LETTER: Give us Easy Read Brexit

January 24, 2019
| Report Focus News

I met a group of old friends who have learning difficulties last week. Brexit came up and they all agreed that they could not understand what it was all about.

One of the group reminded me that we used to demand from public bodies (NHS, councils etc) an ‘Easy Read’ version of some of their more complex documents. Public bodies became brilliant at explaining what they were trying to do in simple easy to read terms. Mental health units, when explaining how some of their medication worked, were outstanding. We used to help in devising the Easy Reads. I always requested the Easy Read version as being more informative than hundreds of pages of bureaucratic gobble-de-gook

One wag in the group suggested that there should be an Easy Read version of Brexit. The group said they would spend a hour making one topic in Brexit easier to understand for people with learning difficulties. The topic chosen was ‘should MP’s have it written in to law that we should not leave the EU with ‘No Deal’?

Their conclusion, in Easy Read terms, was that Bob the Builder went out to a householder to give a price for a piece of work, with three of his workmen sat in a van nearby. Bob came up with a price but the householder wanted to haggle. Suddenly the van door flew open and a workman shouted ‘we cannot leave without a deal Bob, this job is the only hope we have’.

The group felt that the householder then had Bob over a barrel and would fleece him for every penny he could get. They felt that the workman should be sacked as being stupid but then, in mitigation, realised that he had never run a whelk stall let alone a complex business. The group felt that this equated to what MPs are trying to do in demanding a deal at any cost

I then added that some UK politicians, ‘serving’ and past, had been to Brussels to persuade the EU to make Brexit as difficult and complex as possible, so that the UK would not leave. The group felt that although that was too ridiculous for words, if true, the ‘traitors’ should be publicly exposed.

The group were pleased with their efforts to simplify one issue in Brexit, and suggested that we send it to MPs, but on second thoughts felt that the Easy Read version would be too easy for politicians to understand — politicians thrive on ‘complexity’.

Ron Shambley

Clough Avenue