What’s the big deal about cancelling Brexit? It’s not legally binding. It is, when all is said and done, a promise.
Governments break promises all the time. Every day. And people don’t revolt. They accept that circumstances change, that not every promise turns out to be deliverable.
Promises are not sacrosanct, because they are not always compatible. Sometimes, keeping one promise necessitates breaking another. If the Tories uphold their commitment to Brexit, for example, it could well mean they have to renege on their vows on the NHS and on tax.
This government has already thrown its manifesto commitment to austerity under the Brexit bus. One promise broken so that another can be kept. If a hard Brexit falls, it will have to abandon many more.
WHY DOES THE REFERENDUM VOTE — WHICH THEY COULD HAVE MADE LEGALLY BINDING, BUT DIDN’T — OUTWEIGH ALL OTHER PROMISES? Promises to expats, to EU citizens in the UK, to banks, to businesses, to people on benefits, to single parents, to international partners, to the old, the less able, and the sick?
Rail improvements. The benefit cap. Tax-free childcare. The Conservative government has followed through on none of these manifesto promises so far — promises on the back of which they were elected to power — and shows no sign of doing so. But people aren’t taking to the streets.
Since when is one promise worth sacrificing not just all your other promises for, but all your values, and everything else you ever held dear?