MAY wanted legacy for taking the UK out of the EU, preserving the Westminster system; national parliaments reduced to local government, human rights removed from constitutional claims

May’s close advisers described their approach as a ‘new model conservatism’, with overtones of Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army. But he led a civil war that oversaw a regicide – not just the summary firing of a chancellor of the exchequer out of the back door of Downing Street. If Brexit was an uprising against the governing ‘political elite’ and their international friends, it was also a challenge to the way policies are imposed. ‘Take back control’ has thrilling, democratic implications if it means that people themselves start to take control. Brexit was not just about unfair policies, it was also directed at who made decisions and how policy is decided. Freedom from the European Union should have delivered the country on a more democratic course, replacing the hyper-centralisation of Whitehall and winner-takes-all elected dictatorship as well. Instead, re-imposing them will crush the vitality and democracy out of Brexit.

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