Brexit

The Green Party supported the idea of a referendum on Europe although we campaigned to remain within the EU.  As a remainer myself I supported our continued membership, but wanted to see real reforms in the way the EU operates, particularly in terms of democratic process and localisation. The future of Europe, and our place in it, needed to be based on mutual support and benefit, not on greater centralised power in Brussels.

I was very sad and disappointed by the referendum result, but I accept it as far as it goes.  Unfortunately that isn’t very far.

We were given a hastily concocted referendum offering a simple binary choice.  There was little in the way of serious factual debate, and very little time in which to conduct proper consideration of the consequences one way or the other.  all we had were slogans on the side of a bus (that turned out to be bare-faced lies) and counter claims from both sides about how great or terrible leaving the EU would be.

After three and a half years of wrangling we now have a much better idea of what awaits us if we leave the EU, either with a deal or without one.

My belief is that the deal we already have the with EU is far better than any of those that have so far been proposed.  Boris Johnson’s latest proposals will leave us half in and half out of the EU, but with no vote in the EU parliament and no say on what happens in the EU.  These are decisions that will undoubtedly affect us, regardless of if we are in or out of the union.  Whatever deal we strike and whatever our place in a post-Brexit world, we will still have to deal with the reality of EU influence and EU laws.  I would rather be in the room having an influence over those laws than outside simply having to abide by them, which will inevitably will.

We should have a second referendum on Brexit with a properly informed and unbiased debate on all the issues surrounding our relationship with the EU.  This has to happen immediately after the election to allow parliament to get back to dealing with the serious challenges facing this country.

Leaving the EU by any means will result in at least a decade of economic hardship for everyone, with the poorest in our society suffering the most.  Parliamentary time will be used up on dealing with the fallout from the severing of our membership of the EU rather than tackling urgent business, such as crumbling public services and climate change.  Businesses will suffer and investment will fall (except in the case of US drugs companies seeking to buy our NHS!).

We must not condemn our citizens to this fate without a fully informed, confirmatory vote and only the Greens are offering this.  Labour say they will renegotiate the deal with the EU and then have a second referendum.  Whilst I’m pleased that this would give us a second vote, I think it’s obvious that Labour would have to run a campaign during that vote to support the deal they have brokered.  Otherwise what is the point of them brokering it?  So in that sense Labour will be a leave backing party.

The Libdems say they want to simply cancel Brexit as if it never happened and revoke Article 50.  I think that’s wrong.  If we are to heal the divisions in our country it has to be done democratically.  We need to have a second binding vote, after which there will be no further debate about the principle of leaving (at least not from me).  I hope we would vote to remain, but if not I would abide by this second vote and work towards negating as much of the damage I feel Brexit is going to inflict on us over the next decade.

 

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