So we are to have a general election while the main opposition party continues to be a trashcan on fire, and due to the vagaries of the electoral system no other opposition party stands a chance. And the reason given?
“The country is coming together but Westminster is not.”
Let me enumerate for you the ways in which this is a bald-faced lie. The country is absolutely not coming together, no matter the stories the Mail and Express feed you on a daily basis. The country is as divided as it was ten months ago, and there is in no way a clear mandate for Brexit, let alone the kind of Brexit that’s being forced through. And every time yet another predicted negative consequence of Brexit becomes reality, rather than accepting that this is a colossal act of self-harm, the British establishment seeks to point the finger elsewhere. “The EU is punishing us!” No, they are not, they are giving you exactly what you asked for, within the letter and the spirit of the law. The racist Brexit camp falls for this hook, line and sinker, the rest of us despair. Unity this is not.
Meanwhile Westminster has done a remarkable job of coming together. Where Labour hasn’t waved Brexit through, it has enthusiastically supported it. The Greens and Lib Dems may try to make noise about this but they don’t have enough seats or media coverage to meaningfully influence anything. The SNP… The SNP is doing its best to protect Scotland from this epic clusterfuck. May’s claim that there is any kind of meaningful opposition to Brexit in Westminster is a lie.
So both halves of the above statement are lies, but they are lies with a purpose. My friend Kathryn summed it up nicely.
In other words, "Shut up, Remoaners, we won the referendum" becomes "Shut up, leftwhingers, we won the election."
— artsyhonker/Kathryn (@artsyhonker) April 18, 2017
Here’s the thing: this entire government, Brexit, Article 50, it’s built on a pile of lies upon lies. Everything the Brexit campaign promised was a lie. “The people have spoken.” A lie. The country is united for Brexit. A lie. There is opposition to Brexit in Westminster. A lie. And “we won the election, we have a mandate” is going to be the next big lie.
Even leaving aside the fact that Labour is a trashcan on fire, they do not oppose Brexit. So under FPTP, the 48% who didn’t vote for Brexit (and those who didn’t vote in the referendum but have since woken up) literally have no-one to vote for in most constituencies. A (pretty much inevitable) Tory victory will be spun as a second, stronger mandate for Brexit, which given these circumstances it absolutely cannot be.
If May was truly worried about the legitimacy and backing for her actions, she would call another EU referendum, not a general election. But no, this is a discursive power grab, and it will be used to legitimise this country’s further descent into outright fascism, all under the guise of unity and stability.
So what do we do? We make it blindingly obvious that the country has not come together, that we do not buy the lies. We call her out every time she opens her mouth. We march, we make noise. We fight back.