Brexit - answering to history
Posted by Frank Preiss, on 14 November 2018. Comments: 0
Winston Churchill said: a fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. That's me - and just about everyone else who feels deeply about Brexit and the EU.
So the same old subject and a few new facts.
Britain's economy stopped growing completely in August and September. Business investment is falling. Since the 'democratic' referendum we have fallen from the top of the EU growth league to the bottom.
Brexiteers make much of the trade deals we will be able to make after Brexit. Just consider the USA. President Trump is keen to deal with us. Why? because during our membership of the EU we have had a big trade surplus with the US, which he is determined to reduce. And our freedom to negotiate our own terms? Just study the terms of his new deal with Mexico and Canada.
Holding the UK together? Does anyone believe that Scotland or Northern Ireland will stay long in the Union after Brexit?
Control our borders? In fact immigration is now falling fast. Some industries are already complaining they can't get enough labour. Worse, the creeping anti-foreigner rhetoric and announced regulation from our government and press, though it often sounds reasonable enough, is making the UK a less attractive destination for students, scholars and professionals.
The City in particular should alarm the government. This unique agglomeration of wealth and skills is not made of irreplaceable physical assets, but of people - people who can get up and go, to find new desks and workstations in many other quite attractive cities.
As for the present negotiations, let's be clear. The EU did not ask us to leave, does not want us to leave. By leaving we are damaging the EU as well as ourselves. So it does not have to make any concessions or negotiate at all, still less when our Brexiteers cannot even agree among themselves what they want.
The referendum was not truly democratic. The Leavers' constant claim that it was is close to psychological bullying. Their campaign was based on a mixture of shameful falsehoods, undeliverable promises and wishful thinking.
The referendum was also unconstitutional. David Cameron had no right to make the result mandatory. Mrs May's refusal to countenance a second Referendum or People's Vote is equally arrogant and fundamentally undemocratic. The (unwritten) British constitution works by precedent. Such precedent as we had, in 1975, demanded a decisive majority and was only advisory. Channel 4's new, extensive survey of the latest state of British opinion shows a decisive swing away from leaving.
If the Brexiteers ignore all this now they will indeed answer to history.
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