Theresa May has written a column [paywall] for The Times in which she rails against a second independence referendum in Scotland. But canny readers spotted a problem in the column which, once noticed, can’t really be unseen.
A message from May
The Prime Minister (PM) lays out her argument against Scotland holding an independence referendum. And it seems familiar somehow:
But she appears to have confused the proposed Scottish independence referendum with the Brexit vote enacted by her own government. The audacity of such a blatant contradiction was not lost on readers:
Theresa May today in the Times. This passage is so contradictory I keep having to reread because brain… cannot… pic.twitter.com/lFkqO6XWhN
— Fiona Mackenzie (@fionamacmac) March 17, 2017
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But May didn’t stop there. She went on to argue that Britain wouldn’t know its plan for Brexit until as late as 2019. As the PM has already received Royal Assent for triggering Article 50 (the two-year countdown to exit the EU), this is blatantly false.
This bizarre column appears to back up the arguments put forward by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier this week. Interviewed by Channel 4 News, Sturgeon claimed that May had been inconsistent and intransigent on a whole UK Brexit deal. And that this had forced her hand in declaring a second vote for Scottish independence:
A Tory Brexit
Voting to leave the EU is not inherently racist or foolish. Even those of us who would have chosen to remain in the EU cannot ignore its serious flaws. Particularly its anti-democratic tendencies. In recent years, the EU deposed the democratically elected leaders of Greece and Italy, and replaced them with pro-austerity technocrats. It is not ignorant or bigoted to question a continuing and deepening alliance to such a system.
But the left-wing Brexit of greater democracy and protection from radical neoliberal austerity is never going to happen under this current government. May’s Brexit is about quite the opposite. The PM is more interested in dismantling hard-won rights. And cutting the taxes paid by wealthy individuals and corporations.
In order to protect Britain from the losses associated with leaving the single market, May’s government has confirmed it would turn Britain into a tax haven – cutting corporation taxes radically to attract business. May is also committed to withdrawing Britain from the European Convention on Human Rights, and has steadfastly refused to guarantee working people’s rights after Brexit. The rights that ensure us all a minimum wage, maximum hours, and safe workplaces. The ones that all but ended sweatshop/workhouse conditions in the UK. Yet these rights may well end up on the chopping block as May courts corporations to stay in the country.
Who on earth could blame Scotland – which saw this coming and voted against it – for hopping in a lifeboat rather than going down with this ship?
Unite or suffer
This current Brexit betrays everyone who voted Remain, and everyone who believed that leaving the EU could be about bolder values. And that makes this no time for those who voted Remain to gloat. Smugly baying at disenchanted Leave voters will do nothing except further alienate those who know that both the status quo and the post-Brexit landscape are hostile to their interests.
We have to get real about the state we are in. The Brexit designed by our Conservative government is a scam. Dressed up as a reverse gear on globalisation and austerity economics, it is actually an acceleration of the neoliberal project to rid Britain of the public services, welfare state, rights and liberties that make it a social democracy. It could cost us every progressive right, liberty, welfare and public service we built together since the Second World War.
Whether you voted Leave or Remain, it is irrelevant now. If you don’t want the Brexit on offer, it’s time to unite with everyone who feels the same.
But what about respecting democracy?
Isn’t arguing against Brexit a betrayal of those 52% of referendum voters who chose Leave? Well, no.
If there was a referendum vote in favour of reinstating the death penalty to Britain, I would expect every person of good conscience to oppose it until their dying breath. The same would go for the banning of access to abortion, or the removal of rights from anyone on the basis of their gender, sexuality, or ethnicity.
It’s simple. Democracy doesn’t allow majority groups to vote away the rights and liberties of minority groups. At least it shouldn’t, if it is in any way functional. That’s not democracy. That’s mob rule. The EU referendum asked voters if they wanted to leave the EU, not how. Without a second referendum on the latter, Brexit is nothing more than a fraudulently attained collective signature on a suicide note.
If Scotland doesn’t want to drink from that poisoned chalice, so be it.
– Join the legal campaign for a Brexit for the 100%.
– Contact your MP and make your voice heard on the issue.
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