Brexit means Brexit means Brexit means Brexit
The era of platitude politics in the day’s of post-truth.
Take Back Control! This is the mantra that has changed British politics forever. What does it mean? Any volunteers? Boris? Ah, you don’t know either? Okay then, fab.
The truth is, ‘Take Back Control’ as much as it has changed everything in British politics, is a meaningless platitude. Sure, some leave supporters will try and claim it means this or that or it speaks to that group; but ultimately, nobody can give a definitive answer as to what it means.
This is representative of a trend in modern politics, a trend now borne out in the rejoinder Brexit means Brexit. This type of sharp, silky, yet meaningless rhetorical statement is becoming increasingly prevalent in our modern political discourse and this is a problem. A really really big problem.
This problem with rhetorical statements like this is that they offer no substance to be questioned, the offer no intimation of what is to come and they offer no basis upon which we can hold officials to account. Because regardless of my thoughts on Brexit, the vote to leave meant something to each and every person who supported it.
To some Brexit meant a points based immigration system, to others, it means a new frontier of global free trade; perhaps most compelling of all the promises was the prospect of bringing power back home. Taking this into account, one thing Brexit definitely did not mean was a blank cheque for the government to do whatever it pleases behind closed doors.
This is the fundamental problem with a rejoinder like Brexit means Brexit, obviously, Brexit means we are in fact leaving the EU but people need and deserve to know more than this. Parliamentarians need and deserve a chance to debate and criticise a real plan. In truth these phrases, these rhetorical remarks, devoid of all meaning, represent one thing, that is a derogation of duty by our government.
I’m not taking an issue with slogan politics, not really. Indeed, I often wish that The Greens would become slightly more slogan savvy, we are often guilty of being much too convoluted. However, I am taking issue with the making of intentionally vague remarks and responses, such as Brexit means Brexit, which say nothing and effectively allow cabinet ministers to avoid all scrutiny and political campaigns to gain votes without actually saying anything they can be held too.
In short, we must be very careful. If we do not now call out this type of insipid rhetoric, the already low standards of democratic accountability in this country will fall yet further.