Friday, 5 January 2018

How to corner Brextremists into demonstrating their hatred of democracy

We've all seen how the Brextremists love to invoke "democracy" to attack anyone who dares to question Theresa May's fanatical hard-right interpretation of the Brexit vote, or the downright incompetence of her Brexiteer ministers

"Will of the people" they howl whenever anyone tries to hold Theresa May to account, but the reality is that the Brextremists actually hate democracy.

Let's skip past the fact that they hurled abuse at the high court judges who ruled that parliament must have a democratic vote before Theresa May could invoke Article 50 because they hate democratic accountability and loathe the legal principle of parliamentary sovereignty.

Let's also bypass the fact that the Brextremists support Theresa May's plot to use Brexit as a Trojan Horse to allow her ministers to rewrite thousands of UK laws with no democratic scrutiny of their actions.

And let's also put aside the fact that a seething mob of Brextremists sent masses of abuse and death threats to the 11 'rebel' Tory MPs who voted with the opposition parties to ensure that parliament gets a democratic vote on the final Brexit deal.

Over the past year Brextremists have proven time and again that they thoroughly despise the workings of British democracy, but you're unlikely to convince ordinary Brexiters to think again by pointing out the Brextremists' proven track record of attacking and undermining parliamentary democracy. If the abuse and death threats of the Brextremist mob were going to turn public opinion against this extreme Tory interpretation of Brexit, then surely stuff like the disgusting "Enemies of the People" Daily Mail hatchet job on the three democracy-protecting high court judges would have been the tipping point?

There is however one way you can corner hardcore Brexiters into demonstrating that they actually hate and fear democracy, and that's by asking them about their views on a second EU referendum once the terms of the Brexit deal actually become clear.

Of course a minority of Brexiters will have sufficient principles and integrity to actually admit the obvious; that an EU referendum once the terms and conditions have been finalised would be much more meaningful than a referendum campaign so full of grandstanding, point-scoring, fearmongering, distortions, false promises, absurd fantasies, and outright lies, that discussion of the serious technicalities of the Brexit process were relegated to the absolute fringe of the debate.

The reaction of Brextremists to the idea of a second referendum once the terms and conditions of Brexit have been clarified is completely different. You can actually hear the fear in their voices when they're cornered into explaining their objections to a second referendum.

They're terrified that a referendum once the realities of Brexit have been made clear would give the British public a chance to step back from the cliff edge. They hate the idea of an informed second vote because they're so absolutely desperate to march us off the Brexit cliff, regardless of the consequences.

Aside from the fear of democracy producing a result they don't want to happen, there are also the absurd displays of mental gymnastics they're forced to perform in order to pretend that a vote before the terms and conditions of Brexit became clear is absolutely definitive and unquestionable, and that a democratic vote after the terms and conditions become clear is absolutely unconscionable. 

They know that the Brexit vote was a freak outcome that is unlikely to be repeated, so they want 'democracy' to be permanently frozen on June 23rd 2016 forever.

But that's just not how democracy works, because in reality it's an ongoing process in which people are free to change their minds and their political allegiances based on new information (such as the actual terms of the Brexit deal, the £50 billion divorce bill that none of the Brexiters mentioned during the referendum debate, the exodus of UK-based businesses back into the Single Market, the lack of £350 per week for the NHS ...).

If democracy worked the way Brextremists want it to work, then we'd just have one General Election which would enshrine our government in perpetuity, because to hold new elections in light of new information would be to defy the "will of the people".

Brextremists clearly only respect democracy when they get what they want, and they absolutely loathe it when there's a possibility that their side might actually lose.

So they'll try to argue that a hastily conducted vote based on grandstanding, fearmongering, outright lies, and widespread ignorance of the actual consequences is democracy, and that an informed vote based on knowledge of the actual consequences would be some kind of sinister anti-democratic plot to undermine (their interpretation of) democracy.

So why not try it?

Try asking a Brexiter whether they believe that a vote based on ignorance of the actual consequences has more legitimacy than a vote once the actual consequences have been worked out and formalised, then watch the absurd displays of profoundly anti-democratic metal gymnastics begin. 

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