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The Theresa May Deal has shown deep splits in her own camp, let alone the wider political class. But this does not mean that it will not go through parliament and the campaign for a referendum must – and is being – stepped up and must be further stepped up.
Resistance to a third vote is strong and there is no clear majority for a vote, so no room for complacency. Divisions are getting worse and as was said in our last editorial comment (see below) these are toxic – but not a reason for not having a vote. The youth issue is vital and as Peter Kellner has said – and we quoted in the Referendums pamphlet – in mid June Crossover day will happen. The number of dying Leave electors replaced by young Remain voters will reach a Tipping Point. Leave will not have a majority.
Alas the dogma that a decision has been made and cannot be reversed is still Number 10’s basic position. It makes no sense to carry on with a pig in a poke decision when voters can see the real terms of the Deal, as People’s Vote have rightly said. Yet media from the BBC down disagree.
The political correspondent of my local papers, Birmingham Post and Mail, writing articles on November 15th and 16th, attacked the People’s Vote as “a masterful bit of marketing”. Jonathan Walker claimed that the PV was really “A second Brexit referendum, giving people a chance to reverse the first one”. Like all elements of the Westminster Bubble, Walker does not understand that any vote would be a third Referendum – EU votes happened in 1975 and 2016 – and it is a fundamental democratic right to change minds – or confirm that vote. PV has always said the vote is on the Deal. Not to reverse it, and voters could back it.
Walker also claims the 2016 vote has to be binding. But the Prime Minister Cameron had no right to make that promise, as parliament can overturn any decision it makes. After the 1975 vote the Leavers had the right to campaign for a further vote and any vote in 2019 would be a Best of Three.
Even Tory Brexiteers are coming to agree, Boris Johnson’s brother Jo having quit the cabinet to say so. While Walker and others fear a backlash from Leave voters they have no fear of a backlash from young voters now 18 who have never been allowed a vote on their future. This is a real threat to democracy. Having a vote is certainly NOT a threat to Democracy.
But the third referendum can only take place if the Article 50 deadline is put back – and that is the decision parliament has to make and the IMMEDIATE decision it has to make. Theresa May wants a decision on her Deal to give her a victory. That is not democracy in action. To be democratic the People have to make the decision not the politicians. On constitutional issues the principle that referendums are decisive was made in 1975. The clock cannot be turned back. THe Deadline has to be extended.
And as we said in June….
Divisions within “The People” are real and growing, and how Britain can be held together against a process which is not UK Independence but UK damage is key. Among the priorities are (A) the National Divisions – “Britain” did not vote for Brexit, Northern Ireland and Scotland did not (B) the old versus the Young. Poll data show the young voted against Brexit but have no influence, while the Millenial V Baby Boomer split is extending throughout political life (C) the white working class in the old industrial areas have embraced Brexit as a way to reject the failed centrist Political Establishment which favours the EU. These divisions are toxic and destructive.
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- I9 To Get A Vote, Shift the Article 50 deadline (11/23/2018) - In the House of Lords on October 25th, Lord Kinlochard (John Kerr, the former ambassador) referred to THE ROADMAP TO A PEOPLE'S VOTE* as setting out a strategy for a further referendum on Brexit. The debate did not take up the suggestion but it is important for several reasons, the most imharmediate being what Lord Kerr - one of the main experts on EU law - highlighted as an immediate priority. Lord Kerr said "I acknowledge that it would be necessary to stop the Article 50 clock and obtain an extension of the two year negotiating period". He thought this would be something the 27 states of the EU would be prepared to accept, though he argued this could not be simply to continue to negotiate as the EU is getting tired of the wrangling. This affects the official People's Vote position. On the surface the petition only wants the
- I8 A People’s Vote will fight a Brexit turning back the clock on women’s rights (8/24/2018) - One of the misconceptions from the 2016 EU Referendum was that the only people who felt passionately about Europe were ‘centrists’. Over the coming weeks, campaigners for For our Future’s Sake will be putting forward the ‘Left Wing Case for a People’s Vote’. Like lots of women in the aftermath of the historic ‘yes’ vote in Republic of Ireland, I’ve been thinking a lot in the last couple of weeks about sisterhood and solidarity. It was hard not to be thrilled and inspired by the Repeal campaign. Conceived by women, led by women and ultimately won by women. It was innovative, inclusive, and real. It put the 2016 Brexit referendum to shame. A dull mess, created by men, abjectly led by men and lost by men. And even the men who won (here’s looking at you Nigel Farage and company) got lost. But the real losers of the Leave campaign
- I7 A People’s Vote will fight the racism festering beneath Brexit (8/24/2018) - One of the misconceptions from the 2016 EU Referendum was that the only people who felt passionately about Europe were ‘centrists’. Over the coming weeks, campaigners for For our Future’s Sake will be putting forward the ‘Left Wing Case for a People’s Vote’. Like lots of women in the aftermath of the historic ‘yes’ vote in Republic of Ireland, I’ve been thinking a lot in the last couple of weeks about sisterhood and solidarity. It was hard not to be thrilled and inspired by the Repeal campaign. Conceived by women, led by women and ultimately won by women. It was innovative, inclusive, and real. It put the 2016 Brexit referendum to shame. A dull mess, created by men, abjectly led by men and lost by men. And even the men who won (here’s looking at you Nigel Farage and company) got lost. But the real losers of the Leave campaign
