Shamus, 55, London
Occupation CEO of an AI company
Voting record Labor, Liberal, Green
Appetizer When he was 19, for a challenge, Shamus walked Whitehall from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square wearing only shoes and socks.
Marcio, 41, London
Occupation Marketing Campaign Manager
Voting record Conservative in the last elections
Appetizer Marcio was an extra in the London Underground chase scene in the James Bond movie Skyfall.
Marcio All I knew of the person I was meeting with was his name: Shamus. I thought it was a non-British name, that it would be someone from Afghanistan or Africa.
Shamus We started the conversation in a very open way, there were no narrow and closed questions. Neither of us is a testosterone-driven bully.
Marcio I was expecting someone more conflictive, radical, someone else like Greta Thunberg. But she was so sweet, even when she didn’t agree, she did it like a very polite British person, like she agreed.
Shamus The differences tended to be about my macro view of the world while he was being micro pragmatic.
The great meat
Marcio Regarding immigration, I am against opening the doors for the simple fact of doing it; let everyone in because it looks good on Instagram, we are great. Where are we going to put people? There is already a housing problem, we are not even building enough houses for the people who are already here. People born and raised in Great Britain cannot pay a deposit. Opening up more would overwhelm the healthcare system and impact education.
Shamus I totally identify with that. My question would be: how do we solve the problem? We can still have our principles and our values, we just need to solve the problem.
Marcio People are staying in hotels, they have no prospects of getting a job, they are not integrated into society, they are not worthy. I am an immigrant and would not want that for myself. When I first came here, I lived with other Brazilians in a very closed community. He spoke Portuguese all the time, which I regret. Only after a year, when I moved into a house with two Brits, did I start speaking English. I have had citizenship since 2009 and now I feel more British. I have all the features, I try to arrive on time, I apologize for everything.
Shamus We are talking about immigration driven by environmental needs: Bangladesh is going to have problems, for example. That’s something rich countries have been responsible for creating, but they don’t seem to want to accept the consequences.
Shamus We were raised in this bubble where we think British history is brilliant and great for the world, and we really haven’t been that brilliant at all. We have the wealth and the infrastructure, so why don’t we help where we have a moral debt?
Marcio I voted against Brexit. We should have a great relationship with everyone, not become an isolated island.
Shamus No one understood what we were doing to the environment initially, but the inaction since then has been disgraceful. We have continued polluting, going around the world, buying too much.
Marcio There is an urgent problem with global warming, but groups like Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain are actually turning people against it. I think they are right, but the way they are doing it, blocking roads, that’s what makes people angry. You have to look at global warming, but I still have to go to work, have bills and a mortgage to pay.
To carry out
Marcio He has lived in different counties, has a lot of experience, was so grown up, flexible and easy to talk to. It felt like we had known each other for a long time.
Shamus It pays to meet someone randomly and have a proper conversation with them. We met at 12.30, we left at 3 in the afternoon. We share many stories about life and how we got to where we are. You change between your 40s and 50s: Enter this “next stage of life” thinking, it’s depressing, but you don’t care that much. It was a good lunch, we had a riot.
Additional reporting: Rachel Obordo
Shamus and Marcio ate at Bisushima, London WC2
Do you want to meet someone on the other side of the dividing line? Click here to obtain more information.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism