That is what I am doing, according to Mrs May. By challenging the referendum result and seeking to overturn it. I have made it clear that I will never accept the referendum as being a legitimate outcome of a democratic process. That does not make me “undemocratic”. I am a person, I like to think, of principle.
In April 2016 it seems that Mrs May believed that it was “clearly in the national interest to remain a member of the European Union”. I believe that she was correct. My position on this has been consistent. More so, it seems, than hers.
It causes me anguish to be subjected to the front page of the Daily Mail as I went to get some lunch and to read that Mrs May now accuses me (and my like) of “subverting democracy”.
Malcolm Dean in his 2011 book “Democracy Under Attack: how the media distort policy and politics” sets out a background for a democratic process:-
“The first need in a democracy is the supply of unbiased and fairly set-out facts”.
There I stood, accused on the front page of the Daily Mail (by Mrs May) of subverting democracy. If that is a way to get us all “on board” then it is about as conciliatory as a slap in the face. A slap conveyed by a spiteful and duplicitous henchman.
No such admonition for the likes of Nigel Farage over the advert depicting streams of migrants. No telling-off for Boris Johnson and the occupants of the bus decorated in a £350m “mistake”. No criticism of the right-wing press for their rampant pre and post-referendum irresponsible populism and distortion of the facts about Turkish membership; a myriad of other deceits too.
A meeting for Mrs May, it seems, with Rupert Murdoch. Did they have tea? Did she offer him a biscuit?
I have been campaigning in my own way for decades about the unconscionable tabloid press in our country and the fact that the European Union faced a Herculean task in defending itself. As Dean says, the tabloid press are motivated by a “demand to create heat rather than light”.
Despite the task, nearly 50% of those who voted in the referendum voted to Remain and young voters appear to have been least likely to have their vision clouded by the bile of the press, looking at the Ipsos MORI poll of referendum voting distribution . There is a correlation between age and newspaper circulation, of course.
Mrs May, if you will listen; a democratic process which occurs today may be an undemocratic one tomorrow, the day or even the year after. If one makes the reasonable assumption that the population will shift by natural processes there will come a point at which the outcome fails to express the presently marginally majority view.
I suspect Mrs May has met Colin Powell in her time. The same man who said of leadership that it was of “solving problems” and noted that “the day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded that you do not care. Either case”, he concluded, “(was) a failure of leadership”.
So, Mrs May, when I seek to democratically protest about a decision which I think is fundamentally wrong and which I believe impacts adversely on my family (including my daughter who is 18 now but was ineligible to vote) how dare you suggest that I am subverting democracy. I look for leadership. A “genuine leader”, said Martin Luther-King, is a “molder of consensus”.
Mrs May, if you were not so adored by the Daily Mail and open for tea and biscuits with Mr Murdoch you might have stood a chance of becoming one. At the point at which your trusted henchman takes fire at me from the newspaper shelves in Waitrose the battle must go on and I feel rejuvenated.
Thank you for reading.