Stopping Brexit is not just about membership of an organisation. It is much deeper than that.
It is a struggle over what kind of place we want the UK and its nations to be.
Do we want it to be a place where deliberate lies and populist tactics are a normal part of politics?
“To continue with Brexit would do far more harm to the UK’s body politic. We would have allowed politicians to put forward a fantasy and get away with it, which means every election from now on will involve claims more and more divorced from reality. The government, desperate to avoid the disappointed expectations of Leave voters, will resort to ever more populist tactics. The lurch towards an anti-pluralist democracy that we have seen since the referendum result could become entrenched in the UK.” (Professor Simon Wren-Lewis, “Brexit: it’s the economics, stupid.”)
A place where the constitution is optional.
A place that disregards the views of its constituent nations.
A place where there are only winners and losers.
Us and them.
British and Foreigners.
A place where neighbours, friends and partners are opponents, enemies and competitors.
Where predjudice trumps thoughtfulness.
Where a moment’s emotional reaction is worth more than a decade of prosperity.
A place where tolerance and kindness are steeped down on by anger and bitterness.
Where fear and suspicion replace hope and respect.
Where conformity is required, and opposition is treason.
Leaving the EU does not cause all of these things, but it hands the keys to the UK’s future to those who want it to be that kind of place.
And it tells those people and their supporters that they are the winners, and those who oppose them are the losers.
It tells them that their populist tactics and deliberate deceit works. That it’s okay.
And it tells those who oppose them that the only way is to use their tactics and join them in the gutter.
And it tells the rest of the world that the UK is not pragmatic, honest and outward looking, but petty, deceitful and insular.
There’s no quick fix for the problems of the UK, neither for those we all knew were there before the EU Referendum, or those that it has thrown up.
But proceeding with Brexit will only make those problems worse as we slide towards a society and politics that only a few of us, and the worst of us, actually want.🔷
(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)