Kompany on Brexit

16th November 2019

Vincent Kompany
Vincent Kompany, by Erik Drost, Licence CC BY 2.0

In conversation with The Guardian's Donald McRae, former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany spoke eloquently about populists exploiting people, in the context of Brexit.

'I'm from Brussels, the capital of the European institutions. So I don't need to sell the EU. But one thing I do understand is unity. I always feel the more you can make us interdependent economically and socially, the higher the barrier to war and conflict. This is especially important with the rise of populism. The fact Brexit is so difficult couldn't be a more powerful sign that European unity works.

'I know some people want to break away and form their own systems. I know the EU is complex. It's difficult. I know sometimes it's unfair. But guess what? You have to sit down and solve the problem together. There's a lot of value in that. And I tell you what - war is more expensive. Conflict is more expensive. And selfish behaviour, which is entirely promoted by the populistic and reality TV characters we have today, is exploiting a weakness of our modern age. We need to see right through it.'

'I dislike anybody that makes use of propaganda to simplify very important and complex issues. Historically, it's been proven to be a dangerous game. But it's an easy game to play. You could easily exploit the fears of people for your self-interest. What happens if we go the way of the populist leaders and break away and do our own little thing? At some stage you forget about history.'

[Kompany then talks about the young men who died during World War II, and the families that were destroyed]. 'That's World War II. And it happened because of a succession of acts from very dangerous individuals. Populist leaders.'

Of the catchphrase 'taking back control', Kompany says 'it's criminal. It's absolutely playing to the darker side of human nature. I wonder how much the population's really able to, at this moment, make a well-informed decision?'

Using propaganda to simplify complex issues

It's worth repeating: 'I dislike anybody that makes use of propaganda to simplify very important and complex issues. Historically, it's been proven to be a dangerous game.'

Who could Kompany be talking about? I suggest Nigel Farage, Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and more besides.

These politicians have advanced their own interests by using propaganda to simplify complex issues. They may be congratulating themselves on successfully duping a lot of people. Now they are in charge of the Conservative Party, and adopting the same practices. What price a vacuous and misleading election slogan?

Have they stopped to think whether what they are doing is right? (It isn't). Have they considered where it may lead?