When Britain voted to leave the E.U. in June -- by a comfortable margin and with a record turnout -- it may have seemed the fight was won. Yet political elites who believe they, not the people, are sovereign are gearing up for one more siege to deny the British independence.
New Prime Minister Theresa May, although a "Remainer," has shown promising commitment by making her motto: “Brexit means Brexit.”
Others in British and European political establishments have not followed her example. The Daily Telegraph reported Friday that top E.U. officials meeting at a summit in Bratislava are planning to make life hell for Britain during negotiations, in the hope that a wobbly British political elite will simply give up and remain in the E.U. Relations are already so toxic that Brexit Secretary David Davis recently called one of the E.U. negotiators “Satan.”
The pressure is on in Britain too. Just as political elites across Europe have frogmarched voters back into the voting booths before when the vote doesn’t go their way, the familiar call is now being rattled out by left-wing politicians, the BBC, The Guardian and on social media -- the British must vote again, or the referendum should be ignored altogether.
Pro-E.U. demagogues at home and abroad have gone through an embarrassing litany of excuses of why the vote “doesn’t count”: the voters were conned, they didn’t know what they were voting for, the voters were too old, the sample size was too small, and don’t forget: “RACIST, RACIST, RACIST!”
The argument settled on -- perhaps the most brazen in its disregard for the voter -- is that the referendum was merely “advisory” and therefore either the voters or parliament should vote again. This time, they claim, the vote should be on when to trigger an obscure mechanism (Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty) to formally begin the process to leave the E.U.
The idea that the referendum, which dominated the national and international news for months and costs millions of pounds, was merely a practice run for the real thing, or was simply a glorified poll for parliament’s general amusement, is of course total tripe. The vote was advisory only because it was assumed that our politicians would abide by fair play and didn’t need to be forced to do what a clear majority of voters want.
It is also contemptuous of democracy. Labour MP David Lammy recently grumped that parliament is sovereign. No, Mr. Lammy -- the people are sovereign, and parliament is sovereign only in that it represents the people. And the people have spoken directly, they should not have to repeat themselves in order to be heard.
Lammy is not the only one who wants to repeat elections over and over again until he gets what he wants, as if Britain were some third-world tin-pot dictatorship. Tony Blair has said Britain could still stay in the E.U., while wannabe Labour leader Owen Smith said if he were prime minister, his party would work to shut down Brexit.
“We still think you should think again” he scolded the British people on a radio show.
Thankfully May has shown a hard head so far and reportedly intends to trigger Article 50 without consulting parliament, despite the howls of the left-wing commentariat. This is unsurprising considering the poll numbers, which show her Conservative Party (Tories) screaming ahead of Labour by 14 points -- a surge that can be put down to the Tories’ honorable stance to stand by the vote.
Yet the pressure is on. There is no clear Brexit party -- even a majority of Tories backed Remain -- and so the situation remains precarious if the vote were to go to parliament. Additionally, the bureaucratic jihadists of the E.U. will use every piece of legislative trickery to try and force Britain out of its unacceptable and uncouth desire for independence.
Regrettably, even major politicians from America -- a land known for valuing independence -- are against Brexit. Obama’s famous comment ahead of the vote that Britain would be “at the back of the queue” infuriated Brits to the point many believed it helped the Brexit cause.
Last month, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton took the unusual step of calling out Nigel Farage -- the retired leader of the U.K. Independence Party -- as part of a “global brand of extreme nationalism” led by Vladimir Putin. She also accused Farage of “stoking anti-immigrant sentiment to win the referendum.” The implication was clear -- not only is Farage a racist, but so are those who voted with him.
As Britain’s economy glows despite the predictions of doom, those committed to the European behemoth are becoming more desperate, and the attacks are likely to only get more sinister and more hysterical. It remains to be seen if Britain can hold fast.
Yet Britain has a good record for resisting such pressure. Britain was told it had to join the Euro -- it didn’t. It was told it had to distance itself from the “senile” Ronald Reagan -- it didn’t. It was told it should give up the Falkland Islands to the Argentinian brownshirts -- it didn’t. It was told it couldn’t possibly hope to resist the Nazi onslaught -- it did.
I wish, dear reader, I could assure you Brexit will happen no matter what. I can offer no such assurance -- the battle for Brexit will be tough, bloody and long. Brexit hangs in the balance, but the signs are encouraging. Here is to hoping the Churchillian spirit of “we shall never surrender” continues to guide Britain’s leaders as they face the challenge of a generation.