HAYES IN THE HOUSE: By MP John Hayes
Popular confidence is at the heart of democratic government; those who seek to exercise power must have the trust of those they represent.
Such confidence cannot be taken for granted – it must be earned, and, once attained, nurtured.
A truism of recent years is that Britons have lost faith in politics. There is some merit to this diagnosis, though it is exaggerated by a media hungry for sensation and discord.
It is certainly true that the coverage of foreign wars, domestic scandals and the growth of spin doctors has corroded people’s faith in decision makers, but it is the focus on triviality in public life and the acidic impact of internet-driven negative discourse that has done most harm.
There’s no doubting the reality of low turnouts in elections, a decline in active support for political parties, and a pervasive apathy rooted in fear felt by many that regardless of which party is in Government, little changes fundamentally.
It’s no coincidence that over the time this growing doubt has taken hold, the exercise of power has become diffuse, with soulless corporate behemoths and the mass media acquiring greater influence, and Westminster, simultaneously, ceding sovereignty to the European Union.
Now that Parliament has implemented the decision made by the British people to leave the EU, we have a once in a generation chance to restore popular confidence in democratic government.
By voting to take back control from Brussels, Britons delivered a monumental blow to the liberal elite – many of whom have since oscillated between denial and spite.
Now that we can state with confident certainty that the will of the people is being exercised, Parliament has an opportunity to rebuild lost trust.
After all, until now, some sceptical voters feared that the establishment would concoct a means of frustrating Brexit. With politicians from most parties committed to leaving, the popular voice will finally be heard.
As a proud Brexiteer, casting my vote to give the Government authority to trigger Article 50 – and commence our exit from the EU – was a moment to savour.
Though the process of leaving will take time and inevitably bring challenges we must be bold about our future; for Brexit is not a handicap, but an opportunity for a brighter tomorrow.
By restoring sovereignty we can restore pride, purpose and prosperity; and, in doing all that, rebuild confidence in our nation, and in our politics too.