Theresa May’s Vacuous Statement Is All There Is

Brexit means Brexit.

This was the Prime Minister’s only statement post referendum. It is a vacuous and meaningless statement. Just like saying beer means beer. But beer comes in a thousand varieties and we don’t all like all of them. The same thing with Brexit. Brexit means Brexit is merely a way of avoiding the obvious – nobody has a clue of what Brexit actually means. It could come in a thousand varieties and the voting public may not like most of them and be prepared to reject them.

Which brings us to the basic issue – should the June referendum be taken as the final word on the UK’s relationship with the EU? There is no reasonable justification for asserting that this is the case. The British people have not yet been given any kind of picture as to what Brexit would mean in practice. Apart, that is, from the heavenly utopia put forward by the Leave campaign and which we all know to be a work of fantasy. We also seem to have forgotten that the referendum was advisory and not binding on parliament.

At some stage, well into the future, we will have some idea of what Brexit could actually mean. We will get beyond the vacuity of Brexit means Brexit.  It will be clear that neither the paradise promised by the Leave campaign nor the inferno of the Remain campaign will turn out to be real. Instead, after what will probably be several years of purgatory, we will have a better understanding of the real options available. At that point, both parliament and the people should be in a position to make a judgment about which way they would like to go.

Those who insist that a referendum based on campaigns that were a work of fiction should stand irrespective of the reality that unfolds have no respect for true democracy and accountability. The same is true of those who continue to insists that they will fight for Britain to remain in the EU come what may. But then again, that comes as no surprise. Both sides are trapped in their own ideological prisons and seem to have little time for having an ongoing discussion with the voting public as some form of practical reality unfolds.

It is time that all sides abandoned their own fixed and bigoted views and made a commitment to a process that involves the public in what is one of the most important policy decisions the country has been faced with in decades.

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Radix is the radical centre think tank. We welcome all contributions which promote system change, challenge established notions and re-imagine our societies. The views expressed here are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily shared by Radix.

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