Theresa May is hell bent on destroying any illusions that the UK is any kind of democracy.
Theresa May has now said that getting parliament involved in deciding the terms under which the UK will be leaving the EU would be “simply an attempt to find another way to thwart the will of the British people”. She does say that parliament will have some role after negotiations have started but, from what I’ve seen so far, that role may be limited to just watching in horror and being told that any attempt to improve relations with the EU or to save free movement is somehow “undemocratic”.
I’ve written about this before so I won’t say too much. Simply, May is claiming that because around half of the population voted to leave the EU in favour of some other arrangement that must mean it is the “will of the British people” that we go for her particular version of hard Brexit.
This is nonsense.
48% of the population are happy enough with keeping free movement and single market membership that we voted to remain members of the EU.
Apparently the concerns of these 48% don’t count, or maybe it’s just that half of the population are the “liberal elite” and therefore utterly out of touch with the interests of the population, including their own. Somehow, people earning average wages and living in average places are more out of touch than a small gang of millionaires? Forgive me if I find that a little hard to believe.
There are, of course, perspectives that I simply will never be able to fully understand which we must take into account in our political decision making if we are to plausibly maintain that we are any type of democracy. However, I really take exception to the claim that the interests of at least 48% of the population no longer count.
I say at least because, even amongst leave voters, there will have been many who favoured a softer version of Brexit. Norway was one of the models we were told would be the likely outcome of a vote to leave. Why are we now being told that nobody voted for that?
Theresa May is claiming that any attempt to move away from the most extreme interpretation of the vote to leave the EU is an attempt to “thwart the will of the British people”. Nothing could be further from the truth, it’s an attempt to determine what the actual will of the people is and to protect all of our interests.
May has abandoned democracy. If she wants to go down this route, she should at least have the decency to tell us directly “actually I don’t care what the will of the people is, we’re destroying the UK anyway”.