What a mad March it has been. I don’t like to get too involved into politics on here (largely because I would prefer to reminisce to a time when the phrase ‘Brexit’ wasn’t even coined up), but I felt compelled to weigh in given the recent risings against the decision to leave the European Union that have occurred in the UK.
May is now gearing up to drive this withdrawal agreement home for a third time lucky. Public opinion of her has never been lower and there are rumblings of a coup primed and ready to dismantle her leadership and effectively end her political career. Some predict that MPs will support her deal rather than prepare to face a prolonged cat-and-mouse struggle that could end up maintaining a close relationship with the EU after all this kerfuffle. This last proposal will have to be a Hail Mary. But, of course, it won’t be. It’s hardly a shock that the second proposal of her deal was shut down in spectacular fashion given that it was substantially unchanged from the last one. Despite flying out to Brussels in search of more concessions, Jean-Claude Juncker and the rest of the European candy shop will inevitably say to her that Britain is not going to get any more gumballs or butter toffees, no matter how many times it asks with a sanguine grin full of cavities. There is even talk that her third proposal might not even take place given the insufficient support for it, and to make matters worse for Theresa, the timelines that we were promised have been corrupted. We were supposed to leave the EU on the 29th of March, but that’s definitely not happening. If her Hail Mary pays off, that date will be pushed back to the 22nd of May in order to accommodate the relevant legislation. If it doesn’t, Parliament will have to consider alternative solutions and if we decide that we need an even longer delay, we’ll have to resort to taking part in the European Parliament elections in May in order to renegotiate.
It’s been a shambles, and so it’s not been a surprise to see the momentum that the anti-Brexit movement has gained. The petition to revoke Article 50 has hit over five million signatures at the time of writing, making it the largest ever petition on the Parliament website. And whilst that was going on, hundreds of thousands of people marched through central London rallying for a second referendum. This was the biggest march since the protests against the Iraq War in 2003, and so clearly, the people are speaking loudly and with palpable concern.
But it’s not all the people, and I think that’s worth bearing in mind. Despite the numerous failings in both the preparation and execution of the Brexit negotiations, consisting of false premises and a sorry carousel of Brexit secretaries, the five million supporting the petition and the million campaigning on the streets does not usurp the 17-odd million people that voted to leave the European Union. Yes, referendums are not legally binding and are a simply tool to gather a feel of public opinion, which may change over time. Yes, we were woefully ill-equipped to deal with the unravelling of over seventy years of close ties with the European Union. Yes, no one can even define what ‘Brexit’ even means or ought to be in a way that is succinct or coherent. But we should not alienate or dismiss Leave voters because of the systematic failings of those in the political machine. The blame lies within Westminster.
The everyday person who voted to leave back in 2016 did not want this mess, let alone want to play a part in creating it. Many people voted to leave the EU for a host of reasons: its undemocratic nature, a desire for reclaiming national sovereignty, or for immigration reasons that may have been misleading or borderline xenophobic. Which ever way you look at it, I believe that instead of pushing forward rhetoric that to remain was the right choice to begin with and that now the public as a whole want to leave, we should be up in arms against the politicians. They have failed Remainers and Leavers equally, and it’s important to direct our frustrations at those who have actually unsettled us. Despite disagreements and political differences between both sides of the referendum, we all share one glaring commonality – we have been failed by those elected to serve our best interests.
There’s a feeling that Britain has become a laughing stock to Europe and nations far and wide. In attempting to flex our authority and take back control, we have showed the world that our country has been spiralling out of it for years underneath the surface. Brexit has not solved our problems, but it has certainly exposed them. The way our government, institutions and politicians operate is simply not fit for purpose, and the people should look to be marching for that when voicing their dissent, to which they are more than entitled to.