Why Theresa May should not be lecturing us about a second referendum
TruePublica Editor: Advocating a second referendum or not in this article is not the point – highlighting the political hypocrisy of our current Prime Minister is.
Prime Minister Theresa May writes in the Telegraph that – “Neither will I give in to those who want to re-open the whole question with a second referendum. In the Summer of 2016, millions came out to have their say. In many cases for the first time in decades, they trusted that their vote would count; that after years of feeling ignored by politics, their voices would be heard. To ask the question all over again would be a gross betrayal of our democracy – and a betrayal of that trust.”
“This government will fulfil the democratic decision of the British people,” she wrote. “Too often in the Westminster bubble, people forget that for many working people in Britain, life is hard. But I want people to know they can count on this government to act on their side.” (Let’s forget the devastating effect of austerity and never-ending Tory U-turns on this subject for another time).
The Prime Minister type of went off topic then about issues not directly related to Brexit or the referendum such as the energy price cap, the housing crisis, etc but ended with the words: “In all these ways and many more, if we stay the course in the months ahead we can build a bold and exciting future for our country outside the European Union. You can trust me to do so.”
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Yes – ‘you can trust me’ – she says.
As for the gross betrayal of our democracy, there are some points here worth mentioning.
The fact that all politicians in Britain, including the PM, are democratically elected and then arguing that a second referendum is somehow a gross betrayal of democracy is an irony seemingly lost on our Prime Minister.
This is especially so given that Theresa May has demonstrated in no uncertain terms her view about democracy. Let’s take the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. It is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that received Royal Assent on 15 September 2011, introducing fixed-term elections to the Westminster parliament for the first time.
On 7th May 2015, David Cameron successfully took the Tories back to No10 Downing Street. The next election was not due under the fixed term parliament Act until May 2020. Just over two years later Theresa May decided to hold a snap election. So holding another election for self-serving political purposes, even though there is an Act preventing it is good enough, but not for purely democratic reasons i.e. the will of the people.
Talking of the will of the people. Recent polls have fully shown that as a direct result of the lies and propaganda during the EU referendum, the general public would now vote in favour of staying in the EU if given the opportunity. The will of the people through representative democracy is hardly being accounted for if public opinion has changed and they are denied that opportunity – especially as Theresa May’s own constituency have changed their minds from leaving the EU to remaining in a recent poll. The same goes for a number of notable Leavers – including that of Boris Johnson’s constituency.
James Felton said the same – he just put it a slightly different way:
As for democracy itself, no-one voted for the complete farce the Brexit negotiations have turned out to be. Politicians like Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg assured everyone that trade deals would be easy to sign up, that the EU would capitulate and that all would be rosy in a post-Brexit world. All of that turned out to be false. No-one was informed that the entire population might have to brace themselves for an environment akin to post-war rationing and that Britain’s economy would be hit harder than the decade-long ‘great recession’ just endured. Mogg has even stated recently that it would take 50 years to see how leaving the EU turned out. He’s probably right – it’s just that he didn’t say that a couple of years back.
No-one told the electorate that hundreds of millions in so-called ‘dark money’ was being spent on military ‘hearts and minds’ strategies to ‘nudge’ people into voting in a particular way or that others were being encouraged not to vote at all. No-one knew that Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, Aggregate IQ and other tech companies had abused the private data of millions. In one campaign, 1.4 billion ads were illegally targeted at just 700,000 swing voters. No-one knew that dozens of Think Tanks funded by American corporations publishing thousands of pro-Brexit articles littering the mainstream media and internet pages were in fact little more than sophisticated propaganda factories spewing out lies. No-one told the electorate that the opinion pollsters were deceiving everyone for financial gain by assuring the public that leaving the EU was simply not going to happen.
If anything, how is this EU referendum, one driven by foreign corporations and billionaires, one that used highly deceptive strategies and illegal tactics, one that broke electoral laws and spending limits, not somehow a ‘gross betrayal of our democracy.’
And as for gross betrayals of democracy, one should not forget what drives Theresa May when it comes to democratic principles. The British people were not informed about the gross invasions of their privacy, the illegality of the actions of the security services and mass culling of civil liberty – until a whistleblower called Edward Snowden turned up in 2013.
We should not forget that gross betrayals of our democracy include the crushing of the peoples right to protest and many other recent pieces of legislation with fancy names like the Transparency of Lobbying Act – that had nothing to do with transparency. Theresa May personally managed the passing of unprecedented powers to the state, its agencies and the police – these are ‘gross betrayals of democracy’ and demonstrates little more than a political neurosis driven by a fear of the citizenry.
The nation does not need lecturing by politicians on gross betrayals of democracy. The Sunday Times wrote an article recently about why parliament is in dire need of reform. Its first paragraph started with the words – “Opinion polls suggest that most British people view their political class as lying, self-seeking, money–grubbing, libidinous time-servers. Some of us would not mind if the above was true, if only we could be governed a trifle more efficiently.”
As I’ve said many times before – if 80 per cent of people do not trust politicians – why would they buy into their vision of the future.
The future for Britain is being decided, as The Times says, by people who are lying, self-seeking, unscrupulous money-grubbers. Theresa May’s latest pre-written speech does nothing to assure us that democracy is being protected by this government.