“I was quite strongly behind leave because I believed from what I’d read that it would be good,” Adam explains. “In the past, I didn’t really have any German or French friends, so it didn’t really matter to me if they left Europe.”
The twins come from a family of international explorers and have relatives living in Spain and the Dominican Republic, which is one of the reasons Sam was shocked by his twin’s decision.
“My girlfriend is Italian and that could jeopardize her future here,” Sam, who is a programmer for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) tells CGTN. “It felt like he hadn’t thought about anything – about how it could affect me, how it could harm my job, my girlfriend’s job.”
Despite the heated disputes, the pair have sought to mend their broken relationship. “We had to park the politics,” explains Sam. “We had to put that to one side and just focus on the things that we used to have in common… still, many of my family refuse to talk about it. And that isn’t a solution.”
Adam has since become a remainer, even joining his brother on a march in support of a second referendum.
“I didn’t realize how big a thing it would be,” Adam says about his decision, explaining he voted to leave because he thought it would strengthen a trade relationship between China and the UK.
“There is no pride in being wrong for the sake of being wrong and that’s why I changed my mind,” Adam says.
According to Katherine Davies, lead researcher for think tank The UK in a Changing Europe: “People have been talking more about politics in their families since Brexit.”
Davies has been interviewing British families over the past 18 months.
There are leave voters who want to “explain themselves” to family members, says Davies. “They were worried about being judged and they don’t want their family to feel badly about them.”
National results revealed how split British people were on the issue in 2016, as 51.9 percent voted to leave and 48.1 percent voted to remain. Since then, there appears to have been a marginal shift: a poll conducted last month showed 44 percent of British people want to leave the EU, 47 percent want to remain and 8 percent are unsure.
“People are working very hard not to fall out with their families over Brexit,” says Davies, explaining that people are now attempting to understand differing opinions.
Can British lawmakers find a common ground? That’s a crucial question – and the answer is one the Hollings family will be waiting anxiously to find out this week.
Source: Published by cgtn