Today Alisha Lewis and I went to support those people who are campaigning to get a “Peoples Vote” or, as Vince Cable puts it, a first referendum on the facts! Lime Street was both wet and windy but that did not diminish the enthusiasm with which the gallant band asked people’s opinion on two key questions. People stopped massively wanted to remain in the EU and also massively demanded a People’s vote to settle the matter.
We don’t know what will happen in the ‘meaningless’ vote on Tuesday but we can reasonably assume that the aftermath will be chaotic. All the pundits say that May cannot win the vote and that does seem the most likely outcome. The question then is, “what next?” Who really knows?As I listen to both politicians and pundits alike it is clear that there a bewildering series of opportunities which can be summarised as:
- Go back and negotiate again – but it is not clear what the negotiating points would be when the EU say that this is their best offer.
- Exit without an agreement – but surely Parliament would never allow this option which would cripple our economy.
- Go for a Canada++ deal. But that isn’t on the table
- Go for a Norway style deal but the Norwegians do not recommend that option
- Have a vote of ‘No Confidence’ but the DUP will get back to their pro-Tory Partnership and no Tory will break ranks
- Theresa May could call a General Election but that seems unlikely given her relative lack of success at the last one.
- Theresa May steps down and the Tories appoint a new Leader and therefore PM after Christmas – but that will not change the maths in the Parliament or the chances of getting anything different past the EU and time is very, very short to do anything.
So, all that leaves is really just one option. If the matter cannot be settled in Parliament it must go back to the people for a vote now that we know the options and the facts have shone through the mists and myths.
The question, to my mind, is very simple:
Given that the Government has negotiated an agreement with the EU do you:
Support the agreement and wish to leave the EU?; or
Reject the agreement and wish to stay in the EU?
Of course, this needs two things to happen:
- Parliament must vote for such a People’s Vote; and
- Either the EU must agree to delay the implementation for Article 50 (which they have agreed to do informally) or article 50 must be withdrawn (which advisers to the EU have recommended could happen without further recourse to the EU 27)
Which of these options proceeds depends on how the Labour Party would vote. What many people seem to have forgotten in the midst of the splits in the Tory Government is that Labour is split in much the same way. In fact, there is more in common between the line being taken by May and Corbyn than there is with most people in their own Parties.
Just as the Tories promised simple solutions and a quick deal for a relationship with the EU that would keep all the ‘advantages’ and remove all the ‘disadvantages’ so does Corbyn. His mantra of a ‘Brexit for Jobs’ is bogus. There is not a single expert including those in his own Party who believe such a thing is possible. All exits from the EU lead to lower investment; worse trading and fewer jobs.
It is as unclear today as it has been since June 2016 what Labour Policy really is. The Labour Conference in Liverpool earlier this year passed by a very large majority a motion calling for a 2nd referendum. Activists assumed that this would mean that Labour Policy would change as the beloved Leader has always made clear for 40 years that the will of Conference should prevail over the MPs. However, that position seems to have shifted since Corbyn became the Leader!
We all know that in his heart Corbyn views the EU as a capitalist conspiracy which can be replaced by a Federation of Socialist States. We had one of those in East Europe and that didn’t work too well did it!?
So, it is clear that whether or not you wanted or want to Remain or wanted or want to Leave this matter cannot be resolved by Parliament although that is what we should expect in a parliamentary democracy. So, we have nowhere to go but back to the People.
You can help with this. E-mail your MP now their e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Demand a People’s Vote and then join millions of us who will campaign for a Remain vote which I am confident will be delivered as the clarity has now been given as to just how awful are the real consequences of leaving.