The People’s Vote and Brexit

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Politics

The People’s Vote is a movement to revoke article 50 and to stop the Brexit clock running.

It is a movement to give the people of Britain the opportunity vote in an informed way on the question of whether to leave the European Union.

I have come to dislike the word Brexit. It is a contraction of the word British and the word exit, meaning exit from the European Union. The word reminds me of a breakfast cereal. The word is onomatopoeic.

Brexit is hard and brittle and snaps easily.

Serious business at the Peoples Vote march, London, 23 March 2019

Serious business at the Peoples Vote march, London, 23 March 2019

I voted Remain in the referendum in 2016. I did so because I thought that this country needed Continental Europe to continue to widen its cultural attitudes.

I thought that being part of Europe might help to bring an end to the social stratification and class divisions that go right through the heart of Britain.

I still do.

People putting signs on the Houses of Parliament railings asking for a revocation of Article 50 and for there to be a second referendum

People putting signs on the Houses of Parliament railings asking for a revocation of Article 50 and for there to be a second referendum

We have a proud tradition in literature and music of breaking into the fortress that is the English class system.

But the class system is run with a rod of iron, and it has hung on grimly for hundreds of years. Who gets into Parliament; who forms the Government? Which school did they go to? That narrow band of brothers governs everything.

So I voted Remain as a way to continue to chip away at those class divisions and show them for what they are.

I didn’t choose Remain because of the warnings over the economy. I could have, and that would be reason enough, and I truly do not know how Britain could survive or prosper outside Europe.

Yet while the economic predictions are dire, ten years from now the situation could be reversed.

It is possible and maybe even likely, given British history. We have a proud tradition in inventiveness, resourcefulness.

But on present evidence the economic outlook outside Europe is bad. But still, it was because of the breach with culture that I voted as I did.

Since then I have been thinking. I have been wondering what those influential politicians in the Conservative party are thinking when they want us out of Europe.

We have attacked them for being out of touch and out of time – for pushing for a return to Britain as a proud colonial power, something that Britain was but cannot be any more.

Can they be so stupid? Can it be as simple as that they are deluded?

Is there something else? Is it the security issue? Do they know something about the risks of being bound within Europe? Is there a risk of Britain being dragged into something because of a Russian expansion westward?

Do they see the future as westward looking, towards the USA?

Do they want to return Britain to serfdom, with them at the head of the table?

And what of Labour under its present leader? He seems to want to be out of Europe at almost any economic cost, provided he can get his party into power.

I can see that, the plan to dismantle the banks, nationalise essential services, and divide up the windfall to create a fairer society.

But what a risk – a risk that his party will not come to power, and that all he will have done is facilitate misery.

Sign at the Peoples Vote March 23 March 2019 'Corbyn, This isn't something we could forgive'.

Sign at the Peoples Vote March 23 March 2019 ‘Corbyn, This isn’t something we could forgive’.

I don’t know the answer, but a million or more people marching to simply be there and be counted should count for something.

It should count for something and not be simply swept aside by a Prime Minister who keeps repeating that the people have spoken.

It’s like a woman drowning and dragging down the life raft and insisting it will save her.

Crowd gathering in London for the Peoples Vote march on 23rd March 2019

Crowd gathering in London for the Peoples Vote march on 23rd March 2019

4 Comments

  1. Interesting to read … that the class system is so much alive and kickn’ there. I remember I was surprised, when I heard people talking about classes when I was there … as if it was a normal thing. It wasn’t normal to me — back home, that would be like an ugly word, to talk about someone being ‘upper class’ or whatever [even though in their minds, it still exists … it’s weird]. You raise several, interesting questions. ‘Do they know something that we don’t?!’

    As I was reading this, I got a news flash on my phone, telling me she’d said there wasn’t enough support for a third vote, or whatever.

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    • It’s an ugly word to me, too. Yes, it is weird: a modern version of the divine right of kings. I have been reading about British foreign policy over the past half century – trying to understand where this pressure is coming from. Coincidentally, I just read about Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer’s negative response to Macron’s vision for a more integrated Europe.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully expressed, such admirable passion, David – and how movingly memorable that march was to attend with you, such a “forever” memory 👏🏻🌺!

    Like

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