This speech was delivered at the People’s Charter Brexit “splinter protest” on Saturday 21st January. Video follows below.
Check against delivery.
Hello. I am Simon Gibbs. I am a libertarian and I voted leave.
Since part of what I do is representing the interests of other libertarians, I want to mention that not all libertarians voted leave.
Some felt that leaving now would cause chaos and it was better to wait.
Some felt a government that we hate is better for us than one we love.
Most of us, including myself, have very little sympathy for the notion of borders.
Others felt that Brexit, justified on the basis of that EU immigration is a bad thing, would uncork the bottle on pent up racism and cultural resentments.
Some of those arguments have merit and are important.
What is of primary importance is that the will of the people is enacted. I don’t always like democracy but democracy is our system and a vote has been taken.
There will be another vote. The biggest danger that I sense to the referendum result is that the people will change their minds.
This movement needs to keep itself strong. It needs to “work together”, yes. Kum by ah and all that.
To win again The movement also needs to be seen to be decent and good.
Theresa May’s red line on control of immigration is not helping. It associates Brexit with immigration. It makes her and us seem mean.
It is as if she believes immigration control to be the biggest demand the public has. As if she believes the media narrative that we are all mean nasty racist scum.
Immigration control is not the biggest demand the public has.
If you look at actual polls you see that immigration is the second most important consideration after democracy.
Across the population it is the primary concern of less than one fifth of the population. At least one quarter of us said, quite plainly, that democracy was more important than immigration.
Domestic control of domestic affairs is this movements key demand.
I fear that May’s Brexit will leave us subordinate to some set of obscure trade rules and will make being mean to foreigners a priority instead.
Well not in my name!
How we are portrayed and how we are discussed does not reflect who we are. First we must be clear in our minds hat if we get democracy, then all else can follow and we must be united on that key priority.
Second we must be clear when we speak to others and when others speak about us to ensure the truth about us is visible to the public outside our movement. To the people who also have a right to be represented in the forthcoming vote.
We are not mean, stupid or evil. We are good decent people focused on the key ethical and political principles and on the big picture.
We need to stand up, speak clearly, and demand that we are treated fairly.
Video begins at 4m 20s