Monday, 27 June 2016

The Brexiteers would not have given up now, and neither should Remainers.

All hope seems lost for the 48.1 percent of Britons who voted to remain in the European Union. As a nation we have narrowly decided to leave the EU based on Vote Leave’s campaign of “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

The promise of £350 million for the National Health Service has already been reneged upon by Nigel Farage and Iain Duncan Smith, never mind that it wasn’t even possible in the first place. There is a very good chance that even after all of this, immigration from the European Union won't even be reduced.

The claims by Vote Leave that remain were merely fear mongering when saying the British economy would suffer as a result of Brexit have been proven conclusively wrong within a mere 24 hours of the Brexit result, with the pound having dropped against the dollar to levels not seen since the 1980s.

Make no mistake, the decision for many of the 51.9 percent of voters was built on a foundation of exaggerations, inaccuracies and downright lies by Boris Johnson and company. Only now are some leave voters realising this.

They didn't think the country would actually vote to leave the European Union. To this section of leave voters, a vote to leave was a vote against the status quo, against being ignored. They did this in the belief that they would still be ignored.

Many leave voters are now feeling #regrexit (or is it #Bregret?).

Those of us who still want to remain cannot give up now. If the vote had been reversed, with a 3.8% win for remain instead, you could bet £350 million that Nigel would still be campaigning for a Brexit… mainly because he said it.

We must push for a second referendum... but not within this year and not because the vote is invalid; the vote is valid and Article 50 should be triggered as soon as possible. For those who aren’t aware, Article 50 is the piece of European legislation which tells us what the EU will do should a member state decide to leave; when this is triggered, presumably by the next Prime Minister, Britain will start two years of negotiations with Europe on the terms of exit.

Article 50 states that when the EU is given notice by a country of its intention to exit, “the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union.”

If, after two years, an agreement is not reached, then the country will leave the European Union with no deals of any kind and trade with Europe under World Trade Organisation rules, 2% tariffs. However, the European Council and the negotiating country can unanimously chose to extend this period of negotiations before an exit.

Article 50 is intentionally vague as it was never intended to be used, they never thought a nation would actually leave the European Union, specifically Article 50 does not say that anywhere that the decision to trigger exit negotiations cannot be reversed or cancelled. This gives remainers a bit of wiggle room for a second referendum based on the results of these negotiations, the most logical time for a second referendum, at which point, if we win, we would cease negotiating and take back our seats in Europe.

Why would remain win this referendum? Because we are right.

Britain hasn’t even left the EU yet and the economists who work at the The Economist magazine have now changed their economic growth forecasts for 2017 from positive 1.8% to negative 1%; i.e. recession.

We haven’t even left the EU and the pound is continuing to fall to historic lows against the dollar.

We haven’t even left the EU and Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland (which we own about three quarters of) shares have started tanking.

Economic turmoil as a result of Brexit is, nor ever has it been, scaremongering, it is reality-mongering.

When the country dips into recession we must be there to say (and I know it sounds childish), “I told you so,” to those who voted for it. We must tell those leave voters who didn’t realise the economic implications of leaving the EU, or the surprisingly large percentage of young people that didn’t vote, that their action or inaction has consequences.

We must make it clear that most of the problems that Britain will experience in the coming months and years will be directly as a result of the decision by the British people to vote leave. It must also be clear that they have an opportunity to correct their mistake before we actually exit the EU.

And why shouldn’t we be allowed a cooling off period, if I try to close a word document without saving, I’m asked “Want to save your changes…?” I think a decision as monumental as leaving the European Union, far bigger and more permanent than party politics, should be allowed a second chance, especially considering the vote was so close. We only need to convince about 500,000 people that they have made a mistake which, to be honest, might not actually be so difficult. I do not believe that all leave voters made their votes based on immigration, and I am certain that many based their decision on being duped by Vote Leave.

We cannot give up, “We may have lost the battle, but we will win the war.”

(A little hyperbolic by my standards, but I thought quoting Nigel Farage would be appropriate)

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