Opinion: The UK held to Ransom, an Erosion of Democracy

By Dawn M. Sanders

I’ve been holding off for as long as possible on writing this article, because like everyone else I’m sick to death of Brexit-related stories, news and speculation.

That said, a week and a half on from joining a million others in London to march in the biggest demonstration since the Iraq War and ‘I really feel’ its about so much more than leaving the European Union, what we are witnessing is a real eroding of democracy.

People and signs

“It means actually giving us a chance to decide on the truth and the real things that are going on and not going on misinformation.” Said Greta from South London who marched for a people’s vote on 23rd March.

So, we all now know the 2016 referendum was all about mud-slinging on both sides, especially the leave campaign, which has had to be investigated, as its donors and funders either have been under investigation for corrupt motives or exceeding the limits in accordance to campaign rules.

The other major miscarriage of trust and data violation was of course the Facebook debacle – leading to a complex interaction of players, resulting in the shutting down of AIQ (AggregateIQ) the Canadian firm involved in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Getting back to the 2016 referendum, as has been recently pointed out by some commentator, which or where I lose track in the menagerie of press coverage, that it simply was a choice of in or out – not ‘what kind of Brexit’ if you choose leave – presumably that would have been too complicated and an insult to the intelligence of the electorate to not have taken that approach.

Now, with the grave threat to trade with are biggest partner, the EU, looming; restrictions on freedom of movement; the border between Northern and Southern Ireland and anything in between thrown into chaotic uncertainty, people are either rightfully changing their minds or simply want the chance to make coherent sense of the mess the government has landed us in.

However, despite the march for a People’s Vote, it seemingly was hardly acknowledged or mentioned in last week’s chaos and mellow drama. As the bickering and mess carries on inside the Houses of Parliament, the growing unrest and anger at the utter shambles is more vocal all the time outside. Crazily though, the Tories plod on with ‘party first, people second’ manoeuvres.

It wasn’t enough to act on Theresa May’s deal to 2 decisive outcomes, as she pressed for a third vote in which the deal was cut in half out of blatant desperation, none of the  indicative votes resulted in anything decisive or definite, as none of them rendered a majority.  There are extreme Brexiteers who would rather see no deal at all than dream of any compromise and of course there are those dead against a second referendum under the guise of ‘it wouldn’t solve anything or cause further polarisation’.  Yet all of the obstructions to a much-needed democratic process, prevail because the government cannot manage it, amounting to what parliamentarians can’t or won’t face – bias toward their own ideology or party protection.

All of the above sentiments were voiced in speaking to people on the march.

Anyes, a French national who couldn’t vote on the referendum said: “I was actually very upset, I’ve been a resident for 20 years, paying my taxes, being married to a British national, as my children were born here – so it means everything.  Also I think after the speech from the Prime Minister has embolden me even more to come today, because she said she spoke ‘for the people’. No, she doesn’t – she has refused us a vote…”

When asked ‘what does it mean for you to be here today’ James said: “A lot because I doing it for my children.  I’ve lived abroad, worked abroad and went to university in Europe.”  He continued, saying why should his children not have a chance to go to a French school – it’s a shame, what are we doing leaving Europe?

Another woman from North Hampton said her husband’s company was on hold due to the uncertainty of Brexit.

One of the many speakers on the day belted out, ‘why should Theresa May have 3 votes – we have had 1!

As the original date for our departure from the EU has passed, anger and unrest inside and outside parliament grows.  With April upon us, a small extension of deadline from the EU and yet we witness another round of indicative votes for MP’s – not to mention another shameless attempt by May for a vote on a half-baked dead deal.  The chaos carries on amid continued austerity and all the other domestic issues, as the government fixates on Brexit.

For instance, in our quarterly regional forum, it was highlighted just how dyer schools are faring, due to under-funding.  Within the target-obsessed culture for schools – determining the deserving and undeserving, Devon had generally performed well, but has now fallen in line with some of the most deprived and demoralised with the threat of reduced numbers of qualified teachers or closures.

Someone in the forum piped up, with a deprived second referendum or the immediate affects of a no deal or bad Brexit, there could be civil disobedience – I think she might be right.

I have to agree with a good friend of mine who regularly muses: those in the ruling class as having the emotional intelligence of cockroaches.

© 2019

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