It’s hard to spot the difference between a bot and a government minister, these days.
They both tend to say the same things, have only a glancing relationship with reality, and are all rumoured to have Russian handlers.
And of course, they both have to overcome a language barrier. It’s just easier to translate Cyrillic online than it is to convert Brexit logic into something anyone else can understand.
But if the vote to leave the EU has proven anything, it is that if you repeat stuff often and loudly enough it trickles down into every ear eventually. So what the politicians and the bots say is repeated by ordinary people, who think they are saying what they believe rather than what they have been told, in a very underhand way, to say.
It is time to point out that it is happening, and to prove to normal, well-intentioned, thoughtful Brexit voters that they are being played.
1. We had a vote already
This is precisely the same thing Adolf Hitler said in 1933.
The year before, Adolf Hitler had won a Parliamentary vote but lost a vote to be president. Within 3 months he had seized power anyway, and within 4 he cancelled all future elections.
Besides, Theresa May asked MPs to vote on it 3 times, and Boris Johnson is about to have his second go. There’s no reason they should have all the fun.
Democracy is not about voting once. Otherwise we’d still have the first Parliament of 1265. It’s about voting repeatedly, and changing our minds as and when circumstances make it necessary.
Otherwise we’d have rationing now, along with conscription, anti-Irish legislation, and sumptuary laws defining what clothing people of different classes may wear.
Oh, and we’d still have the poll tax, too. The 1381 poll tax.
2. This is all Remainers’ fault
Had the hardline European Research Group of backbench Tories voted for Theresa May’s withdrawal deal, we’d have Brexited by now.
Had the pro-Brexit DUP and just 6 expelled Tories who had previously supported Brexit voted against the Letwin amendment on Saturday, we’d have a withdrawal agreement by now.
And had Boris Johnson not promised to vote for Theresa’s deal, then resigned in a huff 24 hours later, we would even now be in a position to negotiate trade deals without having to put a border in the Irish Sea to reverse several hundred years of history.
It’s the Brexit campaigners, activists and think tanks who’ve done Brexit the most damage, by constantly arguing about what sort of Brexit they don’t want.
3. You’re a sore loser
Look around you.
Look at the economy that is heading into recession. Look at the car manufacturers preparing to abandon Sunderland. Look at the fruit and veg rotting in the fields because there are no EU migrants to pick them. Look at the distrust that everyone feels, the division not just among people but among nations of the union.
That’s not what winning looks like.
If Brexit was such a great idea, the run-up would be a hop, skip and a jump into a massive bowl of clotted cream and rainbows. Business would be relocating in, not out. There’d be more jobs than there are people, money would be pouring out of our ears, and what’s more every Remainer in the land would be saying “well crikey, I’ve changed my mind”.
We’re all sore. And bruised, and damaged. And we’ve all bloody well lost, haven’t we?
4. David Cameron promised the government would enact the result
“This is your decision. The goverment will implement what you decide,” said the £9m government leaflet sent to voters before the referendum, and which every Brexit supporter was outraged by.
It also predicted 10 years of uncertainty, increased costs and red tape for business, and that we’d have to follow EU rules and pay membership fees to retain access to the single market.
The leaflet was dismissed as ‘Project Fear’ by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, among others, who have since refused to publish the latest predictions on the basis that it’s frightening.
If you want to believe one phrase in that leaflet but not the others, that’s up to you. But you cannot hold a government that no longer exists – was dissolved, subjected to a general election, and has been led by two different people since – to a promise made by some pig-f***er who’s no longer involved in it.
5. Let’s have a general election instead
No, no, no, no, no. NO.
Do the maths.
Brexit won 17.4m votes and 52% of the turnout in the 2016 referendum.
In 2005, Tony Blair won a 66-seat Parliamentary majority with 9.5m votes and 35% of the turnout.
If we were to decide the fate of Brexit with a general election, Leave could lose half its support and there’d still be a sizeable Commons majority to force it onto the three-quarters of voters who were against it. That’s not democracy, and nor is it a vote anyone could respect.
A referendum got us here, and only a referendum – one with more than a 52% majority – can resolve it.
And if all of that is not enough to persuade every Leaver that their arguments are being fed to them by people who prefer them not to think too hard about stuff, there’s just one question left to ask:
1. What are you worried about?
If Leave is such a fabulous idea, what’s the harm in having another vote to confirm it?
If the last referendum was not subject to criminal interference and gerrymandering, why should the next one be?
The Brexit campaigners who won the vote and lost Brexit now think they’d lose another vote. If they are so certain that would happen, then democracy demands that vote be held.
The 2016 vote HAS been respected. It has been DIS respected by Brexit campaigners ignoring the promises of the Vote Leave manifesto, unknown Tories scrabbling for their only chance of headlines, and a Prime Minister whose only consistent behaviour is to lie and be caught doing it.
Brexit has now got us an unelected PM, an unelected Rasputin pulling his strings, and a government unable to govern. Even Project Fear didn’t predict things would be this bad.
The nation tried to Brexit for 3 years. Perhaps Greece could do it, or France, or Germany. But a nation with an internationally-binding agreement not to control its one EU border, and an internally-existential need not to treat its 4 constituent parts differently, cannot.
Oh, we could SAY we had. But we’d have to keep that border open, stay in the customs union and single market, and pay 30% more for all of it after losing our rebate. That’s not leaving – that’s just a more expensive way of remaining.
We have to vote again, not because we want to, and not because it would heal our divisions. We have to vote again because this isn’t Brexit.
It’s Breakshit. And no-one voted for it.