Activists from the EU referendum Remain Campaign are continuing with plans to pursue criminal prosecutions for many of those who voted to leave the EU.
'We do not wish to be divisive or retaliatory,' said a spokesman for the activists, 'but advice from our legal team confirms that many Brexit voters may be guilty of negligence - and some may be guilty of treason. We believe it to be our public duty to bring these unspeakable criminals to justice.'
The action by Remain activists was triggered by a report published in late November 2016 by the UK Office for Budget Responsibility. The OBR placed a figure on the cost to the British public of the decision to leave the EU. They calculated that the sum involved would reach £220bn by 2020 - around £12,000 for every Brexit vote cast.
'Negligence is defined in law as: "A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances,"' explained the activists' spokesman. 'The OBR report illustrates that significant harm will be caused by Brexit, particularly to the poor and most vulnerable in our society. If Brexit voters were negligent in making their decisions then they should be accountable for that outcome. Culpability in individual cases will be judged on the motivation of the accused.
'We certainly wouldn't wish to criminalise anyone for making an honest error - even such an incredibly crass and stupid one,' continued the spokesman for the Remain activists. 'If a voter had considered the full economic, political and social implications of his or her decision, and had still voted for Brexit, then that person would not be negligent. It is becoming increasingly apparent, however, that many Brexit votes were based on anything but an objective appraisal of the facts.'
Remain activists have already referred many known Brexit voters to the police, and forces throughout the UK have begun to arrest and interview suspects. A freedom of information request has revealed a list of the most frequent justifications for a Brexit vote cited during those police interviews.
- I was feeling a bit cross about life in general, blamed David Cameron, and voted Brexit to annoy him and his type.
- I dislike and distrust foreigners of all kinds, and I voted Brexit to reduce the risk of encountering any.
- I was doing what the tabloids wanted me to do, as usual, without thinking for myself.
- Boris Johnson supported Brexit, and he was great fun on the UK TV programme, "Have I Got News For You".
- I resent people who are younger (or better educated) (or better off) than I am. I thought voting Brexit would irritate the hell out of all of them.
- I really believed that there would be £350m extra each week for the NHS. I was never much good at maths at school.
- I thought Jeremy Corbyn supported Brexit. I can't recall him saying otherwise.
- I'm quite comfortably off, and, at my advanced age, I don't have to worry too much about the future, so I thought: "up-yours Brussels!"
'If someone chose to drink and drive, and then seriously hurt someone as a result,' continued the spokesman for the Remain activists, 'most people would agree that legal action against that person was appropriate. Most people would conclude that the decision to drink and drive had been negligent.
'An ill-thought-through, irresponsible vote that contributed to Brexit must surely be considered in a similar way.
'We accept that many Brexit voters may have failed to grasp the seriousness of what they were doing,' he continued. 'The same could be said of many drunk drivers, however, but such a lack of foresight does not absolve them from guilt.
'It's also true that the voting process may have encouraged silliness,' the spokesman noted. 'A secret ballot means that people can be tempted to vote for anyone or anything - however bizarre. As a result, it's easy for individual voters to overlook personal moral responsibility for their choices.
'With democratic rights, however, come responsibilities, and it's simply unacceptable to make capricious decisions that seriously harm fellow citizens without being subject to accountability.'
Many Brexit voters now, of course, vehemently deny that they voted in the way they did and rely on the secrecy of the ballot to preserve their confidentiality.
Remain activists believe it inappropriate for this protection to continue. They, once again, draw an analogy with drink-driving: 'Many Brexit voters have behaved like inebriated hit-and-run drivers,' continued the spokesman for the Remain activists. 'It's simply wrong that anonymity should shield them from justice.'
Despite the secrecy of the EU referendum ballot, police have confirmed that it will be straightforward to identify Brexit voters. The Representation of the People Act 1983 requires that ballot papers used to cast votes in British elections or referenda must be stored for a year and a day, prior to their destruction. All such papers for the EU referendum are currently held in a warehouse in Hayes, Middlesex.
Modern developments in forensic science have allowed DNA and other chemical markers to be recovered from any object that a person has handled. It is now possible, therefore, to chemically analyse those papers, compare the results with medical and forensic databases, and electoral registers, and establish a list of all those who voted for Brexit.
It is expected that most Brexit voters will be charged with negligence and, if convicted by a jury of Remainers, be ordered to repay to the treasury the £12,000 that their vote will cost the country. Due to the enormous damage that will be caused to the UK by Brexit, however, an alternative charge of treason may be brought in some circumstances.
'The charge of treason will be reserved for exceptional cases,' confirmed the spokesman for the Remain activists. 'That may include, for example, public figures who cynically supported Brexit to further their political careers. In the case of Boris Johnson we will lobby for a charge of high treason and, if he is convicted, the death penalty.'
Remain activists hope that prosecution of Brexit voters will send a clear message to the voting public about their responsibility to make sensible decisions based on an intelligent appraisal of facts - rather as if they were serving on a jury in a court of law.
The progress of the Remain activists' campaign is being closely monitored elsewhere in the world. There has already been interest from the US where consideration is being given to the prosecution of Donald Trump's supporters on similar grounds.