Guest post: Why are politicians determined to honour a corrupted referendum?

This is a question that has bothered me considerably so I am delighted to host Tony O’Malley’s article asking why our political parties are determined to ignore the “lies, misrepresentations, cheating, illegality and probably criminality” of the 2016 EU referendum.

He says he understands left-wing members of the Labour Party have advocated that it is time to “move on”.

The problem is that we can’t. The whole of the UK is in stalemate over the issue.

Perhaps the reason for that is the insistence that we accept a corrupted result and “move on”, despite knowing that doing so will harm us.

Here’s Mr O’Malley [all boldings are mine]:

I have always considered myself a passionate believer in socialism, the internationalism of the Labour movement and Jeremy Corbyn.

I am also a litigation solicitor, who is now ‘retired’ due to various disabilities and health issues. In a prior career, I was a Registered General & Mental Nurse. I had been a member of the governing body of a major independent trades union & professional organisation (RCN), and I had the privilege of being the first ever elected U.K. President of the European Nursing Students Organisation. I have always fought tirelessly for justice for nurses, and especially for student nurses, as I consider them the future of a most noble profession and central to the delivery of high quality care and compassion in our renowned health service.

I voted Remain in the 2016 referendum. For me, it was an easy choice, though I did recognise that much institutional and policy reform was likely to be required if the EU, and the multiplicity of it’s constituent parts was to function better for the people of our continent, and thrive going forward. For quite some time now, I have been raising issues and queries with Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, Jennie Formby, Keir Starmer, and others. These many digital communications have sought early answers to the question of what was our party’s position with regard to the disturbing findings of the UK Electoral Commission about the running, result and supervision of the 2016 EU referendum. Sadly, I have not yet received any responses whatsoever, to any of my many attempts to engage in good faith with Labour politicians and officials who need to explain to me how political expediency now appears to have become so legitimate.

Whilst certain aspects of the actions by Leave campaign groups still remain under investigation by the National Crime Agency, there is already ample evidence in the public domain which reveals that the referendum result cannot be seen as the ‘will of the people’, because of the lies, misrepresentations, cheating, illegality and probably criminality which infested the whole sorry exercise. The courts have stated that, had the referendum not been legally constructed as being that of an ‘advisory’ referendum only, then they could have overturned the result because of the many serious concerns that have already been expressed and which would have been anathema to our long-standing principles of democracy and fair play.

David Cameron’s Conservative government really messed up when they committed, in a leaflet, to honouring the referendum result, when no such power for them to do so existed within the legal structure of the plebiscite.

In all other aspects of our society, we firmly and consistently adhere to the ancient principle that ‘cheats should not prosper’. The penalties for cheating in sport, business, academic testing and in many other areas of human endeavour, generally involve the complete loss of any advantage that the cheater obtained through their disreputable actions. In sport, for example, the winner’s medal would be forfeited if their performance could be shown to have been enhanced by illicit substances or done by any other breach of the rules. If I cheat in a college or school exam, then it should reasonably be expected that I do not receive the benefit that such cheating had given rise to! Nobody would realistically object to a race, match or other competition being re-run, or the prize being awarded to a non-cheater, if cheating was considered to have polluted the integrity of the initial event. This universal reaction is so uncontentious that it barely merits further debate.

Why is it then, when it comes to the widespread cheating and illegality that has been revealed in respect of the 2016 EU referendum, that politicians, the MSM and large sections of our civil society, can choose to close their eyes, and discard their moral compasses on the basis of shallow and temporary political expediency?

I have sadly witnessed a number of voices on the left of our political spectrum recently stating that it is time to ‘move on’ in respect of this unresolved issue. This response has shocked me to my core. If the Labour movement doesn’t stand for justice, then I’m afraid it doesn’t stand for very much!

How would the Hillsborough families, the Grenfell families, the Windrush families, the Orgreave families, the Palestinians and more, have reacted to the statement that it was ‘time to move on’, when their grievances and quest for justice remained unresolved after the long passage of time?

The truth is that it can never be acceptable to sacrifice our core beliefs, as we apparently appear to be doing in this shameful situation. Once you let that genie out of the bottle, it can can never be returned there. A precedent becomes set, that in certain circumstances we can give a nod and a wink to the flouting of the rule of law.

That abrogation of our core beliefs and principles will no doubt visit us again, and again, in forms not yet identified, but with potential unfathomable consequences for the Labour movement and our society.


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5 thoughts on “Guest post: Why are politicians determined to honour a corrupted referendum?

  1. nmac064

    I believe that we are in the hands of a bunch of right wing thugs who, frequently, hint of violence if their criminal and corrupt referendum is not honoured.

  2. Simonsky

    Not sure the comparison with Hillsborough is valid at all the nature of the incident being quite different. The 2016 referendum was misinformation on ALL sides (with potential criminality and outright lying in the Brexit camp)

    But we do need to move on to the real issues and not let the Remain/Leave thing obscure them:

    Finanialisation (itself arguably criminal)
    The Housing scam which has been 40 years of financial rapine from the banks
    Lack of decent jobs and training
    The horrific treatment of the poo/ill/disabled which Mike has documented so well
    Sustainable energy
    Infrastructure renewal

    We are ‘lucky’ in the UK that we have the ONLY successful Left resurgence in Europe and out of the EU we can show Europe (not the same as the EU!) what a non-neoliberal Government can do and send ripples across the continent. In the EU we will be fighting the repeal of treaties and the acquis communautaire for years.

  3. Growing Flame

    Part of the explanation probably involves what some call “optics” ie what it would “look like” if we , the Labour Party, started to question the whole referendum result . There would be a barrage of “sour grapes” accusations. We would seem to be trying to wriggle out of a difficult result.

    The fact that the Leave side blatantly lied, for example about how £350 million per week would be available for the NHS, or that leaving would be “easy” as would negotiating trade deals with other countries or claiming that the EU “needs us as much as we need them” etc is , for many people ,”normal” political discussions. Politicians are expected to exaggerate or present a biased view.

    The fact that over 80% of the newspapers read in Britain campaigned daily for Brexit is a clear example of the result being rigged. But those newspapers have always been nasty, right-wing rags. To raise these issues now might actually tell us a lot about Britain’s bent society. So the same mass media that gave us Brexit, are not going to discuss the extreme bias …in their own mass media.

    It is noticeable that hardly any media pundit, or politician mentions that the referendum result was :—-

    Leave 37%
    Remain 35%
    Abstain 28%

    Hardly a ringing endorsement of any position and hardly a clear “voice of the people ” result.

    But, as I say, it would just “look really bad” if Labour started to question the result and the way it was obtained. Because that would cut to the heart of our corrupt system just at the very moment that we are thinking seriously about getting into power in a General Election with the best manifesto in a generation.

  4. Jenny Hambidge

    That is brilliant but it doesn’T answer why so mant people are buying it – that doesn;t matter that the rerendum was not just flawed but deeply unlawfully run. Who gains? Why aren’t people rioting by now- Its not the British way I guess .We don’t like to make a fuss. Or the other British trait- complete apathy “let someone else deal with it”

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