The New European - - Agenda -

I strongly sup­port the cam­paign for a Peo­ple’s Vote, but I am at loss to un­der­stand why its pro­mot­ers will not even re­veal the most pow­er­ful ar­gu­ment for it: the all-out cam­paign of lies which both Leave groups ran be­fore the 2016 EU ref­er­en­dum, and which very prob­a­bly won it for them.

I was re­minded of that in­com­pre­hen­si­ble fail­ure to level with the pub­lic on Septem­ber 29, as Peo­ple’s Vote cam­paigner Amy Long­land was be­ing in­ter­viewed on Sky News’ Sun­rise. At first, she in­sisted “no­body is say­ing that the out­come of the 2016 ref­er­en­dum is in­valid”. But when a frus­trated Stephen Dixon pressed her on an­other point, her real feel­ings slipped out: “The ref­er­en­dum cam­paign was a re­ally dirty cam­paign.”

Un­til last April, I was re­signed to the out­come of the ref­er­en­dum. Then, that month, Chris Wylie and Shah­mir Sanni’s rev­e­la­tions and sub­se­quent dis­clo­sures, changed ev­ery­thing.

Nigel Farage re­sponded to a re­cent ac­cu­sa­tion of ly­ing by say­ing: “Well, you could ar­gue that for ev­ery elec­tion that’s ever been fought.” In elections, lies are odi­ous, but we elect MPS for a max­i­mum of five years only. For all we know, this ref­er­en­dum re­sult could be for ever. That dif­fer­ence is cru­cial.

Why are those pow­er­ful ar­gu­ments not made by the Peo­ple’s Vote cam­paign, in­stead of re­main­ing un­said?

Paul Smith

Tak­ing part in a ref­er­en­dum on the terms of the deal/no-deal should be com­pul­sory for all those on the vot­ing regis­ter. That would make it more demo­cratic than the orig­i­nal vote and cut through the non­sense that it would cause fric­tion, un­rest or be­trayal.

Ken­neth Brown Stroud

Do we wish to win the next ref­er­en­dum? Be­cause we show no sign of it. Too many of us are hop­ing to scrape over 50%. But increasing stu­dent turnout is not the an­swer. Our aim must be to heal the coun­try and set­tle the ques­tion.

The harms of Brexit will not do it – vot­ers will blame the EU. The eco­nomic case is no more likely to land with the elec­torate than it did in 2016. Show­ing the empti­ness of Brex­iters’ claims will be dis­missed as lack of courage and vi­sion. So what might work?

First, we can make the pos­i­tive case for the EU. Pool­ing sovereignty is much bet­ter than tak­ing back con­trol at ob­tain­ing for us what we want: more pro­tec­tion for work­ers and the en­vi­ron­ment when we know we will not be un­der­cut by other coun­tries.

Sec­ond, we heard you. We re­ally did. The 2016 vote showed a much deeper level of un­hap­pi­ness with the way so­ci­ety works than most of us re­alised. Only some of that was down to the EU. Most of it was Uk-driven.

Our role as cam­paign­ers is to ex­plain how much eas­ier it would be to ad­dress the griev­ances in this coun­try if we stayed. There would be more govern­ment time and ca­pac­ity, more money, the chance for joint ac­tion across the EU.

Michael Romberg W1T

If we can cre­ate a plan to help those ‘left be­hind’ once we ‘re­join’ the EU, then we can go into a Peo­ple’s Vote an­swer­ing the con­cerns of Leavers who are an­gry that their vote has not brought quick change. There may even be an up­surge in those pre­pared to/want­ing to stay. If so, in­stead of say­ing “vote Re­main and the coun­try (but not you) may pros­per” we would be say­ing “here’s a plan to im­prove the lot of peo­ple, es­pe­cially those out­side Lon­don, who have had it rough for 30 years. And stay­ing in the EU will help make this plan hap­pen”.

Even a rough out­line for a bet­ter, shared fu­ture would be more de­fen­si­ble than the hog­wash and lies put up by Leavers.

Peter Davis Bath

Tak­ing the PPI

Our ra­dios have been full of PPI ads for many years. There is a whole in­dus­try built around prom­ises from claims com­pa­nies to get your mis-sold Pay­ment Pro­tec­tion In­sur­ance back for you. Some­times they in­ti­mate they can find money for you even if you don’t think you ever had a pol­icy.

