Experts may warn of the risks of no-deal. But they're no match for the hard Brexiteers' visions of British national greatnessby Thomas Maidment / December 5, 2018 / Leave a comment
There are few surviving phrases in the English language with the bombast and pestiferous capacity of “a people’s vote”. While the term is merely a populist synonym for a referendum, the charged egalitarian language behind “a people’s vote” can tempt and entice the politically disenchanted into action. It bestows on the average citizen the tools of revolt; replacing pitchforks and flaming torches with pencils and a streamlined, simplified proposition.
Herein lies the problem. Whatever the individual’s reasoning and rationale behind their vote, whether well-founded or not, every answer is equally weighted and reduced to the same state of ambiguity, the mark of a cross indicating a mere “yes” or “no.” As the Brexit referendum has demonstrated, a one-word answer will always remain somewhat detached from the rationale behind each vote. It is now the burden of the current government to deduce the popular motives and logical grounds from the obscure result.
As a result, a political battle has ensued in the United Kingdom about the meaning of a “real Brexit.” In the mind of Theresa May and her negotiators, the cornerstone of Brexit is the immigration issue. Despite what some may claim, it is not wholly unreasonable for them to have arrived at this conclusion. After all, the Brexit referendum would most likely never have occurred had it not been for the anti-immigration sentiment spurred on by the growing popularity of UKIP. Yet, despite the prime minister’s attempts to persuade MPs and the public that her deal extends beyond the issue of immigration—freeing the UK from the legal and legislative shackles of the EU—it is failing to correspond with the wider public’s Brexit vision.
While the prime minister’s deal is failing in this respect, it is worth noting that her approach is, in fact, more conservative than the reactionaries opposing her. One of the core tenants of the conservative philosophy is the belief that society must grow and develop organically; prioritising an “evolutionary” instead of “revolutionary” approach to government policy.
As most experts and politicians have highlighted, a no-deal Brexit would result in abrupt radical change with the consequences still relatively unknown. To any conservative, this approach should be too radical and potentially damaging to seriously contemplate. However, as it stands,…