The centre of London has recently seen two marches a week apart. Both have been related to the process of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union and both encapsulated this whole rotten episode.
I fear for the future of democracy in this country and therefore the civil fabric of our nation. Here is why, summed up in 5 reasons.
How can we trust the established, two main parties, with anything, after breaking their word to uphold the 2016 referendum?
Not only did the Leave side win the referendum, in 2017 a snap General Election was called and the manifestos of the two main parties stood on following up and respecting the 2016 referendum. This has been ignored and the manifestos trashed. There is open rebellion within the Conservatives with ministers not towing the Government line, actions normally associated with being sacked, going unpunished.
Parliament, as all commentators acknowledge, are a Remain leaning institution with the with about an 80% bias. This has led to a disconnect with voters within the UK as the process through Parliament has been stymied and indeed hijacked so that remaining in the EU, in some form, is the most likely outcome as I write this.
A mixture of Government incompetence and an unedifying obsession of “we know best” that pervades this institution feeds the narrative that the will of the people is being ignored.
Frustration within society has been building for some time. A sense of Westminster “elitism” disconnecting the very people elected to serve their constituents coupled with an now unveiled arrogance and dismissive nature of voters rights.
This whole scenario breeds disillusionment and festers extreme views from both the far right and far left to take hold of the narrative.
Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister, to make matters worse has taken a stance ensuring that she no longer listens to anyone least of all the electorate. No. 10 believes strongly that the population have simple had enough of Brexit. They are right, but the way it drowns out other public processes ensures they look remote and at time downright bizarre.
Main Stream Media
As with Parliament, Media in the UK is heavily biased towards Remain.
However, the British public have now caught on to this fact and journalists are now finding it hard to convince their audience of impartiality or indeed in a belief that any truth is being broadcast.
Distrust is so rife, especially with the big two news outlets, Sky and BBC, some citizens are refusing to pay for the TV License and a Sky subscription.
Ultimately if we cannot trust the media how can politicians, or anyone for that matter, get their message out?
Long established rules within the House of Commons have been manipulated or even ignored during the Brexit debates – most notably by the Speaker of the House, John Bercow, another Remain leaning MP.
Through this he has consistently chosen debate topics which centered on Remain bias subjects, his real agenda came to light when he refused to let the Government to re-present the Withdrawal Agreement unless substantial changes were made. Unprecedented. A bit like this whole process.
Leavers look upon this is a direct attack on the outcome of the Referendum thereby invalidating their vote and by association their voice in the country’s decision-making process.
The EU Machine
Stretching back to February 2016 when David Cameron, then Prime Minister, went to the EU to negotiate on our membership known as the EU Reform Bill.
Cameron came back with virtually nothing increasing the public’s perception of an “elitist” and unelected dictatorial organisation. Certainly one of the factors in the remain loss at the referendum.
However, since the referendum, you cannot argue with the fact that the might of the EU has eclipsed the UK in the negotiations. They have been cleverer, more united and unflinching in their red lines. We have learnt much about our Parliament over the last three years, and how much we need to learn.
So what next?
My fear is the break up of the UK. Scotland has a sound case to push for a second independent referendum based on the fact that it voted overwhelmingly to remain. Who can blame them really? The pathetic, unedifying sight of Westminster would make anyone think twice about being governed by them.
I also have a fear the civil disobedience that will follow any outcome. Somehow, someone, needs to bring the country back together. Looks an impossible job right now.