Is Brexit like self harm? Not really

[CN: self harm. And Brexit. Obviously.]

Happy Brexit Day! Everything is terrible! 

I’ve only been able to stomach a limited amount of news today, but one thing that has caught my eye is the somewhat alarming trend among Remainer politicians to describe Brexit in general and aspects of May’s policy in particular as “self harm”.

Paddy Ashdown did it in the Independent. David Milliband and Yvette Cooper did it on Twitter. 

Self harm? Really? What are they driving at? Are they suggesting we analyse the role intense emotions played in the Leave campaign, aware of the link between self harm and experiencing strong and difficult emotions? Are they calling Brexit a complex and addictive coping mechanism for dealing with trauma and/or intense psychological distress? 

Somehow I doubt it. I suspect that what they are doing is using self-harm as shorthand for an act they view as petulant, stupid, and self-destructive. Now, I also think Brexit is petulant, stupid, and self-destructive. For what it’s worth, I think it’s racist and narrowminded too. But I don’t think it’s either accurate or acceptable for politicians to refer to self harm, which has swallowed years of my life, as a rhetorical flourish to make that point. And I really, really resent being put in the same category as Nigel Farage and Theresa May.


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