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?
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?
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.
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?
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
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
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.
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