What are the Brexit Plans?
We’re constantly reminded that we live in a democracy. We’re always being told that “Brexit” is the “will of the people.” That’s why no matter how close the vote was, we must go forth with the Brexit plans.
But what are they?
The BBC televised a 90-minute question time yesterday all about Brexit. I lasted 10 minutes. It’s not that I am disinterested or that I don’t feel it is relevant – far from it – I am just tired of hearing politicians dodging answering simple questions. How can we claim to live in a democracy if the people that we elect to represent us take liberties with such responsibility and do everything behind closed doors? How can I be even slightly confident about the way the government will handle the Brexit Plans if I know absolutely nothing about them?
More importantly, the way the Tories trample all over the disabled and the low-income families; refuse to reassure millions of our hard-working fellow EU residents; and all but torture sick people back into work; “trust” is a rare commodity in UK politics at the moment.
Fingers, Pies and too many Lies
Don’t get me wrong, as a writer I am all too aware of the problems of trying to write-by-committee. Even though I have done a lot of collective work in my career, and collaborated with many people, the idea that everyone can have their grubby fingers in the same pie at the same time is just not practical. Not to mention unhygienic. The problem is when the pie is supposed to feed the whole table, and only half the table wanted beef when the other half wanted chicken, and no-one knows what the recipe is, the dinner party is bound for disaster.
Or at least some uncomfortable silences.
I know we can’t be told all the Brexit plans in detail, but if this really is supposed to be a democracy why can we not be kept updated on the process? Why not say: “we’re trying to decide between routes A, B, and C”? No, we cannot have a referendum on each point, but we should be able to press our MP to represent our views in the house of commons. After all, if we are to be afforded the ludicrous responsibility of making a decision about staying in or leaving the EU – without being fully informed of our options – we should be demanding to be involved in some level of the democratic process.
Just making the 50/50 choice should not be good enough. If our Prime Minister is going refuse to listen to any advice, guidance, adjustments and so on from the House of Lords, I want to know what alternative she has which she believes is better than that. Yes, it was published in the Brexit Bill – but I don’t want it dressed in Westminster Jargon and hyperbole: I want it set out in pure, simple, plain English that everyone can understand.
I want our young people to be fully informed of how the decision was reached, and how decisions were made, and why they were made, since it is their futures we are shaping with our coin-flip referendum. But gathering together a bunch of self-interested politicians who do nothing but shout over each other in unimaginably large sums of money – when most of us still get excited when we find a pound coin down the side of the sofa – doesn’t help.
The Tories claim they have been working on the Brexit plans for some 9 months now and in truth, we don’t know anything about it. We can’t know what the final deals would be as it will take two years to get through anyway. But let us not forget something absolutely crucial: we are not mindless drones.
Not in the Commons, but not all “common”
A great many of us are far more intelligent, experienced and qualified than those who sit in the Commons and various other meetings fumbling around with our future. So if we truly live in a democracy, and if we truly want to shout loud and proud about that fact, then it is about time we started forcing our elected representatives to be accountable to us. Not once every five years; or in the occasional local election; or in the rare referendum; but on a more regular basis.
The Brexit Plans are our business, and should not be treated as top secret, privileged information in the hands of a tiny minority of people who over 70% of us did not choose to be our representative. So if they are to truly represent us they need to represent us as an intelligent population and not just a bunch of ‘have-a-go’ activists who paint banners after the fact.
People who need to keep secrets often tell too many lies. We should have learnt that from the Blair days. So we should keep accepting it over the Brexit plans.