We are not the ones defying democracy
The New European Editor MATT KELLY on where the fight goes from here
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.