British politics seem to have traversed the line from its usual ridiculous nature to the obscenely nonsensical and downright embarrassing. Although not limited to exclusively, the sudden shift towards the crazy started (for me and this article at least) the morning following the Brexit referendum.
I remember walking to work that morning, my route taking me along the main pedestrianised high street in the city which I tentatively call home. I had been up late the evening before trying to catch the result of the public vote, but unsurprisingly gave up around 1am. The news was absorbed about 30 minutes prior to my walk and I was genuinely shocked.
The referendum was always going to be a closely-called affair, both sides arguing and lying in equal measure. But I always thought – or perhaps it was just hope disguised as anticipation – that it would fall in favour of remaining. The headline that morning left me feeling embarrassed to be British.
There are many, many valid arguments for Britain to leave the European Union, and equally so there are many for staying. It wasn’t necessarily the referendum that caused my embarrassment, perhaps more with the way in which the campaigns had been played out to those who would have to decide.
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. Sir Winston Churchill
Democracy is what it is though, and the votes had been cast.
What we all knew though, what every citizen deep down within themselves knew, that this was not going to be a straight forward bish, bash, bosh exercise.
Soon after, and realising she needed a stronger platform on which to deliver the goal of leaving the EU, the Prime Minister (who wasn’t actually voted in via a general election at this point) decided to do just that and call a general election. Mrs May’s plan being to gain more seats and therefore a greater power and ability to push through deals and legislation that will make the job easier.
It didn’t work. In fact, it made matters worse. Mrs May was forced to form a coalition government with another party. She was forced to hand over vast sums of money to keep them onside and they have added to the pressures of sorting out Brexit. While these pressures and issues would have been there regardless, the DUP now have more clout over the government. They suddenly found themselves with a big stick.
Brexit isn’t the doing of Mrs May. It was her predecessor who insisted on the referendum. It was her predecessor who started this march towards national obscurity. But in order to keep the 51.9% of the voting population happy, the march was started.
It isn’t working. It is a complete shambles.
Following the postponement of the initial vote in parliament on her deal to leave the EU, Mrs May said something along the lines of:
…failure to [leave the EU] would wreak catastrophic harm on people’s faith in the democratic process and their politicians. Theresa May
Although referendums aren’t written in stone as something that has to be carried out by the ruling government, it is something that is expected to be seen through. Otherwise, what is the point?
But so much has changed in the past couple of years. So much has come to the fore since we were posed the question. It is argued by many that this isn’t the Brexit they voted for. And to a large extent, they are right to say that.
For me though, it is Mrs May’s assertion that failing to follow through on Brexit would cause a break in trust between the people and the politicians and the political process.
As soon as those words entered my brain, my instinctive reaction was to say:
Trust between the general population and politicians was broken a long time ago.
By that, I do not mean it as a blanket statement. But from my own perspective, as an open and honest viewpoint, I do not trust politicians to lead this country effectively and to the wishes of the voting people.
Mrs May wants a “strong and stable” government. Yet one has to consider the amount of MPs who have resigned their positions in the past couple years.
Mrs May wants to do as the majority wish, to leave the EU. Yet she cannot even get her own staff to agree to the deal.
Mrs May wanted to improve her political strength by asking the people to vote for her. Yet ultimately, fewer voted for her and the Conservative party than for her predecessor. She ended up weaker.
We all knew Brexit would be a shambles. We all knew that this was going to end questionably at best.
As the end of March relentlessly comes into view, the state of British politics continues to veer off at a tangent into the murky obscurity of disbelief. While those asked to represent us and work for us squabble among themselves, the people who are left to deal with the aftermath – to live, work and enjoy life in this country – can only try to find a shred of trust in the political process to cling on to.
When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. Unknown
I fear though, it is too late.