Have you ever felt lost in your own views and thoughts?
Have you been thinking about something you feel strongly about but you are unable to fully commit to until you know it is clear you will be fulfilling your personal mandate in this government?
Politicians tend to be very hierarchical; the leadership is a shared agenda within a party and there is a tendency to keep details within the party. This can make it very difficult to find out what is actually happening, especially on issues such as Brexit.
In 2017, I took advantage of one of the rare opportunities when I went on a three-day public engagement seminar where we discussed key issues in the UK media landscape. The seminar was run by Nigel Evans, a Channel 4 correspondent and journalist who recently parted ways with his political party.
During the event, we were able to chat with MPs about what would motivate them to “think outside the box” and consider outside the confines of the regular debate and procedure of parliament.
The difficult conversation [they had] was in relation to Brexit. One of them highlighted that he didn’t understand the divisions within his own party. He couldn’t comprehend why his party opposed every single proposal put forward by May, while others all seemed to support them.
Following the discussion, I went away and made a number of calls to find out what might be the easiest way to access the diversity of views within parliament.
I realized that the easiest way to do this was by reaching out to people who have a record of engagement with people across the spectrum on issues like social justice and LGBT rights, so I reached out to those people and invited them to be a part of my outreach team.
This was a difficult way of approaching this matter. It is unusual in a parliamentary setting to have a party excluding people from debating the issues of the day, so I had to make sure that my outreach team were responsible for the process, and that they knew what to expect and how to approach people in the best way.
It was also something that required a huge amount of time and effort, from spending a lot of time on human resources, right down to being both a good listener and demonstrating respect for the individual’s cultural sensitivity and how important it is to get into a comfortable space where you can all be honest with each other.