Beyond Brexit: Seizing the Opportunity for Real Change

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Reclaiming Democratic Rights

Brexit’s Promise: Transforming British Lives Through Accountability

In the wake of the referendum civil war that was Brexit, one thing stands resolute: the demand for accountability through the restoration of democracy. The 2016 vote was no mere whim; it was a fervent cry from the people to reclaim power that had been willingly surrendered to distant bureaucrats, yearning to return it to the hands of the electorate.

The vote was a cri de coeur from the people to wrest control back from the Euro-apparatchiks and restore it within the Westminster-ward.

But that democratic muscle weakened when laws governing Britain were brewed in the Brussels cauldron instead of the Commons chamber. Electing a new UK government does nothing if true authority lies across the Channel.

Michael Foot astutely recognised leaving the EU as a means of securing our hard-fought rights to democratic participation and self-determination. The referendum was the reclamation of those inherent rights that had been bargained away to European Union entities devoid of accountability. His words resonate truth, overriding the political divide.


“People didn’t fight for the vote just to have the fun of electioneering, they wanted to see that the vote that they used and the Ballot Box could change things, stop things, alter things, remove governments when necessary. That’s one of the principal reasons for having a vote, but that’s not going to happen if we stay in the market, if we become enmeshed in the whole of their machinery and apparatus, because what will happen then is that you can go and have an election in this country, in which we vote out the government here, but you won’t be voting out all the governments that meet in Brussels to decide what’s going to happen to us! It is that precious inheritance, given us by the people who fought for the right to vote, fought for the right to form trade unions, fought for the right to establish their own institutions, fought for the right to have an elected house of commons which should be the supreme authority in this country and answerable to nobody else, it is those things that are at stake in this campaign. “ -Michael Foot

So claims that “nothing has changed” post-Brexit are laughable. The country’s course is now steered by voter choices rather than the whims of Eurocrats. That’s called sovereignty – perhaps the most resounding change of all.

The fact we have a poor choice of politicians and parties has nothing to do with leaving the EU. In fact, that’s part of the malaise we suffered in joining the EU as Nye Bevan once aptly stated: “The conception of the Common Market is the result of a political malaise following the failure of Socialists to use the sovereign power of their parliaments to plan their economic life”.

And expecting the Tories to radically reform outside the EU is like hoping for philosophical insights from Love Island. They campaigned for Remain precisely because the EU shielded the status quo they love.

While Brexit unlocks potential, fulfilment depends on electing politicians to seize it. The left long understood the EU’s intrinsic neoliberalism and constraints on radical reform. Workers voted Leave to dissolve those barriers.

Alas, Foot’s wisdom eludes most Remainer sorts. They babble on about GDP figures as if watching the FTSE ticker is Britain’s national pastime. Never mind that the old Labour heartlands withered economically under Euro guidance. Material concerns play second fiddle to restoring democratic rights, whatever London bubble-dwellers believe.

Brexit handed power back to the people…

tony benn
The EU’s commitment to capitalism. … As the late Tony Benn once pointed out: “The EU has the only constitution in the world committed to capitalism … it destroys the prospect of socialism anywhere in Europe, making capitalism a constitutional requirement of that set-up.”

And anyone expecting the vested-interest-friendly Tories to suddenly reform having left Brussels is several peas short of a casserole. The EU’s suffocating neoliberalism perfectly suited their crony instincts. Brexit promises change, but fulfilment requires true people’s champions at Westminster’s helm.

So enough Pollyannaish prattle that “nothing has changed” post-Brexit. This country’s course now steers by voter choices rather than Eurocrats’ fancies. That’s called sovereignty – perhaps the most thunderous change of all.

The people have cast off the Continental straightjacket. But potential means nothing until acted upon. Our charge is to elect leaders who will seize Brexit’s possibilities to transform British lives. The hard work of accountability still awaits. But now, nothing stops us reshaping this nation for the many, not the few. What a hope-restoring prospect!

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