Democratic challenges to the Brexit decision – The Guardian

Democratic challenges to the Brexit decision – The Guardian

Brexit devotees hold dearly to their slim majority and assert “democracy” in demanding this grave national error go unchallenged. But the real democrats are Carole Cadwalladr (The great British Brexit robbery, Observer, 23 June) and George Monbiot (Who paid for the leave vote…, 28 June) in questioning the very legitimacy of the 2016 EU referendum. David Cameron’s unforgivable legacy was to agree the EU membership vote. By comparison, we don’t hold public votes on judicial decisions; we rely on experienced judges to chart the way through trials with dedicated analysis of the detail by objective juries. This is strictly governed to heavily punish any financial interference.

The EU referendum met no comparable standard, nor would another. So Monbiot’s petition to challenge the legitimacy of the Brexit vote should be supported by democrats everywhere. But a repeat vote is a bad idea. Current talks ensure the slim desire to consider an exit by the jury of public opinion is satiated. But parliament must have the final judicial say. On seeing the harsh reality of a nationally calamitous Brexit, any MP must conclude that leaving amounts to societal vandalism and must be stopped. They will just need the vision and the guts to say so.
Nick Mayer

At last someone has voiced “the concept that dare not speak its name” (What if the will of the people is now for a second referendum on Brexit?,, 28 June). It is now clear that during the referendum campaign we were in an era of “pre-truth” and that, today, facts about the disentanglement from Europe require little exposition, exposing the whole thing as a ludicrously costly and self-harming mess. Further, the general election proved that the youth of the UK are prepared to rise from their beds to vote for a cause in which they believe, and there can be little doubt that, if they had roused themselves a year earlier, we would not now be in this turmoil.

The first phase of negotiations has not only thrown into clarity the unbelievable complexity and cost we face, but that David Davis is (at best) a tenth as clever as he appears to believe. There should be no shame or recalcitrance about accepting that circumstances have changed, the truth is out, and the stupidity of our departure from the EU is writ large. It isn’t as if Theresa May hasn’t changed her mind before – it’s harder to find circumstances in which she hasn’t. It’s blatantly obvious that there should be a second vote, now we all know what the ramifications of exit actually are.
Peter Empringham

Larry Elliott (Analysis, 26 June) is absolutely right when he says that many measures in Labour’s recent manifesto, such as increased state aid, would be “harder to implement, or actually prohibited, inside the EU”. If that simple fact were more widely understood there would be a better chance for a meeting of minds between those who voted remain and those who voted leave. Labour’s manifesto relies on the opportunities available in leaving the EU and we need more debate about these topics.
Kate Brown

I fully agree with the critics of Theresa May’s offer to EU citizens in the UK (Report, 28 June). However, the debate over their rights post-Brexit seems to solely focus on formulating a snapshot of rights and entitlements, instead of considering EU citizenship in terms of future possibilities. As a Hungarian immigrant living in the UK, I found that the greatest value of being an EU citizen was to be able to imagine a mobile future: not having to settle, not having to abide by rigidly defined legal statuses of “resident” or “national”, not having to make an imminent decision about whether I wanted to stay in, leave, or return to the UK.

While I deeply appreciate all those who have spoken up for the rights of EU citizens, I find it important to recognise that the freedom of movement is working towards an international form of solidarity not only through guaranteeing certain rights, but also by construing a broader field of possibilities for EU and UK nationals alike.
Thu Thuy Phan

I was heartened by your editorial (Brexit is not the answer) and Jonathan Freedland’s piece (Can Brexit be stopped?) on 24 June. I was also heartened by Donald Tusk’s and Emmanuel Macron’s remarks encouraging the UK to think again. In the referendum I voted remain but with a private subtext “and reform the EU”. And I suggest that therein lies the key. The leave campaign slogan “take back control” resonated with many people. All over Europe, not just in the UK, there are movements pressing for powers to be devolved away from Brussels whenever possible. It’s most certainly not too late to realise that Brexit is not the answer: if the EU were to show willing to devolve more authority from Brussels to EU members, it would surely help tip the balance of the national perception of the whole matter.
Christopher McDouall

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