Just say no to politics

Last week I was asked to participate in a discussion panel on Brexit and its impact on the technology industry in the UK. The conference organizer explicitly asked me to make the case for leaving. 

I was tempted. It’s a great conference and would have been a nice excuse to see people. 

On balance I believe for the UK tech industry remaining in the EU would be better. But there is a legitimate and somewhat subtle case to be made that the EU has become unwieldy, undemocratic, and overreaches legislatively (GDPR, copyright), which directly impacts our industry. 

On reflection I’m not a British citizen or resident and this is primarily a UK policy decision. I’m also not a Brexit expert and would likely get some things wrong. 

More importantly, however, it’s a losing proposition in these polarized times to take any nuanced position that could be reduced to a tweet of “X is for Brexit! and probably anti-immigration and thus probably racist, too!” And so I passed on speaking at the conference. 

I wonder how we will foster a new discussion culture or whether this is the future. I hope not.