‘Stop Brexit’ is the message of the times and the forthcoming Autumn of Discontent represents an attempt to restore democracy
The period before the last general election was a time of immense anguish for those who believe in the potential of the EU. During the election campaign Theresa May, backed by the majority of polls predicting an overwhelming electoral victory for her party, repeatedly stated that every vote for her was a vote to strengthen her hands in negotiating Brexit. The outcome of the recent general election in effect wiped out the mandate she claimed; her ‘strong and stable’ election slogan was followed by an electoral result revealing instead that she was weak and wobbly. And so the referendum mandate, based on the myth that it represented the will of the people, was significantly undermined.
The political cowardice of the Labour Party to hide behind the myth of the will of the people has only served to deepen divisions in British society and highlight further the lack of consensus. Tory hardliners and Corbynistas have hijacked the agenda. Party politics prevails over true democracy.
Yet despite the lack of a clear and overwhelming support for Brexit, Theresa May and her party continue to pursue the Brexit agenda. Having failed to provide any detailed plans beyond a jingoistic narrative for a ‘Global Britain’ trading with unknown countries at this stage and with access to endless chlorinated chickens, she continues to ignore a number of recent polls clearly showing that the original protest vote has now switched sides. The Labour Party, mainly through statements by Corbyn, seeks a Brexit that is good for jobs and employment; a contradiction evident to most sensible people.
The folly of Brexit is revealed through numerous reports predicting economic and social upheaval. There has not been a single report that Brexit can deliver a better society. The blindness and moral cowardice of the two main political parties caught in a vicious circle of groupthink reminiscent of the ‘Abilene paradox’ undermines the democratic will of the majority of people. The status of three million EU citizens remains unclear. And all this in a country with over two thousand food banks and over one million children below the poverty line. None of the two political parties has attempted to explain how Brexit might address austerity.
It was George Orwell who stated that speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act. The deceit is blatantly obvious not only through the white letters on the side of the red bus but also through the endless appeals to xenophobia, hatred and division in the pages of some mainstream media. During these times of deep crisis muddling the message with slogans that might appeal to ‘soft leavers/Brexiters’ is an act of complacency. There is nothing to rethink. There is a lot to reject.
The three Stop Brexit marches (September 17, Bournemouth, Lib. Dem party conference – September 24, Brighton, Labour party conference – October 1, Manchester, Tory party conference) as well as varied other actions with an explicit Stop Brexit focus during this forthcoming autumn, represent a message that is timely and are an attempt to restore democracy.