Published by The Huffington Post on 11/08/16
You may not have guessed it, but it’s been almost 50 days since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.
Aside from numerous shrieks echoing round our newspapers’ opinion sections, you’d be hard-pressed to find much evidence for the Brexit vote. Why? Because our government is yet to invoke Article 50 – the formal mechanism for leaving the EU.
Our new Prime Minister, Theresa May, has suggested Article 50 won’t be triggered until at least 2017, while the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, believes it should be delayed for six years.
Depressingly, these are some of the more generous timescales relating to Article 50’s invocation: the bookies don’t think it will be triggered at all.
Of course, we shouldn’t be too surprised our government is intent on delaying our exit from the European Union. June’s referendum revealed an immeasurable schism between the UK’s population and its ‘representatives’ in parliament. While the majority of the UK voted to leave the EU, the number of MPs who voted to sever ties with Brussels were marked by their scarcity.
Through delaying the invocation of Article 50, our government hopes the UK will forget the momentous decision it made on June 23. They intend to delay its implementation until we lose interest.
If we really believe we should leave the EU – if we really believe the demos should be respected – it’s now or never. Article 50 isn’t a fine wine; it doesn’t get better with age. It must be invoked immediately.
Since June 23, there have been numerous attempts to thwart the Brexit vote. Over 1,000 lawyers have signed a letter claiming the EU referendum was merely “advisory” and “not legally binding”. Mishcon De Reya, a London-based law firm, even intends to launch legal proceedings against the government if it invokes Article 50 without first consulting parliament.
David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, is so bitter about the referendum result that he has called for it to be rerun. Apparently his political beliefs are more important than those of the 17.2 million people who voted for Brexit.
We must not stand for this. Any attempt to thwart the Brexit vote derives from an insidious inclination to subvert the will of the people. The vote to leave the European Union represented the largest democratic mandate in UK constitutional history – it must not be ignored.
The post-referendum actions of our politicians and lawyers have shown we cannot become complacent. It is imperative we continue to fight for Brexit and ensure the will of demos translates into real political action.
We need to organise and make known our desire to leave the European Union. We need to encourage our citizens to show their support for democracy by signing the petition calling for the immediate invocation of Article 50. We need to plaster our surroundings with posters and flyers detailing our discontent. And crucially, when our government meets on September 5 to discuss the possibility of a second referendum, we need to be outside Westminster Hall, letting Parliament know our decision to leave the EU must be respected.
We have spoken. 17.2 million voices will not be silenced. We must Invoke Article 50 NOW!