Opinion

GRANDE: Brexit Is More Than A British Concern

REUTERS/Toby Melville

Peggy Grande Former Executive Assistant, Ronald Reagan

The United Kingdom is one of the longest-standing democracies in the world. In 2016, 17.4 million people (a majority of nearly 52 percent) voted in a national referendum for Brexit — to leave the European Union. Three years later, polling shows that an even greater majority — 57 percent of the people in the U.K. — want to leave. They want what they voted for, and yet, Parliament has refused to honor their will and implement that exit. Could there be a more visible example of obstruction of democracy? 

The world shows outrage when democracy is absent in places like Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Where is the global outrage over the refusal to execute Brexit? If this thwarting of the will of the people can happen there, it can happen anywhere. The rest of the free world is watching democracy being undermined in the U.K. and is wondering — are we next?

Political lines are being redrawn in the U.K. — not left or right — but “Leave” or “Remain.” It has become the defining question of a generation. Not just in the U.K either, but well beyond its borders; this is a historic and symbolic moment, key in determining which way the world moves forward. 

Will we tolerate supranational coalitions governing against the will of the people — creating additional layers of bureaucracy in which our leaders insulate themselves from the people they represent? (RELATED: In The Dead Of Night, British MPs Murdered Democracy)

Will we allow appointed, rather than elected, officials to govern people, thus denying the populous any recourse over them?

Do we believe in the sanctity of each vote, in voter integrity and in continuing to place faith in elected officials to do the will of the people they serve?

The global narrative regarding Brexit portrays it strictly as a rejection of membership in the E.U. However, it was not truly a vote against anything; it was a vote for something. The British people voted to Leave as a statement of confidence. A vote for Brexit was an expression of strength and belief in the United Kingdom’s ability as a nation to self-govern. An articulation to the world that the U.K. could — and should — once again stand alone as a successful, independent nation. It was a bold and emphatic vote of belief in themselves and their fellow countrymen that it is time once again to lead, not follow.

Brexit wasn’t a mistake. It was voted on by informed citizens of the U.K. They deserve to be heard and have their democratically expressed voices realized. It doesn’t matter if you support Brexit. We all should support free and fair elections, and the sanctity of their result. In a functioning democracy, since when does acceptance of the vote and implementation of its mandate require the loser’s consent?

There are many in Parliament who believe that getting their way by remaining in the E.U. is a more noble goal than democracy itself. They know Brexit is a pending motion in need of implementation. There is no dispute the majority of people voted to leave. What they are disputing is how.

The Brexit vote is not a deviation from democracy; it’s an affirmation of democracy. The true deviation is surrendering direct accountability to the voters to a secondary layer of authority over whom the people being governed have no voice. The people of the U.K. are under the rule of both Westminster and Brussels.

Critics say the E.U. provides stability. The reality is that in France, Macron has a 27 percent approval rating with ongoing rioting in the streets. In Germany, Merkel cannot sustain a governing coalition. Italy’s economy is on life support, and Greece and Portugal are constantly being bailed out by the E.U. Hardly stable. It’s more like trying to run a three-legged race with a partner with broken legs. The U.K. can be strong in its independence and friendly with its neighbors without giving up its rights. The two are not mutually exclusive. 

The megaphone of the powerful and the media is hostile toward Brexit and generates fear: Fear of the unknown. Fear of economic disaster. Fear of World War III. Fear of isolation. On the contrary, the implementation of Brexit will allow the U.K. to re-establish ties to trading partners who are currently alienated by the E.U. Britain should have a global future, not just a European alliance.

U.K. voters assumed once they voted, Brexit would happen. Instead of the end, the Brexit vote has been the beginning of a failed process. We need to join together to be champions for nationhood, freedom and democracy — and, most importantly, to back the will of the people of the U.K. and backing the national approval to Leave.

The launch of World For Brexit is a strong signal that a coalition of allies stand in support of the results of direct democracy in the U.K. and around the world.

We need to champion the causes of independence, self-governance and sovereignty and show a broad base of support that extends far beyond the E.U. The rest of the world is waiting to welcome back a strong, independent and sovereign United Kingdom.

Peggy Grande (@Peggy_Grande) is the chair of World for Brexit and author of “The President Will See You Now: My Stories and Lessons from Ronald Reagan’s Final Years.” She was the executive assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1989 to 1999.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.