Whether rightly or wrongly, the government gave the people the choice whether to stay in the EU or leave. Cameron said that he would initiate Article 50 immediately upon a vote in favour of Leave. The people who voted Leave did so in the expectation of immediate action. Having given that people that choice, it is wrong to now renege on that deal for no better reason than it happens not to be what some, or even most, of those in power want.
To tell Leave voters that they should be ignored because they are unintelligent and/or misinformed is difficult to describe as anything other than appallingly arrogant and elitist. To act as though the young and the better-off know better than the old and the poor is a dangerous route to take. If followed logically, only the young and educated should be allowed to vote at all. But what guarantee is there that the young and educated will vote for policies that take care of the poor and marginalised?
Arguably, the poor and marginalised have suffered from the consequences of globalisation and neo-liberalism as carried out by the EU, whilst the educated have benefited. Is it right to insist that the educated know better, when the educated aren’t the ones who have lived with the downside of the EU? Is it right to suggest that the marginalised sit down like so many little children whilst the ‘adults’ decide things over their head?
Reneging on the vote is undemocratic.
Jimmy Reid, 1972 “Let me right at the outset define what I mean by alienation. It is the cry of men who feel themselves the victims of blind economic forces beyond their control. It’s the frustration of ordinary people excluded from the processes of decision-making. The feeling of despair and hopelessness that pervades people who feel with justification that they have no real say in shaping or determining their own destinies.”
Voting to Leave is a vote against the forces of globalisation and neo-liberalism that favour the educated and big business over the poor and marginalised. It is a vote for a kinder, more just, less unequal society that cares more about people than it does about capital. It is a vote that says power should be in the hands not of the EU, nor the elected MPs, but the people – the people who live the consequences of the decisions of those in power.
Andrew Sullivan wrote, “Elites matter in a democracy, because they are the ingredient to save democracy from itself.”
Matt Taibbi responds, “I would argue that voters are the critical ingredient to save elites from themselves”.