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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Has Brexit become a existential threat to our democracy?

It is all very well Brexiteers arguing that we have to respect the outcome of the 2016 referendum because that is 'democracy'. but where are those so-called values when the rift with Europe they crave itself becomes an existential threat to our freedoms?

Of course having a third plebiscite on the subject of Europe is in no way subverting the democratic process. People have a right to pass judgement on the changed circumstances between June 2016 and today, they should be able to decide whether the deal that Theresa May has cobbled together is acceptable to them, and they certainly should decide whether the consequences that have emerged in the last two years of us leaving Europe on any deal (or no deal) are worth it or not.

That is democracy, not the sterilisation of a position taken on a series of vague promises that have proved to be undeliverable, or the ossification of an unformed proposition that has turned out to be unworkable. If there is one thing we have learned in the last two years, Brexit, indeed democracy itself, is a process not an event.

The latest threat to our freedom comes from, plans drawn up by the UK Government to declare a state of emergency and even the introduction of martial law in the event of disorder after a no-deal Brexit. The Sunday Times reports that civil servants are considering how to use the sweeping powers available under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to stop any civil disobedience resulting from the nation leaving the EU on March 29.

Measures being considered include curfews, bans on travel, confiscation of property and, most drastic, the deployment of the armed forces to quell rioting are among the measures available to ministers under the legislation. They can also amend any act of parliament, except the Human Rights Act, for a maximum of 21 days.

This legislation was introduced to deal with national emergencies such as acts of war and terrorism and now the government is considering using it to impose their will on the British people. In addition, the UK armed forces have begun stockpiling food, fuel, spare parts and ammunition at bases in the Falklands, Cyprus and Gibraltar in case of a no-deal Brexit. They are anxious that rations and other supplies are built up to ensure the military does not run short should a chaotic Brexit disrupt imports and exports.

This is not a democratic process, this is a coup d'état by the establishment. We really do have to call a halt to this nonsense as soon as possible.
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