Monday, 27 June 2016
The long road to democracy
This second referendum talk is dangerous. A political establishment which acts to overturn a free and not very fair referendum, is one that has said "up yours" to the people. And while they may win a second referendum, we are back to square one, with Britain unable to progress, with the matter unresolved with the same people in power. The bitterness will only fester. And all those calling Ukip a fascist party will come to learn what a fascist party REALLY looks like.
It really is time for remainers to grow up and give up the ghost. We have been arguing for decades about this and politics is not going to progress until the issue is resolved. We have two choices. We can either bicker about the result, or we can focus on the question of what next. One of them is is a valuable use of intellect, the other is not. The fact remains that for whatever reason, the British public answered a single and unequivocal question and that is what we must abide with.
Should we have a second referendum, which we definitely won't, we probably would see remain prevail largely because the people will have taken the message that their vote doesn't count. I would wearily vote to leave again but many would abstain and simply withdraw from the process, and then we are back to a resined and politically disengaged electorate which has dangers all of its own.
In any case, a second referendum would trigger howls of rage. MPs would have to double up on personal security. A betrayal of that magnitude would destablise the country even further and add to further uncertainty. It would also damage long term investment as the possibility of Brexit would remain hanging in the air for the following decades. If we say now that out means out then at least business knows how to plan for the future.
But then our political establishment is a little more shrewd than this. They would never wield such a blunt instrument to subvert the process. They will seek to derail the Brexit talks or push us into an agreement which is EU membership in all but name with no road out so that at some time in the future we will be bounced back in. I strongly suspect they will attempt that, to hoodwink the public in the same way Cameron told us he had reformed the EU. And I wouldn't put it past Boris Johnson to try this on as he himself has no track record of being a committed leaver.
What is certain is that victory is not assured. I have always assumed the process of leaving would take at least twenty years, but now I get the feeling we have another decade of arguments to get around whatever they do to subvert the process. This is what happens when the political establishment is so at odds with the public.
And if by now you are having regrets, asking how could it have gone so wrong so quickly, it's because all of the foundations for failure were there from the outset. A debased academia, a frivolous media and a hollowed out and morally bankrupt house of commons and a disengaged electorate. It can limp along to manage the basics of day to day governance but it was always going to fall apart at the first hint of a serious constitutional crisis. This referendum has shone a torch on that. And not before time.
One way or another, this country is not going to be the same again. And that's a good thing. We have been living in blissful complacency where the people have shirked their responsibility to engage in politics. As someone who does engage in politics my social options have been few in my lifetime. Most people don't want to know and don't want me around because I talk about things they have to think about. Politics is shunned. Well, there is a price for that.
This is a kick in the complacency. The public wanted to defer politics til later. Later is now here. Now it's our job to re-engage and sort out their mess. In that regard I have zero sympathy for the British electorate. If you choose to delegate politics to politicians, this is what you get. Now suck up the consequences.