We are not the ones de­fy­ing democ­racy

The New Euro­pean Ed­i­tor MATT KELLY on where the fight goes from here

The New European - - Agenda -

There is a taboo about Brexit, rarely bro­ken for fear of the back­lash that al­ways goes with do­ing so. It is to say the peo­ple were wrong.

Theresa May re­lies on it now. It’s her fi­nal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the ab­surd tra­jec­tory she has pur­sued long since it be­came ob­vi­ous it leads to a cliff edge from which we must all tum­ble, hand in hand, chant­ing like Moonies, over and over… Will Of The Peo­ple, Will Of The Peo­ple…

A sec­ond ref­er­en­dum, she says, would be “politi­cians telling peo­ple they got it wrong the first time and should try again”.

But if that’s what’s hap­pened, why not? It’s not as though the peo­ple get­ting it wrong is some­how in­con­ceiv­able. Nor is the ‘right an­swer’ de­fined as the one most voted for. That’s a stupid logic.

In­fal­li­bil­ity is the pre­serve of popes. For the rest of us, the no­tion is bull.

Some say there is to­day a war be­ing waged against democ­racy. There is. But not by those cam­paign­ing for a Peo­ple’s Vote. Democ­racy is un­der siege by those who ar­gue we must go through with Brexit, even if the ma­jor­ity no longer want to. (And yes, I said ‘if ’. The only way to know for sure is to ask.)

A small group of hard-right politi­cians, in­tent on see­ing through their ex­trem­ist phi­los­o­phy that any price is worth pay­ing to re­move our­selves from the Euro­pean Union, are to­day abus­ing the spirit of democ­racy. They are abet­ted by those who say, in good faith, that “we’ve al­ready had a peo­ple’s vote”.

The ar­gu­ment that we, the peo­ple, must be forced to en­dure the con­se­quences of a vote about which there is sig­nif­i­cant ev­i­dence to sug­gest we have changed our minds, is per­verse. It isn’t democ­racy, it’s masochism.

And they ar­gue, again in good faith, that any re­ver­sal of Brexit will fa­cil­i­tate the rise of the far right in the UK. But this ar­gu­ment also doesn’t hold firm un­der even the slight­est scru­tiny.

The far right won’t be mol­li­fied by Brexit. Quite the op­po­site. They will be em­bold­ened and en­cour­aged they could get Brexit over the line in de­fi­ance of what is now the will of the peo­ple.

Their ghastly ar­gu­ments will have greater trac­tion with a pop­u­la­tion by then suf­fer­ing the con­se­quences of the im­me­di­ate shock to the econ­omy ev­ery­one (bar the de­luded and the de­ceivers) now agrees Bri­tain will suf­fer post-brexit.

Many of the peo­ple march­ing peace­fully on Satur­day may have to march again in the fu­ture, against the far right. That seems in­evitable now, Brexit or no Brexit, and it won’t be such a pretty scene when that day comes. But at least there is now the will to fight it. That’s one thing we’ve got the ref­er­en­dum to thank for.

More peo­ple marched through Lon­don at the week­end than the Labour Party has mem­bers. For ev­ery­one who marched, how many were with them in spirit? Un­or­gan­ised as it is, Re­main is now the big­gest po­lit­i­cal move­ment in Europe.

It is a uniquely pow­er­ful move­ment, con­tain­ing as it does rep­re­sen­ta­tives from across the tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal spec­trum, united by a sin­gle is­sue. It should make ev­ery politi­cian in the coun­try ner­vous.

As much as the far right won’t go away post-brexit, nor will Re­main. En­er­gised by in­dig­na­tion, it will grow in strength and it will or­gan­ise, chal­leng­ing politi­cians who failed to lead the peo­ple just when the peo­ple needed their

The ar­gu­ment we, the peo­ple, must be forced to en­dure the con­se­quences of a vote about which there is sig­nif­i­cant ev­i­dence to sug­gest we have changed our minds, is per­verse

lead­er­ship the most.

That some Cor­bynite mouth­pieces talk of Re­main need­ing to “love­bomb the left” to have any chance of win­ning the right for a Peo­ple’s Vote shows just how blind sect mem­ber­ship can make you.

Re­main doesn’t need to love­bomb the left. It’s the other way around. Un­less Cor­byn’s Labour starts love­bomb­ing Re­main, they will quite prob­a­bly lose the next elec­tion. To Theresa May! That’s how con­vinc­ing Labour’s Brexit strat­egy has been to date.

The na­tion is des­per­ately anx­ious about the con­se­quences of Brexit. The fact that nei­ther our prime min­is­ter, nor the leader of the op­po­si­tion, is pre­pared to act on this truth de­fies the spirit of democ­racy. And so it’s up to you. We saw it on Satur­day, we see it in the polls: The will of the peo­ple has changed.

The word democ­racy comes from the an­cient Greek de­mos (the peo­ple) and kratos (power). It’s never been more im­por­tant than it is now to stand up and fight for it. Peo­ple power.

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