When it comes to Brexit, democracy simply doesn’t work
Democracy — According to the Oxford dictionary is: A political system that allows the citizens to participate in political decision making, or to elect representatives to government bodies.
If Brexit was a movie, you might describe it as Armageddon or Groundhog Day or Just Kill Me Now (ok that’s not an actual movie) but the Brexit rollercoaster ride that the British public has been on has really taken a turn for the worse this week.
Just when we thought British politics couldn’t stoop any lower, our Prime Minister Boris Johnson has done it again by losing his first parliamentary vote, opening up the very real prospect of a general election, like I had predicted. However this has been rejected for now in parliament as it needed two thirds of parliament’s support and basically Labour said no.
The problem with Brexit is this there is no amicable solution. If 52% voted to leave the EU in 2016, 48% didn’t. Throw into the mix all the young people who weren’t eligible to vote then, but are now. If half the Conservative party are Remainers than the other half are Brexiteers. The Labour party is split pretty much half way too, as their supporters in Northern England mainly voted to Leave. Then you have the Brexit Party and the polar opposite to that you have the Liberal Democrats whose stance has been to stay in the EU from the very beginning.
Everywhere you look there is division. If London is pro EU, the South West is anti EU. How can one party represent the will of the people when there is no clear majority? Yes we know 17.4 million people voted for Brexit but they didn’t vote for a no-deal Brexit which economists say will be catastrophic for the UK. If some Brexiteers say they voted for no-deal in 2016, they’re lying or so they’re so steeped in nationalism that they’re not too bothered about the economy. Anything to get Johnny foreigner out. No one contemplated the intricacies, and I guess this was the problem with the referendum. It was just leave or remain, without any details, without any terms or conditions. The whole question was incorrect to begin with but of course hindsight is a great thing, as David Cameron knows too well.
First of all Boris Johnson didn’t even have a mandate to become Prime Minister. He was voted in by Conservative party members, that’s well under a 100, 000 people, out of a population of 58 billion or so. And now we’re stuck with him, for a short while anyway, another reminder of how our ‘democracy’ hasn’t really worked out.
Twenty-one MPs rebelled against their own leader Boris and have now had the whip withdrawn which means that they cannot stand as Conservative MPs at the next general election. These include heavy weights like Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, and what looked like a ray of Tory sunshine Rory Stewart. Anybody with integrity seems to have opposed Boris and the ones who are still staunch Brexiteers pretend they’re doing it for their constituents.
So where does that leave democracy? There is no way that any sort of majority will be happy with any given result. Unless a ‘good’ deal can be done before October 31st (highly unlikely) most of the country will be left unaccounted for and dealing with a Brexit they did not vote for.
What’s the solution? Well asking the public again via a general election will not work either. Because there will be no majority, and that’s probably why Labour aren’t up for it. The Leave vote is split between the Conservative party and the Brexit party and remain vote split between Labour, the Lib Dems and other parties like the Greens and the SNP. So how will the democratic process actually work when it comes to Brexit? The answer is it will not, and it hasn’t been for the last three years since the question was asked. Our government does not support proportional representation where the number of votes indicates how many seats you get, instead we could get a coalition again. Again not quite the democracy that we hear so much about.
Sadly we are a split nation, and the supporters of a no-deal Brexit are well on their way in spitting us further with the possible breaking away of Scotland and right now the Ireland issue is so grim that I don’t even want to go there. At least parliament has agreed to Hilary Benn’s Bill in the hope to avoid a no-deal Brexit for now, but that does mean the Brexit shit-show will drag on a lot longer than October 31st.
I guess the fear is that we may be left with a bunch of nationalists who claim to care so much about Britain and are hell bent about ‘getting their country back’, that they’re putting those very citizens of their so-called beloved country in absolute jeopardy.
The frustrating part is that democracy is used as a symbol and benchmark for everything that Britain stands for. But considering it’s been a bit of a farce recently, the question remains, what does Britain actually stand for?