So, after the UK election, it looks like Brexit will be happening, barring a truly wild turn of events.
It hasn’t mattered to the electorate that politicians have lied to them; they haven’t been put off by misleading videos, the rebranding of a party’s social media account as a “fact checking” service, or the failure of politicians to submit to debates, interviews, and media scrutiny.
In fact, perhaps voters wanted to be misled – to be told that one can simply “get Brexit done”, after years of wrangling.
For information professionals, this moment returns us to the idea that policing facts will not solve the various issues of trust in information which have been bundled as “fake news”. People might accept being misled if they believe the political system is stacked against them; it seems people will also accept being misled if they are tired and frustrated by politicians’ failure to thread the needle of Brexit’s self-inflicted crisis.
Brits voted to leave the European Union in 2016 without a clear definition of what that meant, or what future relationship with Europe was being mandated. Politicians struggled to parse the meaning of that vote and, when Theresa May returned to the polls in 2017, the renewed “will of the people” was clearly and legitimately expressed in the form of a divided parliament. Nobody had a clear sense of how to deal with the outcome of that referendum.
Now, it seems the voters of the United Kingdom have chosen to slice the Gordian knot, irrespective of whether or not Alexander has lied to them, or what other cherished ties might be undone in that stroke.
What does all this mean for information professionals? Read more