I want the hardline Brextremists out. That's why I'm marching

Listening to the Brexit lot spitting bile on the TV, and claiming to represent the will of the people, you’re left wondering quite what happened to the open, tolerant, and basically decent country we thought we knew

James Moore
Saturday 20 October 2018 14:03
Final Say: 100,000 people expected to march in London to demand final vote on Brexit deal

So which Tory Brextremist is going to be the first to suggest sending a gun boat across the English Channel?

Hands up please. Oh for goodness sake, they’re speaking over each other again, banging their desks and doing that “hear hear” thing that makes them sound like a field full of cattle. How about we leave the room while they’re at it? A whisky or two would seem to be in order.

The face Britain has been presenting to the world of late is nasty, narrow minded, inward looking and small, with the news agenda dominated by the likes of bigoted Boris Johnson, jabbering Jacob Rees-Mogg, dunderheaded David Davis, and, um, Iain Duncan Smith, the hammer of the disabled. Anyone who has been through the Department for Work and Pension’s testing regime he set up will know what I’m talking about.

You’ll probably have heard the proverb about empty heads making the most noise. What does it say about that lot? Listening to them spitting bile on the TV, and claiming to represent the will of the people, you’re left wondering quite what happened to the open, tolerant, and, despite its warts, basically decent country we thought we knew.

I happen to believe that it still exists. The media, and shamefully the BBC in particular, has simply allowed it to slip from view.

The chief reason I’m marching is to send a message: It has not gone away. It is still there and it wants to be heard. It is made up of people from all over these islands, from all kinds of backgrounds, races, religions, and economic circumstances.

Some among those marching today will have voted Leave. Some voted Remain. What unites us all is that we want, and deserve, a final say on Britain’s relationship with Europe, and on the sort of country we want it to be.

It is unfortunate that it’s necessary to take to the streets and shout very loudly to make our dismal politicians hear us, but that is the situation and we must adapt to it.

Right now the Tory dog is being wagged by its crazy tail. Incredibly it has managed to do the same to the Labour dog too.

Jeremy Corbyn is still equivocating about the idea of putting power back in the hands of the people, where it belongs, despite the support of many unions.

They are rightly concerned about their members’ jobs with Britain teetering on the edge of a cliff. They worry about its world-class industries: car making and manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and more besides. They are right to worry. Because, yes, while we might do ourselves down from time to time, they really are world class. And if we do tip into a no-deal Brexit, they will be gone.

Isn’t looking out for the workers supposed to be what Labour’s all about?

It seems we have to send a message to Corbyn too. Sadly, he and too many other politicians are obsessed with narrow and short term political considerations. They only hear what they want to hear. They need to be made to listen.

The likes of Rees-Mogg, Johnson, Davis and Duncan Smith are rich men with copper-bottomed pensions that will ensure a comfortable old age. So they don’t face the same crisis.

But there’s a silver lining here. Democracy is all about do-overs. Embodied in this system are elections, the people’s right to change course if things aren’t working.

What we have now isn’t working. Does anyone really believe in the Brexit Theresa May’s government is pursuing? It’s a long way from the free wheelin’, free tradin' nirvana that was sold by the Leave campaign a couple of years back.

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Part of the exercise of a People’s Vote is, of course, accepting that some people want, and will vote for, something like the Brextremists’ half-arsed plan for some sort of Canada-style free trade deal, despite the myriad of problems with it.

And that’s fine. At least they’ll have a better idea of what they’re voting for this time. A people’s vote will give them their chance and I’m not prejudging the outcome.

But I rather think Rees-Mogg and his chums are. Their antipathy for the idea suggests that they don’t have much confidence that they’ll win. Just saying.

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