Yesterday, as she attempted to give her very first speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May was forced to battle against the message, blaring over a loudspeaker in the background, which will define her premiership.
“Theresa May, Don’t delay, Article 50 today!” we chanted outside the gates of Downing Street.
The protest was organised by a new campaign – Invoke Article 50 NOW! – which I will be helping to lead this summer. We will be holding Mrs. May’s government to account, and reminding them that they are our servants who must implement our democratic will.
‘We’re standing here today, defending democracy.’
Watch our video of last night’s protest outside Downing Street.
Posted by Invoke Article 50 now – a spiked campaign on Thursday, 14 July 2016
We have already demonstrated outside the offices of Mishcon de Reya, the law firm plotting to block Article 50. And, in surely one of the most English political showdowns ever, we organised a “counter-picnic” against a “picnic against Brexit” where Remain voters planned to “come up with solutions and proposals” to the referendum result.
This is vital work. The powerful, establishment forces that did not want us to leave have not given up. The metropolitan liberals who campaigned against Brexit have not given up – they are coming out onto the streets to make their voices heard, and we must meet them there.
Law firm Mishcon de Reya wants MPs in Parliament – who overwhelming opposed Brexit – to have the final say. Funded by multi-millionaires, such as Zoopla CEO Alex Chesterman, they will use every litigious loophole at their disposal.
David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, has described the public vote as “madness” and demanded MPs to vote it down in our interest. And the Lib Dems and two Labour leadership candidates are promising another referendum on the “final Brexit deal”.
Theses people say the British electorate got it wrong. They say they were “mislead” by a “right wing media”, or were “driven by hatred”. We say they made a rational, democratic choice.
The British people rejected project fear. They saw just what the European Union (EU) was, and 17.4 million people voted for the United Kingdom to leave.
They saw an unaccountable institution filled with unelected bureaucrats, 10,000 of whom earn more than our Prime Minister. They saw the Commission tightening its grip over state power and the individual, robbing us of our parliamentary sovereignty and self-governing, self-determining future.
Over two weeks have passed since our historic vote, but there are no clear signs of us leaving. Theresa May, our new Prime Minister, campaigned to stay in the EU and will delay triggering Article 50 for as long as possible.
Don’t be fooled. The political class are working just as hard to keep us in the EU as they were before the referendum took place. We must keep the pressure on the government and demand that they respect democracy and invoke Article 50 now.
The longer we allow them to ‘plan’, the closer we get to Brexit being kicked into the long grass. That’s why we started our campaign – we must make sure that Brexit happens on the people’s terms.
Invoke Article 50 NOW! isn’t just campaigning for Britain’s exit from the EU to take place as soon as possible, we’re also campaigning to defend the democratic ideal itself.
For too long we have allowed shady, unelected, bureaucratic elites to run the lives of the working class and patriotic middle Britain. This cannot be allowed to continue. We must restore both our parliamentary sovereignty, but also our trust in the power of democracy.
Charlie Peters is a student and coordinator of the Invoke Article 50 Now! Campaign. Follow him on Twitter here.