Gina Miller is either a selfless saviour or a destroyer of democracy, depending on your political stance. She emerged post-Brexit referendum when she brought the weight of the High Court against the government, fighting to stop Article 50 being triggered without Parliament’s approval. She won. The vicious abuse she received from the public thereafter reached such intensity that Miller and her family were placed under police protection. But now she’s back to make every vote count in this week’s European parliamentary election – a proxy People’s Vote.
The 54-year-old business owner’s top tip for sticking it to the establishment might be a first: she wants you to vote Liberal Democrat. Or, if you’re in Scotland, SNP; Plaid Cymru in Wales. It’s part of her tactical voting model, designed to block Brexiteers from Brussels.
Research commissioned by her via Remain United suggests the Brexit Party could take nearly 40 per cent of votes overall. The campaign claims no political allegiances, but its stance on the EU is clear: “If Brexiteers represent us for the next five years, they’ll destroy our place in the EU from within,” Miller says.
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Other polls put Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party at 30 per cent, compared to Labour’s 21 per cent and the Tories’ 12 per cent (which would be the party’s worst performance in a nationwide election since 1834). Miller’s model makes recommendations to people on how to vote based on the most popular pro-EU party in their region.
“I call myself a transparency campaigner,” she says. “I’ve always felt the most important thing is that the general public have the ability to make an informed choice and they should be told the truth. Only then can we confidently make decisions for the country. It’s something we’re missing in the political sphere.”
The complex transferable vote system of the European election can put smaller parties at a disadvantage. There are five parties to split the Remain vote, according to Remain United – they don’t count Labour as one of those – which, combined with the expected low turnout, could give the Brexit Party and UKIP a boost. Miller thinks that could impede the UK’s ability to navigate a soft Brexit or revoke Article 50.
Instead of basing predictions on the 2014 EU election, Remain United is working from real-time polling – and an algorithm to factor in the Brexit Party and Change UK.
A strong woman of colour is seen as a threat,
Miller explains: “Some people say they can predict when you’re falling in and out of love before you know. We’ve used that tech and we’re tracking how people are falling in and out of love with political parties.” Even the week before the election, Miller and her team watched voters shift allegiance in real time.
Miller’s fight hasn’t been without consequence for her and her family. She remains under the protection of an anti-terrorism squad; the threats of death and violence she received after launching her High Court case in 2016 have continued ever since.
It’s a pattern. “A strong woman of colour is seen as a threat,” Miller says. “If people think I’m capable of bringing down a government, that’s quite a compliment. But it’s a really sad thing. When I do school speakings, I look at the girls who might grow up to hear the same kind of abuse as me, and I let them know you have to stay strong. Other people don’t have the ability to diminish you like you think they do.”
Remain United published its first data this month and is set to release the most up-to-date figures on May 21. It is, Miller says, protest by data – levelling the playing field.
She explains: “I’m not interested in the small politics. I’m more interested in the data, the bigger outcome. It’s time the people had a respectable, pragmatic, unbiased force like Remain United. One that empowers them to go out and get what they want.”
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