Politics

Gina Miller on saving democracy and being a 'transparency campaigner'

Miller spoke to the Big Issue about leading the country towards a pro-EU outcome at this week's parliamentary election

Business owner Gina Miller drew media attention when she brought a High Court case against the government – ultimately forcing them to put Article 50 through Parliament before it could be passed.

And now she’s on a mission to rescue the upcoming European parliamentary election from the grip of right-wing, pro-Brexit parties. Her campaign Remain United has built a tactical voting model to guide voters on how to maximise the chances of pro-EU MEPs from 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.” She doesn’t think the country gets that from vocal pro-Brexit candidates.

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. 

But Miller and her family have felt the consequences of her work. 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.”

Read the full interview in this week’s Big Issue.

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