Naked Politics Blogger
It’s not easy being a brexiter.
Indeed, until now I have, for the second time in my life, been in the proverbial closet. When I was seventeen years old, I told my parents I was gay. They were wonderful, we cried and life carried on. Not since that day have I ever felt the need to hide who I am or lie about it. I have always – to coin an Americanism (keeping it global, Theresa) – stood in my own truth.
Until Brexit came along that is.
Then I re-discovered the tight squeeze of my old hiding place, the closet. Only this time, my deep-seated, natural longing, passion and persuasion wasn’t for men in rugby shorts. It was to live in a United Kingdom without the shackles of the European Union. My apparently sordid and shameful wish, dismayed and – in some cases -disgusted the majority of my peers. One de-friended me on Facebook. One told me they felt differently about me; disappointed even. A colleague I told (in secret) asked “How Could You?” Somebody cried down the phone on the day of the result to me seemingly in no doubt whatsoever that I would be equally desolate at the result.
As well as being called small minded, uneducated, racist, parochial and ‘disappointing’, I have also lived under the unyielding consensus that by voting Leave ‘I Got It Wrong’. The snobbery has been outrageous as has the reductive characterisation of the ‘old’, ‘thick’, ‘mistaken’, ‘prejudiced’ Leave Voters.
Again, this week, the spirit of that consensus seemed somewhat implicit when the government lost its case and the Supreme Court ruled that Parliament would get a say. It was upon hearing this news that I felt the need to swing open those closet doors, take the s*** that I knew would come my way and speak up. In truth, I am horrified by the court ruling.
On June 23rd last year, I got up, walked down my road into a draughty church hall and cast my vote in the second referendum of my lifetime (the first being 2011’s decision on whether to introduce the Alternative Vote).
Yes, I voted to reclaim sovereignty, but in doing so, I wasn’t aware that my vote effectively meant nothing. Indeed, it was nothing more than an opinion poll. If they want to, Parliament can vote to do the complete opposite. In the case of a referendum, this has been a mortifying reminder that our voice isn’t the final voice. Imagine if Remain had won and the Supreme Court ruled that a Brexit-minded Parliament would have the final say on what was best for the country, or whether it was right to trigger Article 50.
Yep, that’s how I feel. And is it any wonder? When several MP’s campaigned vigorously for the opposite of what their constituents voted for.
In Parliament today, the PM has U-Turned by offering a White Paper on her Brexit Plan. “But when are we likely to see it?” pleaded Corbyn. It reminds me of my nieces when it’s time for bed. It has to happen, but they will do anything, say anything to delay the event, no matter how many concessions you make during the process. Indeed Remain is now the disapproving Mother in Law to be – the day is booked, the cake’s being made, but my god, she wishes it wasn’t happening. She’s being difficult and the court case against the government were the pre-wedding nerves she was hoping for.
Despite the most the most shameful campaigning (from both sides) this country has ever witnessed and millions of taxpayers money spent on ‘Remain’ leaflets, fear-mongering and blatant lies, I voted to leave the European Union – to vote Remain would have felt like a betrayal of everything I believed and felt to be true.
I had watched every debate, read (what felt like) a thousand opinion pieces, scanned European press, and still nothing could remove the taste in my mouth. David Cameron had gone to Brussels to renegotiate terms with a nudge and a wink – regardless of what happened, we’d be staying in. The pitiful concessions he achieved were served up as a feast, when in fact it was just slim pickings.
The same man who had told his party to “stop banging on about Europe” had completely failed to translate the deep seated dismay with Brussels. This unbending institution failed to understand the concerns of so many of us, possibly because the man bringing them to the table didn’t understand them fully either. In a recent interview with Sky News, Theresa May revealed that, when she came became PM, plans had not been put in place in the eventuality of a Brexit. Perhaps this is why we were never told that this Parliamentary process would happen – because David Cameron didn’t think there would be a Leave result.
The abuse and nastiness Gina Miller has faced is appalling and vile. Indeed, had David Cameron’s government gone about things the right way, she would never have had to launch court proceedings in the first place; we would all have voted knowing that our vote wouldn’t be the last word – that, in the end Parliament decides.