It’s about far more than Brexit… Our democracy is at stake

Promises, promises…From the Government’s official leaflet for the 2016 referendum

Today – Friday 29 March 2019 – was to have been Brexit Day but it may instead herald a dark time for democracy in our country.

We had been scheduled to leave the European Union (EU) at 11pm this evening. That is, until last week when Prime Minister Theresa May was ordered by Parliament to seek from the EU a delay to the departure date; only to be humiliated by the EU and forced to accept its own terms. So much for taking back control.

So far, Brexit has only been delayed but there is a risk it may not happen at all if our parliamentarians continue to ignore the will of the people as expressed in the referendum of 2016. A referendum in which a record number of people voted. A referendum that chalked up the biggest majority for anything in British voting history. A referendum that we were told by the Government was a “once in a generation decision”, where the Government promised it would “implement what you decide”.

Remainers dominate our whole system

Yeah, right. With hindsight we can now see clearly that, from the very beginning, the Government’s actions have been designed to scupper a ‘Leave’ vote. Indeed, the Government campaigned in the referendum to remain in the EU. It instructed Whitehall not to prepare contingency plans for a ‘Leave’ victory. And, following the referendum, the Treasury put the brakes on ‘No Deal’ planning by holding back cash, thereby torpedoing our negotiating position and contributing hugely to the current chaos. Chaos that is now being used by Remainers as a reason for cancelling Brexit altogether.

Our whole system – our government, our parliament, our civil service and even our judiciary – is dominated by Remainers. No wonder Brexit is proving so difficult to deliver.

We should have realised that “they” would never let it happen, that the establishment would seek to subvert the referendum result, and that the elites who benefit most from our EU membership would work to maintain the status quo and ensure that the UK remains inside the EU; or, at the very least, keep us so closely aligned that it would make little difference in practice if we left.

But their efforts are damaging our democracy. To work, any democracy requires that everyone accepts the outcome of a vote, so that those on the losing side will consent to the outcome. But such loser’s consent has been conspicuously lacking among Remainers who toil tirelessly to frustrate Brexit. They do not care about the referendum result; they are prepared to ignore the will of the people. And this lack of respect for the voters fundamentally undermines our democracy.

Damaged beyond repair

But it could get even worse. If they actually succeed in overturning the referendum result, then trust in our democratic tradition may be damaged beyond repair. Ask yourself this: what conclusion will be drawn about the effectiveness of democracy in bringing about peaceful change by those millions of people who voted to leave the EU in 2016 and who, don’t forget, won the referendum? Of course, Leave voters might just conclude that there is no point in voting and go back to their lives and carry on about their everyday business. But there is a real danger that some, seeing that their votes and the votes of millions of others have been ignored, decide to take matters into their own hands.

Then again, we may yet leave the EU (there is another vote on the deeply flawed Withdrawal Agreement due in Parliament today) and democracy will then be seen to have triumphed. But somehow, I doubt it. There is a realistic prospect that delay will beget further delay, and that we will slide inescapably back into the clutches of the EU.

This is now about so much more than Brexit. Sure, if Brexit is cancelled then we lose the dream of an independent, successful, globally trading Britain. But if trust in democracy is shattered in the process then we lose a vital tie that binds us all together in a peaceful, law abiding society. We risk this country becoming less peaceful and less law abiding…

If Brexit is betrayed and trust in democracy is undermined, then I fear for the future of our country – and so should you.

 

 

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References

See the Government leaflet for the 2016 referendum here.

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Comments
2 Responses to “It’s about far more than Brexit… Our democracy is at stake”
  1. wolsten says:

    Unfortunately I agree with everything you say. The sad thing is that having spoken to remainers who are gleeful about the prospects of overturning the result, they just do not understand the inevitable consequences for our democracy. This includes very intelligent people and several very dear to me. I have disagreed with family and friends on politics before, but this situation will create a rift in society that will be very difficult to heal.

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