- I6 A People’s Vote will stop a Brexit that offers nothing to the working class (8/24/2018) - Whenever I hear that the fight for a People’s Vote is a middle-class obsession, I think back to that infamous picture of Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore emerging from a golden lift in Trump Tower. Taken in November 2016, in the aftermath of both Brexit and Trump’s ascension to the White House, there could scarcely be a better metaphor for the chaos we now find ourselves in. The self-styled ‘Bad Boys of Brexit’, crusaders against the elite – fellow swamp drainers. But we know that’s not the case. That picture shows four very rich, very powerful men from privileged backgrounds, who gleefully conspired to create a situation where they appeared to be on the side of working people, pitting them against immigrants and spinning yarns about the NHS. Over the weekend, revelations surfaced of previously unknown links between UKIP donor, Arron Banks, and senior Russian diplomats
- I5 Why young people should be leading the push for a ‘People’s Vote’ (8/24/2018) - With a catastrophic Brexit outcome looming, Britain's youth need to get organised. It’s great when people are brave, when they stand up for something they believe in, when they care more about the people they represent than their own personal progression. This week my MP Rosie Duffield came out in support of a People’s Vote on the final terms of the Brexit deal. She was joined by twelve other MPs and MEPs from three parties, all coming together to demand a fresh say. The authors include Labour former Cabinet Minister Ben Bradshaw, Lib Dem education spokeswoman Layla Moran and Green MP Caroline Lucas. It’s one of many signs that the tide is turning, and despite both Labour and the Conservative party’s stance being staunchly against a People’s Vote it hasn’t stopped MPs listening to their constituents and breaking rank. I should declare a bit of an interest here: until recently, I
- I-4 Youth Voices (8/22/2018) - The voices of young people must be heard in the coming months - they will have to face the effects of Brexit if it goes ahead. The narrow vote for Brexit in 2016 was due to pensioners votes who clearly will not live to see the long term effects of Brexit - and I write as a pensioner myself. Many young people who are now 18 were denied the right to vote in 2016 because of their age. How can it be morally right to conclude the divorce from the EU without allowing a vote on whether to stay in or proceed with the Divorce? The four essays here express individual viewpoints but all are written by supporters of the student group For Our Future's Sake (FFS) and their website can be found at https://ffsakes.uk/. The first three, by Jason Arthur, Emily Andrews and Patrick Moule first appeared on the
- I3 A Voice from the Left against Brexit (7/24/2018) - This article by Alena Ivanova was published in the Guardian 3 days after the June March in London organised by Open Britain. It is a vital contribution to the debate on the Labour position on Brexit. In 2017 the issue was fudged and the 2016 conference policy - with a clear commitment to another Referendum - was sidelined at the 2017 party conference without debate. There are no easy solutions, and this site is aware that the Stoke Central by election would have been lost without Labour committing to honour the 2016 vote. But Labour cannot face both ways on this crucial issue so the 2018 conference must debate it. Alena works for ANOTHER EUROPE IS POSSIBLE and my report of the Manchester meeting on July 5th is on the Weather Report section of the site. There are meetings planned throughout the summer and details can be found at https://www.anothereurope.org/tours/
- I2 Follow up to the Big Red Alternative Bus (6/24/2018) - Following the Big Red Alternative Bus pictured on the editorial page, Is It Worth It? report that since February they have been working as follows: "Our plan was to complement a further bus tour with a social media campaign. In the event we financed stage 1 of a social media campaign. This aims to test whether we can make a measurable difference to the level of support for a People's Vote with the option of staying in. But getting La bour to support a vote is essential and the party is much more likely to do so if it is confident that this will not lead to a net loss of seats. "Our social media campaign is designed to help provide that confidence. It consists of three phases: A test Facebook campaign. This is underway in 11 marginal seats and is designed to show whether or not a targetted campaign can
- I1 A time to demonstrate – June 23rd 2018 (6/19/2018) - London Saturday June 23rd - MARCH FOR A PEOPLE'S VOTE March to Parliament Square demanding a vote on the final Brexit Deal. Join in for this historic event!!! Why are we marching for a People's Vote? New facts have come to light about the costs and complexity of Brexit that no one could have known at the time of the referendum. Promises made by politicians about Brexit, like more money for our NHS, are not going to be kept. The Brexit process is a complete mess and negotiations are going badly, which makes it more likely that we will get a bad deal. WHEN AND WHERE Pall Mall London SW1Y 5BL, 12noon to 4pm. Meeting at Pall Mall from 12 noon. March to Parliament Square to be addressed by special guest speakers (not confirmed at time of writing - Ed). The People's Vote Campaign is run by Open Britain, Millbank Tower, 21