Article for Brexit Central - November 2019

In an election focused on the question of democracy, the anti-democratic Lib Dems must be exposed

 

In the early hours of 24th June 2016 I sent a message to David Cameron, urging him to stay on as Prime Minister. Shortly after that he stepped out into Downing Street and announced that he was standing down. He made the right call.

Ever since that moment, we have seen a massive rear-guard action from Remain. It was almost as if they thought that  23rd June 2016 was the moment to start their campaign proper; the referendum was a mere prelude. The Lib Dems (I will not use the word “Democrats” in their name in full), and arch-Remainers have taken to the airwaves on an almost daily basis with more prophecies of doom.

The irony is that the Lib Dems, and indeed Jo Swinson herself, back in 2008 argued forcefully to have a referendum. But, of course, they have been on a journey. Do you remember Paddy Ashdown’s rather grown-up and sensible comment? He said:

“I will forgive no one who does not respect the sovereign voice of the British people once it has spoken, whether it is a majority of one per cent or 20 per cent. When the British people have spoken you do what they command. Either you believe in democracy or you don’t.”

He was absolutely right. From that brief moment of sanity, they moved swiftly and noisily to arguing for a second referendum until Jo Swinson’s surprise announcement this summer that they were all out for Revoke. Wind back the clock as if nothing had happened. We’re staying in – nothing more doing.

In seats like mine in the South West this is an odd move. Saying different things to different people in different parts of the country is not a new Lib Dem tactic. But they are now coming under some welcome scrutiny. The recent debacle with Flavible and the bar charts is a good example.

The difficulty for them here in the South West is that this is a Brexit election. Before the dissolution of Parliament, the Lib Dems were calling for economic impact assessments. Of course, they were not doing this because they were interested in the analysis, but because they think it will bolster their pre-determined position. There are in fact some reasonable arguments to be made about the economic impact of Brexit. But it’s no longer relevant. Those were arguments to make during the referendum. They can make them again after we have left and campaign to re-join, if they so choose. But we have not yet left, not least because of the antics of the Lib Dems and Labour playing games.

There is no doubt that the Lib Dems want to pick up votes from those who voted Remain in the South West as well as the rest of the country. But the most powerful argument that I hear time and again, comes not from people like me who voted Leave. It comes from those who voted Remain and accept the result. They respect democracy and insist that we must leave. And soon.

That is why we must campaign so hard between now and polling day. Let all true democrats come to the polls and support the Conservatives. We are the party respecting the referendum result, wanting to move on from this stalemate and – as Boris would say – unleash the potential for this great country of ours. For it is no longer a question of Leave or Remain. Now it is a question of democracy.

 

Published on Brexit Central 18th November 2019