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Brexit, the real betrayal

Posted by Fank Preiss, on 3 January 2019. Comments: 0

This whole debate has been utterly misguided. Instead of the legalistic squabbling of the past 30 months, we need to revisit the first referendum in 1975.

The decision to join the EEC was taken by Parliament in a succession of informed debates and votes in the 1960s and was not put to the people before we entered on 1st January 1973. When a Eurosceptic Labour party won election in 1974 opinion polls showed the population roughly equally divided between Leavers and Remainers. Prime Minister Harold Wilson promised a straightforward In/Out referendum to settle the matter.

It was then that the UK people were given their one and only truly democratic choice.

The campaign before the referendum, led by informed MPs of both main parties, exposed and thoroughly debated the reasons for and against membership, and the compromises to sovereignty and national control we would have to accept and why.

We voted to remain, and by a huge majority. 64% of eligible voters - 17.3 million - voted to remain, 8.4 million voted to leave. It was a decision for a permanent new constitutional settlement for Britain in Europe and the world. It did not occur to my generation that we might change our minds.That 'super majority' of 67/33 held for 44 years,

We Remainers have every right now to feel let down by our MPs and betrayed by the uninformed and angry vote in 2016.

A very few constitutional changes in the history of the UK simply can't be reversed: for example, the abolition of slavery or women's suffrage. The decision to join the EEC was one of those changes. As the last 30 months have shown, the world has moved on. In those 44 years the EEC 7 has become the EU 28, thanks to huge, deep and ongoing economic, philosophical, social and political developents to which the UK has greatly contributed.

Whatever the nostalgic dreams of Leavers, there really is no way back.

 

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