ACTOR and West Cork resident Jeremy Irons has called ‘time’ on the media in the UK, having accused them of treating politics and the Brexit debate like ‘a game show’.
Jeremy, who was at The Glebe Café and Gardens in Baltimore to promote the West Cork Garden Trail, gave a brief interview on the UK referendum result to The Southern Star.
He said: ‘I think big change is in the air, and I think Brexit is part of that. I am not surewhat the change will be, but it is very interesting that the Conservative Government is split and Labour is split and lacking a leader. I suspect that democracy in the 21st Century is going to have to adapt a little.’
He added that there is ‘no doubt that globalisation has badly ignored vast swathes of the population and I think this is where the Brexit vote came from. It is a signal that their interests were being ignored. I have always felt that Government should be local for true democracy and for all the advantages of the EU (and there are many) I think its weakness is that it is too distant from many people.’
The actor, who lives in Kilcoe, continued: ‘For democracy to truly work we, perhaps, have to find a different system. I don’t think it is enough to put a mark on a piece of paper every five years. I think there should be interim organisations where views could be put across, such as local councils or unions. And I think the media also have a big part to play in this. They have to stop treating politics and democracy as a sort of game show.
‘I think the Brexit vote reflects a deep discontent amongst slightly more than half the population. The politicians, who through the various treaties got us into Europe over the past 40 years, have never taken the trouble to explain to the country exactly what our commitment was. We got into it by slight of hand. Very few really people understand the benefits of the EU.
‘And the politicians campaigning did nothing in the four weeks to truly educate the voters. The Brexit vote was an uneducated vote because we didn’t really know what we were voting for.
‘Add to that the current distrust of politics and big business. So, when all the politicians and experts said the country would be worse off out of Europe they were not believed, and that is their fault for not earning our respect.’
Jeremy Irons said he suspects that Europe will be forced to change as a result of this vote, and the discontent is already showing up in some of the other members.
‘Maybe our vote will result in future beneficial change,’ he said.
‘The EU must be seen to be for the man in the street, and not just for the ease of global capitalism. Times they are a changing and where we will get to I am not sure. In one regard, these are exciting times. Times of change are always exciting. But I am sorry how this vote makes England seem to the outside world, which is probably as racist, insular and backward looking. I hope that in time it will be seen that we are none of these things.’