No Democratic Mandate for So-called 'People’s Vote' – But Clear One for IndyRef2

© AFP 2022 / John MacdougallA poster featuring a Brexit vote ballot
A poster featuring a Brexit vote ballot - Sputnik International
According to my new 2019 diary, it is only the 15th of January today yet according to the mood music from Westminster and the new resignation letters from the Tory Whips we are already in the last few days of May…

Rejoice I say. Theresa May is a serial liar and a heartless Conservative deserving of the title 'Malevolent May' and therefore well suited to lead the Tory Party. She has been finished as a credible Prime Minister since her disastrous General Election result in June 2017. She entered that contest after ruling it out on scores of occasions only to exit it a fatally wounded cheerleader of reactionary conservatism.

Her insincerity, litany of lies and sparsity of talent saw her lose 22 seats to a Labour a leader universally reviled and traduced by every stinking part of the mainstream media across the UK.

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Yet despite the monsoon of lies and distortions thrown at him, Jeremy Corbyn secured the biggest swing to Labour since 1945, a 10.3% increase in Labour's share of the vote. That fact will become more relevant as this column unfolds.

Since the June 2017 General Election May has been in position but not in power. Her credibility was shredded by her decision to call an election at a time of her choosing unnecessarily and emerging electorally weaker in terms of seats. Ever since that election, she has been a walking disaster presiding over multiple resignations, policy U-turns and unprecedented Parliamentary defeats and condemnations. 

A demonstrator holds EU and Union flags during an anti-Brexit protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, December 17, 2018 - Sputnik International
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Yesterday saw Malevolent May at her dishonest best. After two years of negotiations on Brexit with a European Union determined to make leaving their club as painful as possible May tried to present the Dodo Deal she had to withdraw from a Parliamentary vote a month ago, as it would have been trounced, as an improved deal. It is nothing of the sort and even Stevie Wonder can see that.

Yet she sought to associate herself with principles by suggesting results of referendums should be honoured by elected politicians, even when they are close-run affairs as the September 1997 one on the establishment of a Welsh Assembly was:

"That result was accepted by both sides and the popular legitimacy of that institution has never seriously been questioned".

What a bare-faced lie that was. Mrs May voted against the creation of that Welsh Assembly at its second reading in Parliament after the referendum and then against the motion to introduce its third reading in December 1997.

She also voted against the introduction of the Scottish Parliament despite the referendum result in support of its creation in September 1997 being much clearer. The Welsh Assembly result was 50.3% in favour compared to 49.7% opposed on a 50% turnout. But the Scottish Parliament vote was 75% in favour to 25% against on a 60% turnout. May and her Tory gang tried to prevent the democratically expressed will of the Welsh and Scottish people being realised in Parliament. They even fought the 2005 General Election on a manifesto pledge to run a new Welsh referendum.

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I don't know in what language that amounts to ‘accepting' the result and not ‘seriously' questioning the legitimacy of the institution but it certainly isn't English. May the serial liar was at it again.

Tonight her Dodgy Deal will eventually be put to Parliament. It will get heavily defeated. The Leavers don't like it and the Remainers don't like it either. She was defeated in a procedural vote last week in Parliament which means instead of a three-week window to bring back something new she has only three days. The reality is the only thing she should bring back to Parliament after she is gubbed tonight is her resignation speech. She is shorn of any authority and should do something alien to her, the honourable thing, and resign.

Demonstrators hold placards and flags at the Brexit Betrayal Rally, a pro-Brexit rally, outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Sunday Dec. 9, 2018 - Sputnik International
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What happens next is a severe test for democracy in England and Wales. I am sick to the back teeth of ‘People's Vote' peddlers pontificating about the ‘people' having their say on Brexit. Masters of meaningless piffle like ‘Lord Mandelson' was given prime air time on ITV yesterday to lecture the UK about democratic legitimacy and political principles requiring a 2nd Brexit vote. What utter waffle he and others promoting Brexit2 speak.

