THE BLOG

We Need Openness And Democracy More Than Ever In Brexit UK

10/11/2016 13:18

To listen to some Brexit leaders and supporters, reacting to the High Court judgement on Parliament having a say on Article 50, is to imagine that the law and democracy in this country stopped the second the EU referendum vote was done.

For all the Brexiteer referendum arguments about the sovereignty of the British Parliament and the evil of the laws forced on us by the EU - you would thing they would rejoice in the notion that Parliament and our justice system will have a say in how we carry out leaving the EU.

Some of this is just cynical politics; but such is the paranoia and the lack of faith in our democracy that so many leave supporters fear their wishes will be ignored - and in some ways who can blame people for feeling that way given the arguments about the legal standing of the referendum decision - that it is only 'advisory'?

The vote for the UK to leave the EU was one of the worst democratic decisions made in this country's history - but it should be respected, because if it isn't why should people expect any future vote to the respected? If people don't see that their vote counts for something then the whole democratic system starts to fall down - or we end up with someone like Trump in charge.

Any argument that it is 'advisory only' would not lessen the sense of betrayal of ignoring the result even if this is the actual legal status of the vote.

The 33 million people who voted had every reason to think they were decision makers and would surely not have engaged with the referendum which such passion if they thought otherwise.

The court case was brought by a group of claimants led by Gina Miller, an City investment fund manager. She has challenged the right of the Government to take away her rights under EU law without involving Parliament - she says she isn't trying to overturn the vote to leave the EU and she had a lawful right to bring the action.

But why the anger from some quarters about the ruling by the High Court? Most commentators have acknowledged that Parliament is unlikely to overturn the Referendum Vote and that Theresa May's Government has a majority anyway.

One of the problems is the way The May Government is conducting itself on this most important issue. Brexit Secretary David Davies, speaking to the BBC, said "The people are the ones Parliament represents - 17.4m of them, the biggest mandate in history, voted for us to leave the European Union. We are going to deliver on that mandate in the best way possible for the British national interest,"

This is a mistake, and a betrayal of millions of citizens, by the ideologically driven Brexit Secretary - because he and they are meant to represent the whole country - including the 16 million people who voted to remain in the EU, not to mention the millions that did not vote either way, and he is failing in his duty to do otherwise. This Government is sowing mistrust by not respecting the views of all those voters.

This matters now more than ever because whilst we now should leave the EU we should do so in a way that does least damage to the economic future of UK citizens and because there are very uncertain times ahead.

The vote was won by the leave campaign - but it was a vote to leave the EU - nothing more. Our leaving the EU will have a profound effect on both our economic futures and our legal rights as citizens.

It was not a vote on wether we should totally exclude the possibility of membership of the Single Market after Brexit.

It was not a vote on wether we should restrict immigration in such a way that damages our businesses and universities through a lack of skilled and clever immigrants from abroad.

It was not a vote for this country to become less tolerant and less welcoming to those that need help.

Nor was it a vote to exclude our elected representatives in Parliament from the process. It was not a vote to ignore the law or to justify the abuse Judges or for ruthless and vindictive tabloid editors to abuse the freedom of the press by bullying those who take a different view from them.

It certainly was not a vote to to authorise ideologically driven Ministers to decide on this nations future in secret meetings without proper oversight or challenge.

The Government should ensure we leave the EU in the name of the 17 million who voted for that but they should ensure the least damaging exit deal in the name of the 16 million who voted remain.

This country need more open democracy on this issue - now more than ever. Ignoring the wishes of people causes mistrust which in turn breeds further mistrust on both sides of the argument.

Comments

CONVERSATIONS