There’s an old joke. “Don’t go out and vote for politicians – it only encourages them.” But now, the day after Brexit Betrayal Day, I’m beginning to think that perhaps it’s time to take it at its word.
On the 10th November 2015, the then Prime Minister, David Cameron made his Chatham House speech on Europe. Memorably, and notably, he said, and I quote verbatim:
And ultimately it will be the judgment of the British people in the referendum that I promised and that I will deliver. You will have to judge what is best for you and your family, for your children and grandchildren, for our country, for our future. It will be your decision whether to remain in the EU on the basis of the reforms we secure, or whether we leave. Your decision. Nobody else’s. Not politicians’. Not Parliament’s. Not lobby groups’. Not mine. Just you. You, the British people, will decide. At that moment, you will hold this country’s destiny in your hands. This is a huge decision for our country, perhaps the biggest we will make in our lifetimes. And it will be the final decision.
He went on to say:
When the British people speak, their voice will be respected – not ignored.
If we vote to leave, then we will leave. There will not be another renegotiation and another referendum.
His successor, Prime Minister Theresa May, doubled down on that pledge with her ‘Brexit Means Brexit’, ‘No Deal Is Better Than A Bad Deal’, her ‘Red Lines’ and finally her repetition, one hundred and eight times in the House of Commons, that ‘Britain will leave the European Union on 29th March 2019.’
Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech made in January 2017, promised amongst other things:
- Certainty – especially for Business and the Public Sector
- Control of our own laws
- A strengthening of the Union
- Control of immigration
- New trade agreements with other countries
- A smooth, orderly Brexit
Finally, as has been pointed out many times, both major parties stood on Brexit manifestos during the ill-planned and badly thought-out 2017 General Election. The Conservative one’s title – Forward, Together: Our Plan for a Stronger Britain and a Prosperous Future will meet the great challenges of our time, beyond Brexit – which looks, frankly laughable now, specifically promised ‘the best possible deal for Britain as we leave the European Union delivered by a smooth, orderly Brexit’. The section titled ‘Leaving The European Union’ baldly stated that ‘only the Conservatives under Theresa May’s strong and stable leadership can negotiate the best possible deal for our country’. (How ridiculous that statement looks now!). It reiterated that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK and re-committed that the UK would no longer be a member of the single market or customs union.
Similarly, Labour stated, in their own manifesto, in the section, ‘Negotiating Brexit’, that, ‘Labour accepts the referendum result and Labour will put the national interest first.’ All 589 Conservative and Labour MPs elected then were elected on those Brexit promises.
All false promises. All lies. All deceits.
And yesterday, Johnson, Mogg, Davis, Raab and Ian Duncan Smith proved themselves to be men of straw, after all, when they voted to commit the UK into never-ending vassalage to the EU. There’s absolutely no point listening to what they have to say any more.
And Nigel Farage’s much-touted ‘Brexit Party’ still, despite all his bluster, and despite having well over one hundred thousand supporters, many of whom, like me, have also signed up to be activists and candidates, and also despite BREXIT now having manifestly been delayed, (at best) – has still failed to launch…
So, with the local elections only a month away – I ask you – is there any point voting at all? Our parliamentarians and public figures have clearly and openly proved to us that there is absolutely no point whatsoever. It doesn’t matter what we vote for – they’ll just carry on and do exactly what’s in their best interests regardless. In Great Britain, the electorate has ceased to matter.
Of course, they want us to vote because then they can pretend that they have a mandate to govern. They’re governing us, with our consent, because we voted them in. Our vote is a comfort blanket for MPs. Nothing more.
So, perhaps the time has come to withdraw it. Perhaps it’s time to see turn-outs for any election so low that no politician can ever pretend again that they are in any way mandated by us, the British people. Perhaps that would be more honest at the end of the day.
After all, what have we got to lose? Our democracy? It’s already gone.