Former Leavers leading the march back to reality
I volunteered as a marshal at the
People’s Vote march. It was peaceful and well spirited with hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds coming together in a unity that has been missing since 2016.
Three things surprised me as the marchers passed me in Park Lane:
1. The sheer scale of public outcry against Brexit.
2. The number of people over the age of 60. The press would have you believe it was all young people; that is a fallacy, the majority were older. It’s certainly made me question whether the generational divide on this issue is actually as prevalent as first thought.
3. The number of people present who voted Leave in 2016. I met many who felt angry and misled by politicians about what Brexit really means. People spoke to me specifically about the promise of more money for the NHS, and how betrayed they felt. I admire their honesty and their drive to correct what they see as a big mistake.
It hit home to me at the march quite how much of a minority the no-deal Brexiteers really are. Not all 17.4 million people voted for the same reasons or with the same beliefs. This should make uncomfortable reading for those continuing down the Brexit path without the foggiest idea what people actually want. The only solution is complete honesty from politicians on what actually is achievable, with a final say from the people on what, factually, is on the table. Matthew Blakemore Hatfield, Hertfordshire
I spent my Saturday this weekend with some friends from Chester and with hundreds of thousands of other people from up and down the country on the streets of London to make a peaceful request of all parliamentarians that they allow us to have an opportunity to examine the appalling consequences of the vote from 2016. We stood for six hours, shuffling along unable to make headway for a couple of hours because there were so many of us. Those of us who were at the June march all know that this was many times bigger. Support for our campaign is growing exponentially.
We are not asking to stop Brexit without another democratic exercise. We simply want an opportunity for a vote on the deal (or no-deal) versus Remain which is fair, open, truthful, transparent and informed. Pilar Gomez
If fear can be measured by the doses of vitriol injected into a newspaper article, then the Sun’s column on the morning
of the People’s Vote march revealed sheer terror. I was in absolute stitches after reading it. In the mother of all rants, it not only regurgitated the expected ‘remoaners’, ‘treacherous’ and ‘against democracy’, but also threw in ‘hissy’, ‘sanctimonious’, ‘mass toddler tantrum’, ‘latte-supping”, etc, for good measure.
Now that their hysteria has subsided – at least, for their sake, I hope so – here are a few helpful corrections to that column’s contents: The People’s Vote march was part of an admirably democratic process; Leave voters are not “thick” or “racist”, but were just lied to, time and time again; you are the “hatefilled” and “insanely dangerous” ones, not People’s Vote campaigners. Paul Smith
I used to think I understood politics. It was all about economics. How should the government encourage economic growth? How much of the national income should be spent on public services? How should wealth and income be distributed between different social groups?
Then I became confused. How could people support a politics that was clearly not in their or their country’s economic interests?
Now I think I understand the reason. These people look at the world though a
different prism. It is not about economics, it is about nationalism and power (sometimes called sovereignty). Whereas in the politics of economics it is possible to propose win-win solutions, the politics of power is a zero-sum game. Everyone who is not in your tribe is a foe and something that damages your tribe is still a step forward if it damages another tribe more. Hence it is possible to ‘win’ a trade war in the same way that it is possible to ‘win’ a military war. You accept that your tribe will take losses as long as you think you can inflict greater losses on your foes.
When it is said that no one voted in the European referendum to be poorer, I don’t think this is true. I think those who look through the prism of nationalism and power would be happy for Britain to be poorer.
But the consequences would be worse than that. History teaches us that populists start with trade wars and end with military wars,
The challenge is not to convince the Brexiters that Brexit will make Britain poorer. They know this already and don’t care. The challenge is to expose this dangerous ideology! Adrian Waite
When Leaver friends argue they voted that way because of immigrants my wife and I tend to tactfully remind them that we are immigrants too. Their standard reply is along the lines: “yes, but we do not mean you”. As we know about 100 Brexit supporters, does that mean that the other 17,410,642 Leave voters, who do not know us, would rather see us go back to Holland?
We have lived in Britain for 46 years and always felt welcome until the referendum. We were just Dutch, living in this part of Europe. We know what Clarence Michel (Letters, TNE #114) went through when she decided to return to France.
We have also had the house valued to see what we could afford back ‘home’. But we have children and grandchildren in Britain. Not an easy decision after all this time and, like Clarence, we love living in this beautiful country.
Our hopes are set on a People’s Vote, even if we are not allowed to take part in general elections and referendums. If there is any logic in excluding ex-pat
Brits of over 15 years away, perhaps we immigrants of over 15 years should be included? Hendrik Buzink Rock
Mark Barrett and Jon Cleary (Letters, TNE #115) draw similar conclusions about the effects of aging on attitudes to Brexit. Whilst I do not fundamentally disagree with the premise, I feel there are other factors to take into account.
An age-related tendency to conservatism (deliberate small c) is a slow process. The Brexit process is a much faster one and will be unlikely to be affected by two years of aging. This is, I think, demonstrated by the result of the last general election, where a requested mandate for Brexit was clearly denied by the electorate, who, if they are anything like me, voted to indicate lack of support for Brexit rather than real support for the opposition.
I think there is another factor to consider. I am of the immediate post-war generation. I may be wrong, but I have always thought that our generation was rather more rebellious in a quiet sort of way than previous generations or than many since.
It could just be that many of us who reached maturity in a time of struggle for civil rights and anti-racism are not too happy to see the forces of populism encouraging a less tolerant and more selfcentred society. There just might be a much reduced tendency to conservatism in this generation of oldies. John Bates Morecambe It is very important that the older generation are informed that Leave’s promises for the NHS were false and that the NHS is now finding it very hard to recruit the nurses and doctors required from Europe because of
Brexit. They must also be made aware that social services, support in the some for the elderly and old people’s homes rely enormously on staff from Europe. Indeed, the generation that will suffer most from Brexit is the elderly. David J. Hogg Nailsea
Don’t miss the vote
With discussion of a People’s Vote now firmly established in both mainstream media and parliamentary debate, there is an increasingly strong prospect of another referendum. In preparation, it is vital that Remain campaigners focus on encouraging voter registration.
It’s estimated that since June 2016 we have 1.5 million people over 18 who are now eligible to vote. Under recent electoral rules, students who have moved away to university and young people renting and working away from home, will need to either register or re-register to vote. We must help give them the opportunity to have a voice.
Given the time frame any UK/EU agreement is under pressure to meet, a second vote on the outcome of negotiations will more than likely be called at short notice. There is usually a tight deadline between voter registration and the cut off date to register so it makes sense for all Remain campaigners to build and promote this, as from now, via the website www.gov. uk/register-to-vote. We can make this happen. Gail Brackett London NW3
We read that the USA Ranchers and Farmers Alliance is lobbying President Trump to do a trade deal with the UK right now on USA standards so that hormone-pumped beef and chlorinated chicken, amongst other things, can be exported to the UK on USA standards.
Recent reports, also on the public record, state that there have been 200,000 incidents of salmonella in the USA against 5,000 throughout the whole EU during the same reported period. Is this the sort of deal that UK ministers are advocating, blatant deregulation?
These questionable products may of course replace Scottish and UK products in our supermarkets.
With regard to a sole UK/USA trade agreement, what will the USA buy from the UK that it does not already buy? My opinion is that the USA will be only interested in selling, on their terms and on their standards. There’s one thing that Trump can be relied upon and that is ‘America First’; the rest of the world, including the UK, second.