So it has now been one year since the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU and the good people of the UK voted to leave. Truly a momentous moment and a shiny beacon of British democracy, action was taken by the people to bring back power into their hands so they can shape their own destiny.
Well not really. In the aftermath of the referendum it became clear and was admitted by prominent people of the Leave campaign, that they had indeed lied. The first thing to be unearthed was the £350 million a day to the NHS promise, Farage himself the very next day said this wasn’t going to happen. Then there was the admission that some of the claims, such as the economic worth of migrants, were distorted and not entirely true.
To be polite about it, it was a farce. David Cameron resigns as a result and Theresa May ascends to the throne in 10 Downing Street (much to the annoyance of Boris Johnson who got stabbed in the back by Michael Gove).
The next Act in the play that is Brexit was the initiation of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the process in which Brexit begins. The Government claimed it could be initiated by Executive Order and by-pass Parliament, this was challenged at the High Court and it was ruled Parliament needed to consent. The Government then challenged this ruling and it was taken to the Supreme Court. Predictably the Supreme Court ruled with the High Court and decreed that an Act of Parliament was needed and Parliament alone had the power to initiate such articles.
It actually took about 2 months between the Supreme Court’s ruling and Parliament passing Article 50. In the time proceeding this Theresa May flipped flopped on her decision not to call a General Election and decided to do so. She felt that because everyone wasn’t agreeing with her and she couldn’t control them she needed to let the public vote. End result, Tories lose their majority, Labour do vastly better than expected, Theresa May looks very sheepish.
The past year of British politics has been a whirlwind of delusion, stupidity and general idiocy. The Tories and especially Theresa May, have lost all credibility and respect and really are not in a decent position to carry on governing. I suppose I can give them credit for consistency; they are the ones who started this mess and they are the ones carrying on making more mess.
Even with the beacon of hope in the distance that is Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, the fact remains that constitutionally them forming a government would present a lot of problems and a minority Labour Government would find passing Bills very difficult.
So back to my overall query of this piece, has democracy been enhanced in the UK in the past year? I would say no. While there have been elections that would otherwise not have taken place, democracy is so much more than simply the frequency of elections.
The sheer deep divisions between some areas of society that have arisen due to this referendum and General Election is truly astounding. If things do not get managed properly, not only will we have the younger generation against the older, the poorer against the rich, we’ll start having Scotland against England and with the DUP entering talks with the Tories, would could get the rest of the UK against Northern Ireland.
The nasty and deceitful message of the Leave campaign has truly damaged this country to extents that may yet be fully understood. They conducted it in such a way that their objective was purely for their own self-interest and had no regard for what would benefit the nation. Coupled with the awfully run campaign and ridiculous message of the Tories in the General Election, British politics has been kicked into gutter.
Jeremy, please come and throw us into the sunshine.