Brexit is not ‘democracy’ when Theresa May can pick and choose

Shell-game on NHS and 'points system' must give way to answers


When debating the EU referendum result, Leave voters will often defend the process – one of big lies and bigger promises – as an exercise in democracy.

But as the Prime Minister appears to edge away from key pledges made by the Leave campaign on the NHS and migration, this becomes a less and less tenable position.

Headed for the G20 summit in China, Theresa May seemed to say the ‘Australian points-based system’ promised by half her cabinet ministers during the referendum – not least Boris Johnson, now foreign secretary – might not work, adding that there was no ‘single silver bullet’ to the problem of immigration, (one she apparently imagines as a metaphorical werewolf).

The Prime Minister has also refused to affirm any of the Leaver’s pledges on extra funding for the NHS or cuts to VAT on energy bills.

Since the referendum allowed the official campaigns (and sometimes Nigel Farage, the unofficial Leave spokesman) to define what Leave and Remain actually meant, (one of many flaws in its ‘democratic’ nature), it could be argued that people who voted Leave did so expecting these promises to be kept.

Farage himself was early out of the gate in saying so following May’s remarks.

All the more reason for voters on either side to question the ‘democracy’ in having a Prime Minister without a public mandate keeping our country’s future a mystery, and acting the Cheshire Cat whenever asked what she plans to do.

It’s really not good enough to simply repeat ‘Brexit means Brexit’ like a parrot and expect people to believe this tells us anything. Though it might sound decisive, it’s really a sign of insecurity – a pro-Remain PM seeking to reassure her party and a restless electorate.

May is enjoying a honeymoon with the press, public and her party, but there’s nothing stateswomen-like about uttering nonsense like this while refusing to answer straight questions.

We need to know if the government is seeking the Brexit of Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox, (as their appointments to her Brexit talks team would suggest), or whether the PM has something else in mind, and if so, what?

It’s bad enough having all of this decided over our heads, but the lack of transparency makes a mockery of this being an exercise in people power.

And as with the status of EU migrants in Britain, these clear-as-mud positions have an real impact on people’s lives.

Theresa May might believe another Brexit is possible, but if so she ought to tell us what it looks like, and people should demand to know what ‘Brexit means Brexit’ actually means.

Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13 

See: Ten things we should do to avoid the mistakes of the EU referendum

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4 Responses to “Brexit is not ‘democracy’ when Theresa May can pick and choose”

  1. CR

    The decision of the people was Brexit by a majority of 1.25 million votes on a 72% turnout.

    Now that is real democracy !!!

  2. Anon

    Let me be the first to congratulate Adam Barnett on his conversion to ‘democracy’.

    Where was his article on the Labour party inflicting an un-mandated European Constitution upon the UK people in the form of the Lisbon Treaty?

    Now, of course, Mr Barnett would like us to return to those days – complete with the EU mandarins, and associated onside NGOs, undermining the democratic institutions of the UK.

    If Mr Barnett wants to talk the democratic talk, he should learn to walk the full democratic walk.

  3. James Kemp

    No it’s not! If all the campaign from leave was based on mistruths like the NHS pledge and limiting imagration? So what’s democricy if it’s a pack of whoppers from the leave side that then won so what happen since then?

    Oh all the leaders all run off as they diden’t have a clue what to do with it or how to achieve what they promised …

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