It’s a common refrain of Brexiteers that we should all ‘respect’ the result of the referendum. But they do not seem to be following their own advice. Whenever an event occurs that is a direct result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, Brexit politicians and pundits become indignant and launch into howls of protest.
It seems hugely disrespectful — some might even call it undemocratic or unpatriotic — to shout down the natural consequences of what the British people voted for on June 23rd last year. While I understand and share the disappointment of remainers, who wanted none of this, the Brexiteers should be jubilant. This is exactly what they campaigned for and they should celebrate every victory:
- The removal from London of European quangos such as the EBA and EMA.
- Withdrawal from the Brussels-run European Capital of Culture programme.
- The rapid opening up of domestic job opportunities in industries such as agriculture, healthcare and scientific research.
- A huge expansion of British bureaucracy to supervise and police our borders and our trading rules.
- The prospect of free-trade deals that offer cheaper, less regulated food and drugs, an erosion of workers’ rights and increased migration from beyond Europe.
- And much, much more. Feel free to add your own.
Every time a Brexiteer complains about any of the repercussions of the UK leaving the EU, they are showing a complete lack of respect for the referendum result. Instead of rejecting the settled will of the people, they should be explaining to the rest of us why all of this is such a good thing for the country. I for one would be grateful to learn.
Why is it, now that the consequences of the referendum decision are becoming concrete, suddenly none of the Brexiteers want to own them?
Why don’t you respect the result?
For the past year-and-a-half, remainers have been mercilessly harried with the question, “Why don’t you respect the referendum result?” Now it’s time to ask exactly the same question of all those politicians and pundits who want us to leave.
Every time they pop up in the media to protest against the consequences of Brexit, the likes of Andrew Neil, John Humphrys and Andrew Marr should mercilessly press them on the very same question they’ve put to remainers. It’s time to challenge their backsliding. “The people voted to leave. This is the consequence. Why don’t you respect their decision?”
Perhaps then we’ll discover that the will of the people is nowhere near as clear-cut and settled as they’ve been making out all along. It will become self-evident that ‘respecting the result of the referendum’ has always been as empty and meaningless a phrase as ‘Brexit means Brexit’ — because until you spell out the actual consequences, everyone is free to interpret it in a thousand different and imprecise ways.
And finally we’ll realize that there’s a lot more common ground between what the 52% and the 48% actually want than the divisive cheerleaders of Brexit have been telling us all along.