What a difference two weeks makes

How naïve I was just two weeks ago when I wrote an open letter to David Cameron. Of course the answer was NO! He doesn’t believe in democracy, and I’ve since discovered that almost everyone in a position of power agrees with him. At least the EU is honest about its disdain for democracy. Our own government, on the other hand, pays lip service to it as a means of placating us. Prime ministers have stood by that Cenotaph every year for decades as if they give a damn about the lives of those people and the terror they must have felt before they marched to their death. The truth is they couldn’t care less about them. The Queen is the only one to this day who silently sheds a tear every time . Those people did not die to save our democracy and our way of life from one undemocratic super-state, only to hand it over gleefully to another for a few pieces of silver.

It was barely 40 years after World War 2 when Edward Heath gave the first of many of our hard won democratic rights to the EU, while many survivors of that war were still alive. He did it without asking us, and that trend has continued with successive governments. Each time this happened they didn’t ask for our consent because they knew that we would not give it. It was only through a daring gamble by an over-confident Cameron that we got this chance and, my goodness, did we take it.

But things are so far gone that now it’s not just the government that doesn’t believe in democracy, it’s a large portion of the public! I realise that people who felt strongly about remaining in the EU are going through a devastating forced separation, and we should respect that. However the wailing and gnashing of teeth that we have seen highlight a much deeper issue. These people actually believe that we are better off having less and less say in our own destiny. Not only that, they are prepared to override democracy itself to go back there. Some will stop at nothing to destroy the last remnants of it.

It must be said, however, that these are the ones who are getting the publicity. The media, now totally unencumbered by any inclination to be impartial, has hedged its bets against democracy. Who knows what their reasoning is but I’d hazard a guess it has something to do with professional humiliation, funding, sensationalism, or all three. My faith has always been in the collective wisdom of the public, and I had already declared my acquiescence to it long before the result, whatever that was. If the majority of people had declared (ironically by voting) that democracy was of no further use, then I would have begrudgingly accepted that. After all, daily life wasn’t that bad. Yet.

By walking into a polling station on 23rd June and placing our mark on that ballot paper, every single one of us signalled our belief in democracy; even those who voted to remain in an undemocratic union; even Farron and Geldof (unless the latter couldn’t be bothered to vote). It’s not the size of the majority that’s the issue; it’s the fact that you cannot use a vote to get rid of democracy.

Some say that people are too stupid to handle democracy and that they need help in deciding right from wrong. They’ll argue that we can use different “forms” of democracy to get a “better” result. What they mean is THEIR result. What better result is there than the general consensus of everyone? I don’t argue that they should not have a vote, no matter how anti-democratic their view; so why should they be concerned about my vote? I’ll tell you why: because they know that their arguments hold no water without consensus.

Then there are the views of Sarpong and others, who believe the public were hoodwinked by more promises of silver. Were you fooled by it? Neither were we! Did you not make up your own mind? So did we! Don’t insult us. If there’s one thing that stands out from this result it’s that most people know in their hearts that there are more important things than money. Despite what has to be the most heavy-handed bullying campaign ever, that belief stood true. It’s a remarkable testament to the bravery of the majority, and the least we could do in light of the sacrifices made for us in the past. Go ahead and belittle that bravery, for you were part of the assault on it.

Even more criticism has been heaped on the decision mechanism itself – the referendum. It’s claimed that this was the least effective way to approach the question. It was the most effective! This was not a sudden revolt by the public; this was a long-awaited chance to use real democratic power. General elections have consistently dodged this issue, so all people could do was vote for UKIP, and even those arrows fell in empty soil. But even David Cameron recognised this and took a chance on resolving the issue for good. Even Cameron, when asked directly, had to concede “It is never a bad thing to ask the people what they think.” Admittedly he had to say that because he’s been touting “democracy” all these years, but he was right. Now we face a situation where an unrepresentative number of MPs get to decide who becomes their leader. Still they cling to the mast rather than listening to those who elected them. If it ever gets to a party vote, the result will at least be democratic.

Democracy just makes sense. If you go out with a bunch of friends and three want to go to place A but four want to go to place B, do you go where the three want to go? No, you either respect the consensus and go to place B, or you go your separate ways. You certainly don’t let the three bully you into going to place A. This is the grown up thing to do. Why then should we let the EU bully us, or the government, or the media, or indeed, those who don’t even believe in democracy. There is a vast undemocratic superstate just across the Channel – knock yourself out while we still have freedom of movement. I’ve heard a lot about people making enquiries about moving to Australia (with its own democratic issues), but not so much about people wanting to move to Europe. On the other hand, if you believe in democracy, join us and contribute to it.

There are those who would now change their vote from Leave to Remain. This is not because the sky has fallen, but because they are still being assailed by the unbridled wrath of legions (seemingly) saying that the sky has in fact fallen. Who knows what they would vote now if this were not the case. They might even be celebrating – I don’t know. But we’ve also had a few glimpses, through the media quagmire, of people who voted to remain but now accept the result and even see the potential benefits. I suspect they are the tip of the iceberg. These are normal people whom, I suspect, cannot deny the discomfort of being ruled by a body over which they have no say, but who nonetheless voted for stability and certainty. That is their right and their votes were counted with equal importance among the others. However I am relieved that enough people foresaw that an arrangement such as this could only ever get worse. There would have undoubtedly come a day when we would need to call on our democratic power to overturn something else, something much more important than immigration, only to find that democracy was not there.

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