There is not an ounce of democratic legitimacy in the Brexit2 argument. The fact he and his partner in multiple crimes against decency, principles and integrity, Tony Blair, are behind the ‘People's Vote' shenanigans should give everyone reason for caution.

The Brexit Referendum in 2016 produced a close but clear outcome. The campaign was full of lies, distortions and spin doctors. The main ‘Vote Leave' Campaign Director has now admitted they won by lying to the public and that is shameful but unfortunately, it is nothing new in UK political discourse. At least Vote Leave has admitted deploying lies. We wait with bated breath for ‘Bitter Together' (the Tory/Labour/Liberal unionist alliance against Scottish independence in 2104) to be so retrospectively honest.

The socialist arguments for leaving the EU were not allowed a platform on the mainstream media in 2016 but through several trade unions and left-leaning social media outlets, the fundamentally undemocratic nature and anti-socialist aims of the EU were exposed.

Those who fought ‘Thatcherism' and her monetarist public spending cutbacks in the 1980s recognise the same ingredients in the EU stability and growth pact at the core of their economic masterplan.

READ MORE: EU Willing to Extend Brexit Transition Period — Letter to May

Refusing to accept growth budgets in Greece, Portugal and Ireland and forcing hard austerity on those countries caused, and continues to cause, much pain for the low paid and poor. The privatisation of services is at the heart of the EU project and competition and budget treaties, restrictions and rules are a barrier to any member country embarking on an expansionist and public ownership economic programme.

The furore over Italy's growth budget aimed at increasing their minimum wage and lowering their retirement age is an example of EU opposition to anti-poverty measures, even though they emanate from a right-wing government.

Imagine the opposition to a socialist government proposing a budget of growth and radical anti-poverty and wealth redistribution measures? The limited nationalisation and re-nationalisation plans outlined in the 2017 Labour Party manifesto, welcome and necessary, would have been opposed by the EU Commissioners and unelected bureaucrats.

There is a strong and consistent left-wing case against membership of the EU which is rooted in economic sovereignty, workers' rights and basic democracy. Those arguments are enhanced by the ever-growing menace of the right wing and reactionary governments and parties emerging across Europe from Hungary, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain and others.

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Witness the disgraceful and brutal Spanish state repression of democratic rights in Catalonia and the continued incarceration of elected political representatives for months without trial and then ask ‘where is the EU condemnation'? There has been none and that is to the eternal shame of the 28 members of the EU and the institution itself.

The EU is no ‘Champion of the dispossessed' or ‘bulwark against reaction' it is an institution which usurps member states' sovereignty in relation to budgets and it plans to increase its economic control even further.

In Scotland, I was on the losing side in relation to EU membership. Scottish sovereignty to me means Scottish sovereignty. I want to be in and play a part in Europe but not the European Union, not in its current form at least. Norway is not a member and does fine. So does Iceland and Switzerland.

Membership of the EU is not a prescription for economic success and growth. In fact, the UK is at the top of the poverty league within the EU and the bottom of the state pension and economic growth league so an independent Scotland certainly does not require EU membership to thrive.

However, if I lose the referendum on EU membership within an independent Scotland I am at ease with it. I will be disappointed I lost the campaign but as long as Scotland takes the decision I can accept it. That's a democracy for you. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. The Remain side in England lost the Brexit argument in 2016. On a healthy 73% turnout, 15,188,406 citizens voted to leave the EU while 13,266,996 voted to remain, 53.4% to 46.6%.

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In Wales 854,572 voted to leave and 772,347 voted to remain on a 71.7% turnout. That was 52.5% to 47.5% for leaving.
Sure the people of Scotland voted decisively to remain, by 62% to 38% on a 67.2% turnout. The citizens of Northern Ireland voted less decisively to remain but it was still a clear 55.8% to 44.2% margin on a 62.7% turnout.

The crux of the matter is what happened next in the democratic life of citizens across the UK? What happened next was a General Election.

