Democracy. This word seems to be the Brexiters’ weapon of choice at this point in the whole Brexit saga. It is everywhere you look. News, radio, TV. Even on leaflets posted through your door.
First published in June 2019.
The Brexit Party’s whole campaign during the recent elections for the European Parliament was based on this one simple word. It didn’t seem to matter at all to the people that took the time to go out and place their mark in the box for Nigel Farage’s new party that he didn’t have any policies regarding anything at all that affects peoples lives on a day to day basis. It also didn’t seem to matter that the one policy he does have – Brexit – has no clear solution and that delivering the no-deal Brexit that Mr Farage is now advocating would cause massive harm to our country.
However, Nigel Farage didn’t really campaign to deliver Brexit when you look at it. His whole campaign was based on his idea of Democracy. “The people have spoken, and parliament is openly ignoring their will.” He argues that he is standing up for the 17.4 million people that voted to leave the EU and that the result of the referendum should be carried out or parliament will be stamping all over Democracy in this country, and that simply cannot be allowed to happen.
The problem with his argument is this: Nigel Farage can only claim to speak for about 5 million people. That’s all. Not the 17.4 million that he claims to represent. He can only claim that 5 million people share his vision of leaving the EU without a deal because that’s how many people turned out to vote for him in the EU election during which he openly stood on a no-deal ticket. 12 million less than he says he represents. Out of a population of around 70 million people, this is a small number.
When people voted to leave in 2016, they had differing views on what leaving actually meant. Now, I do not doubt that some people did vote to leave without a deal. Whether they had any idea what this actually meant, I don't know. But I do know that not everyone who voted Leave voted for that. We were told it would be “the easiest deal in history”, that the price of food would go down, that there would be “more money for the NHS”, that hospital waiting lists would be cut, that parliament wasn’t sovereign and would be once again, that Turkey was “about to join the EU” and that we would be “flooded with migrants”. All sorts of reasons to vote to leave. Some reasons appealed to some people, others to others.
“When people voted to leave in 2016, they had differing views on what leaving actually meant.”
The mood in the country is shifting. People have now opened their eyes to the fact that there is no clear version of Leave and that it doesn’t mean what they thought it meant when they voted for it.
Sovereignty was a big issue for me. It is why I voted to leave.
However, I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t understand how the EU worked and after two years of trying to defend Brexit, I took myself out of my echo chamber and did some research with an open mind, and realised that the EU didn’t work the way I had thought it worked. I was armed with new information. After more research and debating with Remainers and friends of mine, I realised I had made a mistake and started to become more and more vocal calling for a People’s Vote.
“After two years of trying to defend Brexit, I took myself out of my echo chamber and did some research with an open mind, and realised that the EU didn’t work the way I had thought it worked.”
I have been called a coward, a traitor, weak minded and I have even had one person accusing me of having a mental breakdown.
“You are going against the will of the people”, is what I am being told. Simply because I think a decision of this importance that has been handed to the people to decide should be decided on honesty. A fair, well-informed decision in which the electorate knows all the facts and in which the consequences of a vote to move from the status-quo are clear.
If a Democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a Democracy.
“If a Democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a Democracy.”
A well-known saying. But it’s absolutely true. A true Democracy needs to be transparent. The electorate has the right to know exactly what their vote means, what the person or outcome they are voting for actually represents.
I didn’t know. I have changed my mind, and I believe I should have the right to cast a more informed vote on the biggest issue of our time.
I am not fighting against democracy. I am fighting for the right to change my mind.🔷
Watch Andy Martin on why he wrote this article for PMP Magazine:
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