Citizens of nowhere, the 48 per cent, the “suck it up losers”, the snowflakes, #FBPEs, the remoaners. Over the last two and a half years, we’ve been called it all. And in a very British, don’t like to complain, orderly queueing kind of way, we have accepted it. That’s how we behave in this country. Stiff upper lip and all that. We – I – triggered Article 50.
But we also don’t like being bullied. We have an innate sense of fairness and though we may stay out of the fight for as long as is possible, when we break, we break. And in the last 24 hours, I have never felt so proudly British.
Last night, and still this morning, that precious sense of fairness and a demand to be heard is being urgently passed, like a baton, across these isles from friend to neighbour to relative to work colleague.
And there is a need for urgency. Despite the EU’s agreement on an extension, our time remains frighteningly short.
For two years we have waited patiently, sympathetically, willingly, for the prime minister to get that deal. She has given it everything she’s got; we know and respect that. But when she decided to invite a third party into the negotiations, the right wing of the Conservative Party, she made a fundamental error of judgement.
With their sights firmly set on returning the country to the heady days of colonial independence and, in their view, glory, they were never going to be interested in any kind of deal with our European neighbours. They want no deal. They always have. They want true “freedom” as they see it.
And that error of judgement has brought this country to the brink of national crisis.
A prime minister, devoid of emotional intelligence, unwilling to recognise the public mood or work cross-party is failing this nation. What kind of prime minister prioritises her party above the national interest and brings us to the brink? I can find no words.
No longer being prepared to be tarnished by association is one of the reasons I left the Conservative Party and joined The Independent Group. When our country needed them most, the old, ideologically grounded political parties failed it.
Members of parliament have been denied their democratic mandate and denied their voice by a government and an opposition operating in a culture of control and paranoia.
We must be allowed free votes on the other options still available to us. A different kind of deal, a confirmatory public vote or indeed, should the crisis become so deep, a revocation of Article 50 as so many have now called for.
The prime minister must accept she has failed and let go.
The leader of the opposition must accept he does not own the solution either. Let us do what we were elected to do. Trust us to do our job. Trust us to know what is best for our constituents and let us exercise our democratic mandate.
On Saturday, we need your help to send that message.
I and my fellow MPs, TIGgers and all, will take to the streets for the Put It To The People march. Join us if you can, sign The Independent’s petition if you can’t.
Grab hold of that baton and pass it on. The time is short, but our national pride is high. Don’t let the government, the opposition, the establishment bully you. This should be your decision.
This is a moment for the people, led by the people.