‘This government was not going to hang around’ and ‘that we would not wait until Brexit day, October 31st, to deliver on the priorities of the British people,’ declared Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on 2nd September over the chants of Westminster protesters. Now nearing a general election on 12th December, with the Brexit deadline in a constant state of postponement, is it wise to take our parliamentary representatives’ words with a pinch of salt, an ounce, or a kilo?
Among the many possible eventualities which could determine the course of Brexit based upon the general election result, the three most probable outcomes are shrouded with delay and uncertainty. For if the Conservatives win a majority, Johnson claims he will back Brexit and ‘get it done’ before 31st January 2020, though this would not necessarily entail a Conservative majority, but a leave majority. If Labour wins the election, Jeremy Corbyn will call for further delay beyond 31st January, promising six months of negotiating the withdrawal agreement again, then putting a referendum back to the people. In the event that the Liberal Democrats win, though this is unlikely, Brexit would be scrapped in true ‘Bullocks to Brexit’ fashion.
Speaking to protesters outside Westminster, many were infuriated and felt cheated by the government and their handling of Brexit. ‘Some may call it a national crisis, what are your views on the uncertainty [surrounding Brexit], is it worrying for the nation?’
‘Well, there’s a very simple way to stop the uncertainty and that’s to revoke article 50,’ claimed Ruth from Canterbury. ‘Why should we respect the result [2016 EU referendum]? You know, which bit should we respect? The inequalities? the lying? the cheating? the foreign money? the Cambridge Analytica adverts? What is there to respect? There is nothing democratic about it at all.’
On Brexit, Sam from South London put his foot down saying that, ‘there are enough people on the leave side — I’d say at least 1.2 million; for them, a no-deal Brexit would be the line that is crossed, therefore as a Democrat I think that if it’s a no-deal that we’re getting we need to either stop that [gestures to protests outside Parliament] by letting Parliament do their job or have a second referendum between remain and no-deal because I think that’s what a democratic mandate would say we needed.’
When questioned which party he would vote for in the general election Sam responded, ‘if Rory Stewart had won the Conservative leadership debate I would be voting for the Conservatives and not Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour government.’ He then affirmed that because Johnson leads the party he will vote for the Liberal Democrats.
At what point will the Commons put their ideological differences aside and act in the national interest? Something of a positional issue has now turned into a national crisis and if the tensions facing Parliament were not bad enough, the delay has brought about further grid-lock, throwing days away like pennies down a wishing well. Brexit remains a lingering dread on people’s minds and whether you are remain or leave, the delay brings many people to the same judgement; Brexit must be dealt with now.
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