Something very disturbing happened in Britain in 2016. The referendum seems to have become a catalyst for a change in the climate of debate and media discourse so now statements are allowed which never would have been aired before. The country is divided, families and groups of friends split, due to accusations and abuse.
Whilst many of those who voted to leave in 2016 are strong supporters of a People's Vote, many Brexiteers are fuelled by the cynical forces advocating a departure from the secure and tolerant society that the EU represents. Forces that want to remove laws protecting the environment, workers’ rights and equal opportunities. Many of these forces want to see Europe, but this will also cause Britain to decline.
Unfortunately, the Government is playing into the hands of these forces by – as they put it – “delivering the will of the people”. The fact, of course, is that nobody would vote to be less prosperous and lose control of their legal rights and freedoms. Some of us are vocalising this point and campaigning for a People's Vote. We don’t want to be called traitors, mutineers or enemies of the people. We certainly don’t want death threats on social media. Just think about it – if the only way to win an argument is by abuse and bullying, there is probably not a lot of substance to the facts. Do we really want a small group to dominate the debate and cry so loud that our MPs think this is the will of the people?
It is uncomfortable to argue against the loud mouthed few and it doesn’t come naturally to most of us to engage in campaign activities. But if we want to have a chance to say whether we are happy with how Brexit is going, we need to act. We need to stand up to the cynics wherever they appear. We need contact our MPs and tell them how important it is for us to stay in the EU. We have to ask them to support a People’s Vote in Parliament. It’s not difficult, here are some tips on how to do it.
It's not just the hopeless politicians, devious newspaper editors and cynical Brexiteer billionaires who are responsible for the Brexit disaster. It's us, the people who don’t contradict them, all those who choose to look the other way, all of us carry the heavy burden of responsibility. Doing nothing is also a political decision
Helen is a member of European Movement and the branch chair for European Movement Wandsworth.