In 2019 will we all be en­ti­tled to mas­sive pay-outs for BBI? Bla­tant Brexit In­com­pe­tence? Bonkers Brexit Im­be­cil­ity? Blind Brexit Id­iocy?

Amanda Baker


Silly Hunt

Which bright speech­writer thought it would be a good idea for Jeremy Hunt to com­pare the EU with the Soviet Union, and say we are pris­on­ers try­ing to es­cape?

In­sult­ing the EU is hardly go­ing to help any ne­go­ti­a­tions. And Theresa May com­plains that she is not shown re­spect!

Pre-brexit I am able to travel freely in Europe and re­tire to the sun, post-brexit I will be de­nied th­ese op­tions. Bri­tons are in­deed pris­on­ers, but the jailer is our govern­ment.

Sheila En­nis Sur­biton

Two years ago, in the EU ref­er­en­dum cam­paign, Boris John­son com­pared this will­ing as­so­ci­a­tion of 28 coun­tries to the Third Re­ich. Now, and two years late, Jeremy Hunt com­pares it to a pri­son, like the de­funct Soviet Union!

Hunt’s grotesque in­sult is not even orig­i­nal. Nigel Farage spat the same ac­cu­sa­tion at EU lead­ers over a decade ago, right in the Euro­pean par­lia­ment. His be­hav­iour at the time was re­garded as un-bri­tish and be­yond the pale. But ev­i­dently, th­ese days, be­yond the pale is

re­garded as the norm in Tory cir­cles.

Hunt knows full well that the UK govern­ment is ab­so­lutely free to take the coun­try out of the EU at any time. If it doesn’t, it’s not be­cause the EU is stop­ping it, but be­cause it has al­ways known that the con­se­quences of such an ac­tion on the UK’S fu­ture would be too cat­a­strophic to con­tem­plate.

Suzanne Martin

Mov­ing on

Felix Si­mon summed it up well in TNE #112 when he said that Euro­peans have moved on. Self-ag­gran­dis­ing Brex­i­teers think that Euro­peans are des­per­ate for Bri­tain to stay. In ac­tual fact, or­di­nary Euro­peans even hope there will be no re­ver­sal, no sec­ond ref­er­en­dum.

What is the point of an al­ways re­luc­tant part­ner re­main­ing only be­grudg­ingly, they think? De­press­ingly, even the Re­main­ers seem to cite mostly eco­nomic ar­gu­ments for re­main­ing. You know, you can’t live on bread alone. The EU is more than just free trade.

How about you leave, have a good decade to think about it, and then re­join as the most mo­ti­vated mem­ber of all. Wouldn’t that be some­thing?

Ju­lian Thomas


My dear Bri­tish broth­ers, it’s with deep sor­row that I’m writ­ing this good­bye let­ter. In July, af­ter nearly 14 years as a French per­son liv­ing and work­ing in Lon­don and con­tribut­ing to this amaz­ing coun­try, I left.

The great di­vide in so­ci­ety opened by the re­sult of the ref­er­en­dum was one of the main rea­son for this depar­ture. I felt un­wel­come.

In ad­di­tion to al­low­ing hate spread­ing across the coun­try, you are now in the big­gest de­nial ex­er­cise ex­pe­ri­enced since the 1930s. Very few peo­ple seem to un­der­stand that when un­leashed, the forces of na­tion­al­ism al­ways lead to the same re­sult: war.

Once the masters of prag­ma­tism, the Brits to­day seem to be leaving in a dream that will turn to a night­mare. The main op­tions were al­ready on the ta­ble be­fore the vote: the Nor­we­gian or Swiss op­tions. The UK de­cided to keep ask­ing for some­thing im­pos­si­ble. When the planes can’t fly to Europe any­more, when the City loses its priv­i­leged po­si­tion, when the short­age of med­i­ca­tion, food etc. be­comes a re­al­ity, the re­ac­tion might be vi­o­lent.

So my dear peo­ple from the UK, please do ask for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum. It’s not too late and it’s the best op­tion to keep your coun­try strong in the world. If you want to make the EU bet­ter, do it from inside. Stay and be like you al­ways used to be: chal­leng­ing us in ev­ery pos­si­ble way, be­ing a lead­ing state of what will the United States of Europe be in a cen­tury or less.

All the best from your French friend who left Lon­don, but still loves your coun­try! Clarence Michel

We’re in a jam

Theresa May’s Brexit Bri­tain ex­hi­bi­tion will re­sem­ble a vil­lage fete in some re­mote area of Bri­tain. A tent will dis­play a small range of Wi-ap­proved jam, with lim­ited fruit con­tent as most fruit will have rot­ted in the fields.

