Much of the best campaigning against Brexit has been done by local groups independent of the big London based organisations. The Alternative Big Red bus (with afake Boris Johnson) was organised by Camden for Europe raising £16,000 by donation. It toured the country in February 2018. An update on their activities is in Issues I-2.
High Noon and What Strategy?
On December 11th the Vote on the EU Deal will take place in the Commons and is unpredictable. While neither Leave nor Remain can get what they want, fear of a No Deal solution may secure a vote for Theresa May’s half way house.
But if not a number of Elephants will start trumpeting as they break loose across the political spectrum. Brexit has been the blind leading the blind from the start and David Cameron’s rumoured political reappearance is no surprise. The Westminster bubble has shown a marked Reality Gap with all media – including the Guardian and the New Statesman – talking of a Second Referendum despite the 1975 vote. History vanished into a black hole long ago. At least the Guardian backs the People’s Vote – but has no strategy.
The Labour hope of a General Election solution is fading though still the main preference. How this could happen before March 29th is a mystery, for if May resigns the Tory Party elect a No Deal leader and if not she has little chance of compiling a manifesto. The key issue is however the Article 50 Deadline which was passed into Law by a parliamentary majority and would overshadow any attempt to have a public vote.
But this elephant cannot be seen as we enter December. The move by Hilary Benn to ban a No Brexit solution if passed could only leave May’s Deal as the only option, and would lead to a catch 22. The country would be legally bound to leave at the End of March – but without No Deal and because legally bound to leave could only accept May’s Deal. What happens if that happens is Alice Through the Looking Glass.
The immediate issue if the Deal is rejected is to extend the deadline for at least 6 months to allow a third Referendum. If a best of 3 can be offered the EU 27 might extend the time available. Without it they will not – it is clear they will not renegotiate, the only option they would accept is a in – out vote.
While this is something MPs must decide, the role of the Grassroots can be crucial. The meetings in September (Birmingham) and November (London) have not produced an outcome. The most viable tactic is to use the governments epetitions, though no petitions have ever been able to change government policy as the Chartists found out in the 1840s. But petitions can mobilise opinion and epetitions are the only method able to operate fast enough. By mid January if there is no deal then the parliamentary impasse will be a major crisis – and may yet produce a victory for May – unless the deadline is extended.
March 29th is now less than 4 months away. Why has no strategy for extending the deadline to allow a People’s Vote come onto the agenda?
Trevor Fisher 2nd December 2018