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A Brexit puzzle

No, not the one about “why did we ever…?” This:

Let’s think of an election, perhaps a general election. A vital part of our democratic process, of course. Usually it’s a two-horse race with a few also-rans, so let’s just concentrate on the two main parties, and call them left and right. One side wins, the other loses, everybody respects the result. It is, after all, binding. The winners form a government, the losers form an opposition. Democracy, in a word.

But here’s the thing. Do the losers – the left, for example – now say this:

“Oh, how sad, the people have spoken, and it’s the will of the people that the rotten righties (or the loony lefties, if it’s the other way round) have won the day. Now we must give up, drop our objections and principles, and join in support of their policies so that they can make the best possible job of what the people have chosen!”

Of course not. The opposition fights to stop what it considers the worst policies from being implemented. If it cannot block them, it fights to change and modify them. It works to change public opinion. It hopes that the electorate will change its mind and vote the other way next time round. That’s democracy.

So why do I still keep hearing that campaigning to stop Brexit is undemocratic? That referendum was, as we now all know, non-binding. It was no more than an augmented opinion poll. Why is it somehow more sacred than the result of the general election, when the plain fact is that it is, and always was, less significant. It was merely advisory.

We all respect the result of a general election, even when our favourite side loses. That does not, and should never, mean that we stop campaigning for the policies we think right, against those we think wrong, and to change decisions we believe harmful. Why then does “respecting the result” of the Brexit poll mean that we have to simply swallow it and shut up?

Brexit was born as an internal Tory squabble. It span out of control (thank you, David Cameron), and now is well on the way to becoming reality. Meanwhile the electorate wakes up more and more what a pup they have been sold, how much money the ordinary person will lose, how many businesses will fold, how much services will suffer, how many rights they will lose.

A ship of fools is exporting our wealth and our actual power in today’s world, to trade for an illusory “sovereignty”. A sovereignty that’s good for nothing except putting a grin on the faces of the right wing of the Tory party, and allowing Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and their friends to say “we won”.

Yes, it’s late in the day. Getting the political will together to cancel article 50 will be difficult. But it is the democratic right and the patriotic duty of remainers to stand up and say “STOP BREXIT”.

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