An­other tent will hold the pro­duce from Dig For Vic­tory al­lot­ments through­out the coun­try. Prizes for the big­gest mar­rows.

Tra­di­tional Bri­tish tea cer­e­monies will be on dis­play. Old tin trays hold­ing chipped mugs with tea bags slung in them. The mugs dis­play­ing in­spi­ra­tional mes­sages, such as ‘Keep calm and carry on work­ing un­til you drop’ and ‘Care­less votes ruin lives’. End­less pos­si­bil­i­ties!

How en­vi­ous our Euro­pean neigh­bours will be. Julieanne Long Ely

What’s left?

Given the po­si­tion of some Labour’s lead­er­ship on a Peo­ple’s Vote, it’s very clear what needs to hap­pen next. There needs to be a stand­alone Re­main cam­paign fo­cused specif­i­cally on the 50-100 high­est Re­main-vot­ing seats in the UK.

West­min­ster has at least been con­sis­tent in its re­ac­tion since June 2016: Huge egos first, party sec­ond, coun­try nowhere. The Re­main voice has been ut­terly taken for granted. Vote fod­der. Let’s ad­dress that. Richard Clif­ford Nor­wich

Brexit has split both main par­ties down the mid­dle. For Labour to gain power – a gen­eral elec­tion its thrust for now – doesn’t the party need to main­tain votes from its own sup­port­ers but also at­tract those from one side or other of the Brexit co­nun­drum by mak­ing a pos­i­tive dec­la­ra­tion of their po­si­tion?

In the ab­sence of a Peo­ple’s Vote on Brexit, would any elec­tion be seen as a vote for or against Brexit? The split in each party is likely to re­turn a re­sult lit­tle dif­fer­ent from what we have now. That is no ben­e­fit to Labour.

There’s the rub. Labour’s po­si­tion on Brexit is con­fu­sion, and who trusts a party that can’t even make up its own mind? Jim Tay­lor Ed­in­burgh

The Labour lead­er­ship’s po­si­tion on a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum as ex­pressed by John Mcdon­nell is com­plete bol­locks. By his logic, be­cause the Tories won the last gen­eral elec­tion we should have Tory gov­ern­ments in per­pe­tu­ity.

If Labour came out un­equiv­o­cally for scrap­ping Brexit they could po­ten­tially put on mil­lions of ex­tra votes, but they are too fright­ened of los­ing the votes of work­ing class con­ser­va­tives in their heart­lands. Richard Palmer Puck­lechurch

Fishy busi­ness

A friend went on his an­nual fish­ing trip last week. The group were in their 70s, re­tired, very rich and very Brexit.

When he pointed out that the young are over­whelm­ingly in favour of re­main­ing in Europe they replied that the young didn’t pos­sess the knowl­edge, facts or in­for­ma­tion they had.

It is 100 years since the end of the First World War and once again the old are sac­ri­fic­ing the hope and fu­ture of the young. Af­ter all, they know best.

Kathy Eras­mus


Green with envy

I have been buy­ing your pa­per for some months. How­ever I no­ticed in your lat­est is­sue much space has been given to the Lib­eral Democrats, who have only one MEP. The Green Party of Eng­land and Wales have three.

The me­dia tend to ig­nore the Green Party and be un­aware that we are found in many coun­tries around the world. In March 2017 I at­tended our in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence in Liver­pool, where around 100 coun­tries were rep­re­sented and about 2,000 del­e­gates at­tended. How­ever the na­tional me­dia failed to give us cov­er­age.

We have our au­tumn con­fer­ence for Eng­land and Wales in Bris­tol from Fri­day Oc­to­ber 5 to Sun­day Oc­to­ber 7. Liz Pym Wood­ford Halse

Pits of de­spair

I would like to cor­rect a cap­tion to a pho­to­graph on page 23 of TNE #111. The pho­to­graph de­picts three min­ers push­ing a loaded wagon of coal at Brom­ley Pit in Pens­ford.

The cap­tion in­cor­rectly states that it is in Sur­rey, but in fact it was in the North Som­er­set coal­fields. The vil­lage of Pens­ford lies a few miles south of Bris­tol and is well known for be­ing the home of late, great jazz mu­si­cian Acker Bilk. Brom­ley Pit was closed in 1957 and the last mines in the area closed in 1973. Richard Har­man Nailsea

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