As many of you know, I have been campaigning for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal. That is a vote between the deal negotiated, which is increasingly looking like no deal – i.e crashing out, or the option to remain.
The campaign has grown steadily but I feel a growing sense of despair at the lack of support and apathy from many of my friends who are all in their thirties, so will be directly affected by Brexit for decades, and who all want to remain in the EU.
In theory, they should all be supporters, but they’re not.
The general consensus I’m getting is that they feel there’s nothing that can be done and we must follow, zombie-like, the direction set by the first referendum, even though all agree that the terms on which Brexit was sold in 2016 were misleading and unachievable and Brexit is potentially disastrous.
In light of this, I’d like to outline, in simple terms, why something can be done and why another vote can and should happen in an unashamedly desperate bid to get them on side!
ONE: The first referendum was ADVISORY not legally binding. Also, the final out come – what Brexit meant in real-terms – was not clearly defined. No matter how many times people claim they knew what they were voting for, you’ll find the reasons are often different depending on who you ask.
TWO: Russia possibly interfered in the Brexit referendum as they did the US election.
THREE: What is more democratic than another vote when we know the first campaign was based on misleading statements and misinformation?
Furthermore, once we know what Brexit really is – what it can be technically and realistically – it should either be reaffirmed by the public or rejected. Then there can be no arguments in the future. No one can then argue that they didn’t know what they were voting for or that other people didn’t know what they were voting for.
Not to mention all the new information we now know. Let’s face it, none of us understood the EU before but now we do much better. Why is it we can vote every five years for a new government but not once more on the most important decision our country will make since the Second World War?
FOUR: There is a mandate for a new vote: More than 100 Westminster constituencies that voted to leave the EU have now switched their support to Remain. There are several studies/ polling that show this; here’s one by the Evening Standard,
FIVE: Lastly, a People’s Vote is legally and technically possible. It’s complex – yes, but absolutely possible. Here’s a breakdown of how.
Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston says it best, I think, when she says it is about giving informed consent to the decision. Once the deal/ or no deal is decided she wants an independent body to outline in simple terms the benefits – if there are any – and the impacts for the public to decide on. I think this makes perfect and complete sense.
After this, unequivocally, the outcome must be respected by both sides.
I understand people’s apathy, I really do, and I wasn’t here for the first referendum so perhaps I have less Brexit fatigue.
And I’m also cautious about a second referendum.
I don’t think it’s a case of one side beating the other. I respect people who voted leave. Yes, I am often frustrated by some of their arguments or refusal to engage, but I do respect their concerns.
We must address them, but we need to be realistic about what caused those concerns and often it’s clear that it wasn’t anything to do with the EU.
We now know, for example, our public services aren’t strained by EU migrants because they contribute more than they take out our system. An independent government-commissioned report confirmed this.
Leaving the EU likely won’t reduce immigration, because we rely heavily on it, it will introduce more immigration from other countries such as India, Philippines, South America etc. Same immigration but just from different places.
And we need to work towards addressing the issues in the EU that people find problematic, like the European Court of Human Rights and other things.
There is something you can do to stop this disastrous Brexit, so please don’t pretend there isn’t. Let’s march on Saturday, sign the petition, email your MP, visit them at their surgery and make sure they know you support another vote – if indeed you do.
Interested to hear your thoughts. And I will follow up with a blog on what can be done.