Trust in our democracy as well as in those who represent us is important. It is normal to have a healthy scepticism and not just automatically accept everything that politicians say, but when there is a widespread breakdown in trust, almost everything politicians say is treated with cynicism, regardless of merit.
I remember 2009 when the MPs expenses scandal broke and the terrible damage that did to people’s faith in politicians. I still don’t think our country’s politics has entirely healed from that, but of course the world has moved on and different issues do come and go.
Last Sunday saw the third anniversary of the UK’s referendum to leave the EU. The failure and reluctance of MPs to actually implement the referendum result has led to much distrust in our democracy. I take the view that the result must be honoured and currently, many people who voted Remain also accept this view. However, there are those who seek to overturn democracy who have been using various tactics but which have a common theme, namely to delay and frustrate Brexit so much that the country becomes so exhausted by it all, that a view forms that it is just easier to leave things as they are. While I am strongly opposed to that, I am concerned that such a view could become the prevailing one should Brexit not happen this year.
That would be a democratic travesty in my opinion, but this is a serious risk unless MPs get their act together. In a nutshell, the problems has been (mostly) Labour MPs putting their own interests first by trying to bring down the government, rather than implement Brexit, and then a small number of irrational Conservative MPs in the ‘ERG’ who will accept nothing but the most damaging (no-deal) form of Brexit. This has meant we haven’t left the EU and these problems will still be there for whoever takes over as Prime Minister next month.
If trust is to be restored in politics, hard-line and uncompromising positions on all sides must moderate in order for Brexit to be delivered.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
26th June 2019