Very good by @SKinnock: practise what you preach, Remainers https://t.co/TIlvyV63O9 pic.twitter.com/NVs9beBmxN— John Rentoul (@JohnRentoul) November 17, 2016
Brexiters who tell remainers to "get over it" are people who think losing the referendum is like losing at football or having your favourite celebrity voted out of a reality TV programme. Brexit is an economic catastrophe in waiting (how big a catastrophe depends on some decisions within our control and many without our control, but there will be a great deal more red tape and a relative, if not an absolute, reduction in real UK living standards). More significantly – at least to those directly impacted like my own family – Brexit represents an assault on the rights and freedoms and lives of millions of people in the UK and the rest of Europe.
True democracy has checks and balances. It is not a system whereby a majority of those who vote can impose any whim – no matter how damaging – on the rest of the population. I rather doubt that that Messrs Rentoul and Kinnock would be quite so sanguine over a majority vote to (say) permanently banish all MPs and journalists from anywhere south of Watford Gap – unless they applied for special papers.
If the vote had gone other way: 52% remain 48% leave, I should have been relieved but still deeply dismayed that 48% despised other Europeans to an extent that they were prepared to reduce their own living standards in order to prevent those foreigners coming here. (Let us not kid ourselves, cries of “we want back control and sovereignty” were just a more politically correct version of “send them back!”.) Moreover, Farage and his ilk would have never “got over it” (as he made perfectly clear before the vote) if it had gone the other way and he – and his fellow travellers in the Conservative party – would have carried on stirring up hate and division and fighting to leave.
There are approximately three million EU citizens here in the UK and approximately two million British citizens living and working in the EU – with families and loved ones – who are absolutely terrified as to what the future holds. We will use any legal and democratic means to thwart the plans of the Brexiters. If (and you may scoff but it has happened often enough before in history) they begin rounding up families (who came here legally) and interning them and forcibly deporting them, I personally would support civil disobedience to protect the deportees. In fact, I should argue that civil disobedience was a moral duty.
We are never going to “get over this”. We are going to keep fighting for our values of internationalism and tolerance - and for whatever rights we can salvage from the mess of Brexit – as long as we draw breath.