Join the march of the moder­ates

The New European - - Agenda - Gina Miller is founder of the cam­paign group End the Chaos

Anti-brexit fig­ure­head GINA MILLER is­sues a fi­nal ral­ly­ing call ahead of this week­end’s protest

There is no ques­tion in my mind that this Satur­day’s Peo­ple’s Vote ‘March For The Fu­ture’ will break records. The rea­son is sim­ple: there is a record-break­ing num­ber of peo­ple in our coun­try who feel ut­terly dis­en­fran­chised po­lit­i­cally. They feel ig­nored and taken for granted.

They are ex­pected to pay their taxes, but they are not be­ing per­mit­ted to speak. Those that have chil­dren – or who sim­ply don’t have a to­tal dis­re­gard for those that will fol­low us – are hor­ri­fied that the cur­rent pol­icy of our govern­ment on Brexit, and, yes, our op­po­si­tion, is to im­pov­er­ish them, to di­min­ish their life chances, to throw them into the abyss.

Many of those who will turn out to march will be in­di­vid­u­als who voted Leave, but who keep telling me that they never voted for chaos, which is, of course, what they now recog­nise they are get­ting. The Brexit politi­cians have turned the all too ill-de­fined man­date they were given to take the UK out of the EU into a move­able feast.

They are will­ing to sac­ri­fice al­most any­thing on the al­tar of Brexit, how­ever ter­ri­fy­ingly right-wing they might be. Peo­ple will be march­ing be­cause at the mo­ment – and this is damn­ing of our democ­racy – they are not be­ing al­lowed any other way to ex­press them­selves. So each and ev­ery one who turns out in Lon­don on Satur­day will have a clear and sim­ple four­word mes­sage to all of our MPS about what they are col­lec­tively do­ing – or are al­low­ing to hap­pen – in the name of Brexit: NOT IN MY NAME.

Our politi­cians re­ally don’t get it. I watched with dis­may as Theresa May made her state­ment about Brexit on Mon­day. There were MPS ac­tu­ally mak­ing jokes and laugh­ing out loud. Those of us who live in the real world – who are al­ready see­ing good peo­ple los­ing their jobs, fam­i­lies be­ing torn apart, our bright, en­er­getic young peo­ple look­ing to move out of the coun­try, in­valu­able staff who have worked in our NHS and other es­sen­tial ser­vices for years quit­ting – recog­nise that this is no laugh­ing mat­ter. In my whole life, I have never seen the House of Com­mons look­ing so out of touch and far­ci­cal.

What is so telling about our pol­i­tics is the un­likely rebels it is cre­at­ing. It shows the ex­tent to which those on the ex­tremes – the right and the left – are now call­ing the shots. Do­minic Grieve is a lovely man, but no one a few years ago could have imag­ined that the for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral – mid­dleof-the-road, mild-man­nered, de­lib­er­a­tive, cau­tious – would one day be branded an “enemy of the peo­ple”. The same might be said of Anna Soubry, Sarah Wol­las­ton, or, on the other side of the House, in­di­vid­u­als such as David Lammy and Yvette Cooper.

Soubry in­sists that those “eco­nom­i­cally con­ser­va­tive, but so­cially lib­eral” folk we used to hear about in her party have not be­come ex­tinct and her con­tin­ued pres­ence in the House proves it. The fact is they are no longer in the Con­ser­va­tive main­stream. Grieve, mean­while, has been be­mused at how the party he joined and loved – a party noted for its prag­ma­tism – had be­come quite so ide­o­log­i­cal since June 23 2016.

As for Labour, I ceased to be a sup­porter and mem­ber of it not long after the ref­er­en­dum when I re­alised the party had meta­mor­phosed into some­thing I could no longer recog­nise. I had al­ways be­lieved pas­sion­ately in Labour’s mis­sion to create a fairer and more just so­ci­ety, and had been an ac­tive pol­icy con­trib­u­tor, but I could see all too clearly that was ir­rec­on­cil­able with Brexit. How could the party of the many and not the few find it­self to all in­tents and pur­poses as com­rades of Ru­pert Mur­doch, the Bar­clay broth­ers, Ja­cob Rees-mogg et al?

I know of too many peo­ple now who are turn­ing off news pro­grammes be­cause they are start­ing to find it all just too de­press­ing. To all of them, I say ‘turn out on Satur­day’. This will be the March of the Moder­ates. Look around you and recog­nise that you are not alone, and cel­e­brate, too, that you have not changed. You have not given up on the val­ues you hold dear. It’s our pol­i­tics that has changed. We have to see nor­mal­ity, rea­son­able­ness and just plain com­mon sense take back con­trol.

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