The June 23rd Brexit Referendum outcome was a shock to the chattering classes within the Westminster bubble because they felt sure the forces assembled behind Remain represented the majority of the British Establishment. They were right to think that but that Establishment was out of touch with the damage and disillusion sown over many years of economic inequality and media distortions around complex issues like immigration. Many felt left behind and anti-Establishment anger was vented against the EU.

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Almost exactly 12 months later a General Election was held, on June 8th 2017. The Tory and Labour parties both fought that election on a commitment to deliver Brexit, but each with their own preferred deals. Only the Lib Dems and Greens promoted a Brexit2 policy.

The SNP certainly did not fight the election on a Brexit2 commitment but they did fight it on an IndyRef2 commitment. They said if they won a majority of the Westminster seats in Scotland they would carry out the IndyRef2 manifesto pledge they won in the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections and subsequently agreed by the Scottish Parliament itself in March 2017.

On a clear commitment to implement Brexit, in different forms, the Conservative and Labour parties won 87.5% of all the votes cast in England. The Lib Dems on their Brexit2 pledge won 7.8% and the Greens won 1.9%. UKIP, a reactionary pro-Brexit party, won 2.1%.

So at the last General election, less than two years ago, 89.6% of those who voted in England voted for parties committed to some form of Brexit.

Interestingly, for those in England being whipped up into another anti-Corbyn frenzy (following the anti-Semitism and inappropriate attire on Armistice day ones) the Labour commitment to implement Brexit, alongside the radical redistributive manifesto, won Labour a 10.3% in vote share. That was the largest increase in a single election since 1945 and confounded all the Establishment pundits and lackeys who had dismissed Corbyn's chances, much the same as they had dismissed Brexit.

In Wales, it is even more overwhelming. Labour, Tories and Plaid Cymru all pledged to implement Brexit. Of those who voted 94.9% voted for parties committed to Brexit and Labour's share of the vote increased by 12.1%.

So given all these facts and figures representing the democratically expressed wishes of the electorate in England and Wales how on earth can anyone legitimately claim there is a ‘democratic' case for a Brexit2 ‘People's Vote'? There is not a democratic case but there is certainly a sore losers' case.

A demonstrator holds a placard during an anti-Brexit protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, December 17, 2018 - Sputnik International
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For any rogue unionist reading this and unable to understand the difference between my opposition to Brexit2 and the democratic argument for IndyRef2 let me explain.
We in the independence family were defeated in 2014. We understand that fact. We rose from a lowly 25% to a mighty 45% in the teeth of unionist promoted fear, lies and distortions but we lost nonetheless. But here is the concrete difference.

In the years since that Referendum in 2014, there have been three major elections in Scotland, the 2015 General Election, the 2016 Scottish Parliament Election and the 2017 General Election. The main party of Scottish independence, the SNP, fought all those elections on a commitment to independence. It is their reason for existence. IndyRef2 was explicitly promoted in 2016. The result was victories for the SNP at ALL THREE of those elections.

The Scottish Parliament also voted to hold IndyRef2 after a debate in March 2017. That is the fundamental difference between IndyRef2 and Brexit2. One has a democratic mandate underpinning it. The other does not.

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So after tonight's humiliation of Theresa May, I don't want to see Brexit2 on the agenda I want to see a General Election on the agenda and hear the SNP scream from the rooftops that Brexit was agreed by England and Wales not Scotland so we are forthwith seeking withdrawal from the UK via IndyRef2.

We don't seek permission to implement the democratic mandate which exists but we are serving notice that on March 28th the people of Scotland can decide to remain with the UK and leave the EU or reject that path in favour of the right to decide our own fate as a country.

The SNP leadership must recognise that there is no democratic mandate for Brexit2 but there is a triple-lock, cast iron and democratic mandate for IndyRef2. Stop messing around with the future of England and Wales and concentrate now on the future of Scotland. Use the mandate. Name the date.

The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik

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