A member’s view
We’ve already had a referendum and Remain lost.
Yet from the start, some people have refused to accept the result and have campaigned to Stop Brexit. Some people may not like the term but I call these people ‘Refuseniks’. A feeble reason given was that ‘people did not know what they were doing’ or ‘they were misled’. This argument could of course be used for any election result.
Until recently Labour policy was to sit on the fence. Much good did it do us electorally. We should have supported Leave positively, in line with the result of the first People’s Vote. We could have promoted a socialist Brexit. After Brexit the UK can have independent policies for industry, agriculture, fisheries and trade, with no unelected EU Commissioners to drive policy; whereas the EU are committed to neoliberal economic policies, austerity, privatizations and aggressive trading deals. These do nothing for EU citizens or for developing countries outside the European bloc.
As a concession to Remainers and centrist and rightist MPs, Labour’s original position was to hold out the possibility of a second referendum, though not to commit to one. Three years on, there is some logic in the proposal adopted by the 2019 conference, that when the terms of a ‘best deal possible’ have become clear, this should be put to the electorate in a second referendum.
However, the choice should not be between ‘This deal’ and ‘Remain’. As Leave won, it should be a choice between ‘This deal’ and ‘No deal’. Those of us who voted Leave did not vote for ‘Leave with a deal under the European Union’s terms’.
People who expected the EU to compromise were naïve. The inflexibility of the EU in its adherence to capitalist ideology is no surprise. Have people forgotten the callous treatment of the Greek people, with money and banker’s interests being their only consideration? The true nature of the EU ought by now to be clear to the idealistic apologists for the EU.
The originators of the Peoples’ Vote campaign were people like Chuka Umuna, Anna Soubry and prominent Lib-Dems. This does not attract me to the campaign, though of course this is no argument against it any more than Leave being supported by Farage and Johnson is an argument against Brexit.
There is merit in Stephen Kinnock’s proposals for compromise. I note that Alex Chalk has consistently argued for a cross-party approach and I give him credit for this. There is also some merit in Labour’s desire for a soft Brexit including a customs union. Hopefully this would get around the intractable Irish border problem.
Corbyn’s adamant opposition to No Deal may be based on genuine short-term or even long-term difficulties – we really don’t know – or it could be tactical to achieve Brexit with a customs union. (Option 3 after May’s option 1 and Johnson’s option 2.)
Corbyn’s throwing a spanner in the works may eventually achieve the Labour aim of achieving Brexit with a customs union. But I fear it may lose us the next General Election.
A second referendum must be the least favoured option. If Remain win, 52% of us will feel cheated. Faith in democracy in the UK will be shattered for a very long time.
Actually I expect Leave would win again, though nothing is certain. If they did win, we’d be back to square one.
Do the People’s Vote Two campaigners appreciate these arguments, or are they really campaigning to Remain at any cost, regardless of the EU’s unsavoury features?
David G Evans.