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“You Lost, Get Over It”

A Letter to a Leaver

If democracy is about anything, it’s about ensuring that political outcomes are a fair reflection of people’s views. Many elements of the British system of government stray from that ideal: first-past-the-post voting distorts the representativeness of parliament, for example. But if anything ought to reflect the people’s views in a fair and undistorted way, it’s a national referendum about the constitutional future of the country.

Given that a key element of the Leave campaign was objecting to foreign influence over British laws, you must surely object to foreign interference in a British referendum. That interference is now well-established. And unless you plan to abolish all spending limits in British elections, you ought also to recognise that serious breaches of spending limits in the referendum undermine the legitimacy of the result. Either you should be campaigning for all UK polls to be opened up to the highest bidder, whether that’s a self-interested billionaire or a foreign autocrat, or you should accept that the referendum does not provide a sound basis for constitutional and economic upheaval.

Clearly, you don’t accept that, despite the evidence. Okay. You won. But don’t kid yourself that that makes you a defender of democracy: it makes you the opposite. You’re ushering in a period of severe economic, political and social disruption, which will last for decades, on the basis of an illegitimate result.

The arguments of Britain being economically better off if we leave, having more global influence, taking back control, have all been been revealed over the past two years to be fantasies. We’re heading for the worst possible scenario, for years of national misery. There’s only one possible basis left for continuing down this path: you don’t like foreigners. You dislike foreigners more than you like having economic security, jobs, educational opportunities, health care, freedom from red tape, international influence, and the collective capacity to address any issues other than Brexit and its effects.

Guess what: ninety-nine percent of the world are foreigners. One tenth of one percent of them have made the UK their home. The nine percent of the world’s foreigners living next door to us in a large trading bloc will influence our future whether we’re with them or against them, and things are less likely to go well if it’s against.

How about you get over that?

12 June 2018 · Politics


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