Just imagine for a second that an authoritarian leader of some banana republic decided not to recognise the result of an election or referendum that went against him or said it couldn’t be implement “because it went against the interests of the country”. There would rightly be international outrage and he would be condemned. Sanctions might even be imposed. Yet this is broadly the logic that is being promoted by particularly fanatical Remainers. They have convinced themselves that it is perfectly legitimate to quash a democratic decision in this instance for the greater good. I can’t recall this ever happening before in my lifetime and it is incredibly disturbing.
I wish I was exaggerating with the title of this article, but sadly it appears all too true. If the likes A.C. Grayling had their way Brexit would be cancelled tomorrow and your vote would be rendered meaningless, as the immediate reaction from the MP for Tottenham David Lammy to referendum result suggested:
“Wake up. We do not have to do this.
“We can stop this madness and bring this nightmare to an end through a vote in Parliament.”
There is little awareness from these people of the gravity of what they’re proposing. Yes, they can argue it was a “non binding, advisory referendum”, but was to all intents and purposes treated as binding. Practically anyone of importance recognised it as such from the Prime Minister at time David Cameron down, who promised to implement whatever voters decided. While most Remain voters accept the result of the referendum and agree it must be respected, some fringe Remain voices continue to argue that even now – even after the triggering of Article 50 and the beginning of negotiations of the UK’s departure from the EU – that the “nonsense”, as they call the implementation of democracy, can be stopped. How someone can reach the point of opposing something so much that they’re willing to subvert democracy to stop it from happening is deeply troubling. How they do the mental gymnastics necessary for such reasoning is beyond me.
As a lefty, I could just as easily use Remainer logic and say allowing the Tories to govern after they win an election “is an act of national safe harm”, that they won “based on lies” and their voters were bigots, easily led and didn’t know what they were voting for and the margin of victory wasn’t big enough so the election result shouldn’t be recognised and implemented. Sounds nuts right? For some reason though, while we’re willing to go along with whatever a general election delivers, a referendum held under more or less similar rules can be dismissed as a “glorified opinion poll” and just ignored according to pro EU reasoning. The largest democratic exercise in British history that was the EU referendum where some people voted for the first time and were told their vote mattered and would count should be considered null and void if it was up to A.C. Grayling, Alastair Campbell, Bonnie Greer and the writers of The New European.
It is a sad day when it can’t be taken for granted that the outcome of a democratic exercise in Great Britain will be respected, however divisive the result. These are many of the same people who pride themselves as the conscience of the country, standing up for human rights, social justice and refugees. But for past year however they have devoted themselves to undermining a democratic decision, making the idea of overturning a democratic decision a valid discussion point and going to court as part of their strategy of sabotaging the Brexit process. While something of an inconvenience, the court judgment that required a parliamentary vote on triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was simply a further dotting of the Is and crossing of the Ts of starting Brexit and shutting down another Remainer reason of complaint.
Following their defeat, Remainers retreated to engage in guerrilla warfare. Refuseniks outright rejected the new reality altogether, calling for parliament to vote down the referendum result, ridiculing and deriding the whole exercise and deliberately linking Brexit with racism by redefining acts of racism and hate crimes post referendum as “post Brexit racism” and “post Brexit hate crimes” as if such things only sprung into existence due to people voting to leave the EU. The 17.4 million British citizens who voted Leave were defamed as racists, bigots and xenophobes who only did so because of their hatred for foreigners. Other Remainers said they respected the result, but part of their newly adopted strategy was to invent new propaganda terms “Hard Brexit” (which is actually leaving the EU) and “Soft Brexit”, a diluted form of Brexit which seeks to keep Britain in the EU’s internal market, the customs union and retain freedom of movement – in other words in the EU in all but name.
As I was writing this, Brendan O’Neil published his own (much better) article “If Brexit doesn’t happen, then Britain isn’t a democracy”, where he makes similar observations on how disturbing it is that Remainers can so casually remark that Brexit may not even happen:
They say it matter-of-factly, sometimes a little gleefully. As if it wouldn’t be a disgrace, a black-mark- against-the-nation disgrace, if Brexit were not to happen. As if failing to act on the wishes of 17.4 million people — the most populous democratic demand in the history of this nation — wouldn’t represent one of the worst snubs to the democratic ideal in the modern era. This is the bottom line: if Brexit doesn’t happen, then Britain’s claim to be a democratic nation will be called into question. Our democracy will be compromised, perhaps beyond repair.
Even the staunchest advocates of Britain’s EU membership would surely find it difficult to argue against this. Democracy is far too important to trifle with. To set a precedent where a democratic mandate can be swept aside would be deeply troubling and create a long lasting grievance that would quite justly undermine trust in the political class and British democracy for years to come. The only legitimate means of overturning this referendum result would be to hold and for the pro EU campaign to win another referendum – but that should not happen for at least another generation.
Rorschach AKA Mr Cloud ©