In the streets they shout at us “What you’re doing is undemocratic”.


Every Saturday for weeks now we have being setting up our stall in various parts of Bristol, signing up new supporters to our cause.  Frequently people come to us with an anxious gratitude that we are actually doing something to resist Brexit.  There are large numbers of deeply worried people out there who feel unrepresented by our political leaders.  Our job is to give them a voice.

As a result the number of our supporters are burgeoning.  We have significantly more than 2,500 on our books and last weekend alone more than 400 joined us.  5,000 sign ups now feels comfortably within our grasp.  There can’t be any other organisation in Bristol growing so rapidly.

But it would be deluded of us to imagine that right now the majority of the British public are swinging behind us.  Very often people we meet on the streets of Bristol say “I voted Remain, but it’s over now and we just have to accept the result of the referendum” or more ignorantly “we’ve already left haven’t we?”  The aggressive Leavers get annoyed saying “Stop doing this.  It’s undemocratic.  We won the vote and you lost”.


On_the_streets.pngYes, when the votes were added up that night in June, we lost.  Not by a lot but we lost.  But there is something that the Brexiteers simply can’t grasp.  For many people like me the EU is much, much more than a trading area that imposed rules on businesses.  The European Project was and is a dream and a belief in peace and friendship, a sharing of a common identity and culture.  I don’t see a few thousand bureaucrats in my head as I think of the EU,  I see a force for goodness that is now a part of my identity, comfortably nestled into my sense of who I am.

When I am challenged about being undemocratic, I know the accuser may fear that people like me are trying to thwart their dreams, or as I see it, their fantasies.  In turn, what I feel emotionally is there is a satanic government that’s coming after me.  It wants to take away my passport and it wants to wreck my son’s life in Denmark.  My intellect tells me we must stay and my emotional response is I cannot do other than resist this threatened personal assault.


I feel angry about the MPs who voted to remain and now are planning to invoke Article 50 on the basis that it would be undemocratic not do so.  In many ways they will be more culpable than the dedicated Leavers for the shambles that will ensue.  The Brexiteers mostly genuinely believe the EU to be a malign force that is holding our country back. 

The great majority of MPs are pro-EU and they have no excuses.  They know full well how much Brexit will harm Britain and their constituents, especially those at the bottom of the economic ladder.  Yet in that knowledge they plan to enforce the greatest act of self-harm on us all.  That is unforgivable.  Are they doing this as a matter of democratic principle or to save their own skins in the short term?

The referendum isn’t just about a change of policy, one that a new regime is entitled to impose following an election victory.  It is about something much deeper and for this reason the government and its fellow travellers are going to face a level of recalcitrance from us they have not bargained for.


Democracy didn’t end that sad night in June.  We still live in a country where freedom of expression is allowed.  Our struggle is not that of a spurned political party.  It is one that runs much deeper inside many of us.  So I and many others will continue with a growing intensity to fight our corner.  And we are in a corner, there’s no doubt. 

Those who want to lead our country into its greatest act of self-immolation by any country to itself are not afraid who they trample on as they pursue their crazy aims.  We must not be afraid to fight back.


Get updates