We need to embrace people who voted to leave if we really want to stop Brexit

James Moore
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Brexit march: Best signs from the Put It To The People protest

How many people will have signed the petition calling for Article 50 to be revoked by the end of today’s Put It To The People march kicks off? Five million?

The sheer number to date, and the speed at which they’ve been coming, has already crashed the government’s petitions website several times. Kudos to those working on it, by the way. They’ve been sweating blood.

Trust Andrea Leadsom to come up with a predictably crass and mean-spirited response to people who care enough about their country to sign and go through the email verification process. Being thoroughly nasty is about the only thing she’s good at.

You won’t be at all surprised to learn that she sneered about only taking notice if the numbers match the 17.4 million who voted to leave.

Leadsom really is the Tories’ Kylo Ren. For the uninitiated he’s the pouting villain of the latest Star Wars trilogy who stands out from his predecessors by dint of his violent, bratty tantrums. But even with them, he manages to muster more charm than the current leader of the House of Commons.

The obvious counter to her argument is that the vote was held three years ago and what was promised by the Leave campaign was so starkly different to what we’re now being handed by the dismal government in which she serves as one of the dimmer lights that the case for a fresh referendum is all but unimpeachable.

But it is also the case that a lot of people have changed their minds, by contrast to what you’ll see reported by some broadcasters, and Brexit-backing news outlets.

Their presence undermines the central argument – now the only argument – that the snarling mob of media Brexiteers puts up. It is the claim that “democracy demands the referendum is delivered”. It’s also the only argument that Theresa May can muster these days.

To it, the switchers reply thusly: “Hang on a minute, we were among those 17.4 million and we were sold a pup. If this were a real democracy, rather than something that increasingly looks much darker, we’d get a Final Say.”

PS: Many prominent leavers admitted the need for second poll during the campaign. Funny how they’ve all gone quiet about that.

I’ve written before that the Remainer Now community, a grassroots network of former Leave voters, could be key to winning a fresh vote, should one be secured. But, of course, the first step is to actually get one.

Their input into the campaigning for one is, I would submit, even more important.

For a start, they are not the same old faces. They are new and fresh to this debate. They also aren’t politicians, but they might prove very effective at countering the hackneyed arguments that some of them put up.

I’m told there has been contact made with, for example, People’s Vote, but it hasn’t gone as far as it should. That is a source of frustration to me.

Remainer Now has a noisy presence on Twitter, and on YouTube. It has been doing a fine job campaigning with only limited resources, but isn’t getting the hearing it should get.

Our country stands on the edge of a precipice. It is being run by a prime minister who appears increasingly deranged, who has the arrogance to tell a divided “British people” what they think, and who has been accused of inciting violence against MPs. Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle has already been assaulted. The Independent Group’s Anna Soubry cannot return home at night. Others have had multiple locks and panic buttons fitted.

All the more reason, then, to hear from people who are saying no, no, no, this is horrible. We reject it. Utterly. We did not vote for this, nor anything like it. It is not what was sold.

Remainer Now has been crowdfunding as part of a DIY effort to boost its profile – in case you are interested. It shouldn’t have to be doing that. It should be front and centre right now.

Countering Andrea Leadsom’s bile would be just the start of the benefits.

They will be at today’s march, and I would encourage you to give them a warm welcome. They matter. We need them.