The Will of the People

If you dare ask a question about the cost of Brexit, what options are available or, like Gina Miller, about the proper procedures, the riposte parroted by Brexiteers is that you are defying “The Will of the People”.

Yet it is the very same Brexiteers who so vehemently oppose the idea of testing the people’s will when there is an actual deal on the table, in about eighteen months time.

Brexiteers only wanted to test it when it was on the general idea, not on the specifics.

They are actually terrified of giving people a chance to reconsider.

No matter if Brexit turns out to be completely different from the promises they made. No matter if it turns out to be highly costly. No matter if it severely damages our economy. The people have spoken, and must not be allowed to speak again!

Such nonsense must be resisted. As even David Davis said “If a democracy can’t change its mind it ceases to be a democracy”.

The Trade Descriptions act years ago brought in the principle that if you were sold something under false pretences, you had a right to change your mind. Brexit was certainly sold under false pretences.

There has since been furious backtracking on the Leave campaign’s more specific promises. Now that it is becoming increasingly clear that Brexit will actually cost money, not save it, Brexiteers bleat that “nobody really believed the £350 million for the NHS on the side of the bus”. Yet a MORI poll at the time said that nearly half the population believed it.

Prominent Leave campaigners also offered conflicting versions of what Brexit would look like. Some said we should leave the single market, while others reassured us we’d stay in it. And, like Schrodinger’s cat, that we could be both in and out of the customs union, and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Theresa May, after seven months of obfuscation, has finally had to start admitting that the reality is far more complicated than the infamous and meaningless “Brexit means Brexit.”

From today, parliament, the government and the negotiators are going have to face some very difficult choices which will require them to be very specific indeed. The Brexit box is about to be opened and inside it is likely to be a very smelly dead cat.

When the full details and consequences become clear, the people should have the right to confirm or change their minds.

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