lupestripe: (Default)
[personal profile] lupestripe
The triggering of Article 50 earlier today has certainly been a cause of much sadness, but it has been a sadness tinged with defiance.

Even though it may feel like the end, it is actually the beginning of a complicated two year period in which everything will still be in play. During this time, I think the realities of a hard Brexit will become increasingly apparent, smashing through the bullish rhetoric and misplaced utopia of the Brexiteers. And as this happens, minds may be changed, suggesting that the war is far from over.

I accept the referendum result and I accept it is likely the UK will leave the EU, but there is nothing inevitable about this, particularly as Article 50 is likely to be revokable. With the margin so narrow and with no mandate for a hard Brexit, this means Remainers from all political hues must come together. We need to persude soft Leavers to reconsider while holding the Brexiteers to account for all the promises they have made. By doing these things in tandem, ruthlessly and relentlessly, I believe it is possible to change the national mood and get enough people to change their minds, forcing Parliament to act.

This is why I have joined local campaiging groups as well as written to MPs and MEPs, and I urge every pro-European to do the same. Yes there are powerful vested interests, particularly in the press, and yes we are likely to be written off as "unpatriotic" and "undemocratic", but some of the most patriotic people I know voted Remain and I strongly believe there is no greater patriotism than preventing your country from making a terrible mistake.

Democracy is a multi-faceted construct, and the ballot box forms just one part of it. Democracy is also the freedom to lobby elected officials and to protest peacefully against something you don't believe is right. And so by doing these things, you are not denying democracy, you are actually participating in it, strengthening the foundations upon which our society is built.

I proudly stood outside Leeds Town Hall earlier, just as I proudly marched to Westminster on Saturday. Many of us were participating in politics for the very first time and were united in a common cause. This helped my mood and has only made me more determined, particularly as the reception we received was largely positive (you are always going to get the occasional gobby idiot though).

Over the last month or so, time and again Theresa May has called for unity without offering any sign of even attempting to understand the fears of Remainers. As a consequence, she will get no unity from me, not until such time that her and her cabinet will address and assauge my legitimate concerns.

So I say, on this dark day for so many of us, that we CAN make a difference and we WILL make a difference, but only if we fight. Because a democracy ceases to be a democracy if it loses the right to change its mind and this is the battle we now face leading up to 2019.

June 2017

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