No, you don’t have to accept the EU referendum’s results

It would have been more relevant to this post if the above had been said by Captain Britain, But from him we just get things like, “Avalon is not yet ready to say goodbye to you, milady.” Or, “But gentlemen, this is England!” And yet, if Boris Johnson can crib from American sci-fi films, then I can borrow from its comic book characters to make a point. And the point is this: The referendum on this country’s membership in the EU was just one part of the battle, not the end of it. And if we do accept that it’s the end, bad things will ensue.

I usually leave the overtly political tirades to the other blog. This website occasionally hits on policy, but when it does, it’s related to how policy is impacting — or impacted by — technology.

hate-newsBut now’s a good time to remind people of the technical reality of British politics, and it’s this: We live in a parliamentary democracy. So, the point made by Labour MP David Lammy and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon are spot on: Parliament isn’t required as a result of this referendum to start the Article 50 process to exit the European Union. That’s not just correct, it’s the best kind of correct; it’s technically correct.

One of the saving graces of parliamentary process is that it does slow things down. Rash decisions are slightly more difficult to get going, though not entirely impossible. So, the people who are now chanting “it’s over,” and “get on with it,” and “it’s time we all accept the decision” are actually trying to rob you of your full democratic rights and freedom of speech under this system. If we allow that, it’s going to get (more) ugly quick.

In this system, the referendum isn’t meaningless, it just doesn’t mean what a number of people are claiming it does. It is not binding, but more of a recommendation. It then goes to Parliament for debate and a possible vote. That’s the process. Don’t like it? You should have lobbied for a direct democracy before we got here. So we can contact our MPs and tell them what we think they should do. In the areas where the Remain vote was higher, people can simply ask MPs to follow their constituents’ wishes and intentions. In other cases, we can ask MPs who were strongly against leaving the EU to just vote their consciences when it comes up.

And yes, the Leave supporters can do the same. Because that’s where we are in this democratic process. It’s only done if we remain quiet, lie back and think of England.