Written by David Huw Ricketts
How as a nation can we define Brexit? Or in the words of Danny Dyer: ‘What is it? It’s like a riddle’. A riddle that Theresa May’s government has been trying to figure out for two years culminating in what can only be described as the Chequers debacle.
Finally, we had an answer or at least half an answer to what May’s Brexit entailed. Better late than never I suppose. But only for it then to be blown out of the water by two senior cabinet ministers Boris Johnson and David Davis resigning less than 24 hours apart. As a Labour supporter, it would now be easy to write another 500 words scoring cheap shots against the Conservatives.
“As a Labour supporter, it would now be easy to write another 500 words scoring cheap shots against the Conservatives.”
However, that is not what I am going to do it’s too easy and- to an extent- self-indulgent. In many respects, the Conservative government and recent events reflect the mood of the general public. No one knows what’s going on, so both sides- Leave and Remain- throw the same accusations at each other, over and over again. With the misplaced hope that the other side shall simply capitulate.
If this cyclical debate is not resolved it will continue to blight British politics, risking a political stalemate that reinforces the political self-harm being played out by key players in the Leave and Remain campaigns.
It is here where I think the current situation in the Government can be used to crudely show each camp both so entrenched in their own superiority that something has to give. I am not advocating people get behind the Chequers plan, far from it.
Whilst I feel the cabinets’ current precarious situation reflects the polemical positions within the public debate. Theresa May is so far from the pulse of the public mood, that she is incapable of delivering coherent answers to simple questions, let alone answering the riddle of Brexit.
What I am trying to say is that the general public needs to change the way we participate in politics especially when it comes to Brexit. We need to demand that politicians from all sides don’t just tell us what they think we want to hear, but what they think is the best course of action.
“We need to demand that politicians from all sides don’t just tell us what they think we want to hear, but what they think is the best course of action.”
If the past weekend at Chequers represents anything, it is that the current government were too scared to have the Brexit debate for two years. Which resulted in one side blindsiding the other and the total mess we now find ourselves in.
You only have to look at the behaviour of both Remain and Leave activists to see that neither side is listening to the other. Both hurling diatribes of abuse at each other much like the sequence of resignation letters and subsequent Downing Street rebuttals over the last few days.
“…neither side is listening to the other. Both hurling diatribes of abuse at each other much like the sequence of resignation letters and subsequent Downing Street rebuttals”
The only way the battleground for this debate can be created is through a general election. Not a People’s Vote as suggested by Vince Cable in the House of Commons this week. This was resoundingly defeated.
In fact, it is the only bill in relation to Brexit that has united parliament in the past few years in fact. Those advocating this approach need to realise that it only furthers the entrenchment of each side. It will reignite the same pointless debates which generate a multitude of abuse and ignorance from all political alignments.
“[A People’s Vote] will reignite the same pointless debates which generate a multitude of abuse and ignorance from all political alignments.”
If Chequers and the past two years have taught us anything it is that Brexit cannot be defined in binary questions. So to ask for a re-run shows a lack of foresight very similar to that of Theresa May.
“That’s why a general election is the only political tool which can help mend the Brexit divide in British politics.”
Like or loathe parliamentary democracy it is our current system. As such our political parties must present us with their vision or even better policy for Brexit – not just a simple yes or no question which fuels the fire of the Brexit riddle. In other words, our political establishment broke it.
So it’s time for all of them to put their money where their mouth is, and give all of us the opportunity to pick which parties vision of Brexit best represents our own.