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Sixteen Million Remain Voters Should Not Forget Theresa May's Betrayal

17/01/2017 14:04 GMT | Updated 17/01/2017 14:07 GMT
KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images

So this is the Theresa May, hard Brexit, plan.

We are going to leave both the EU and it's single market where for all its problems and faults our economy seems to thrive since we are supposedly the fifth largest economy in the world. We have attained that position from within the EU single market, and surely could maintain that position from within the single market even if not as a full EU member.

The economy matters because it provides money for the government through taxes that can be used to support the NHS - to support poor people - to invest in areas in the UK that need help. If the economy shrinks then there will be less money for the NHS and for poorer people and for other services in the UK.

We are going to leave the security of belonging to the largest economy in the world (the EU single market) and all the trading clout that brings to go it alone throwing ourselves at the mercy of other countries and hope we can make deals with them that help us keep our economy growing even though there is nothing to say that America and China or any other country is going to do us any favours. Think of President Elect Trump - what happens if we upset his sensitive feelings - something which seems very easy to do.

All this because there were enough, loud bigoted, voices in this country who, over time, have blamed immigrants and foreigners for everything from problems seeing our GPs to unemployment to low incomes to taking hard low paying jobs that local people don't want to do.

It is a stupid plan because it helps almost no one in the UK, because if our economy shrinks because of uncertainty about our trading future - or we end up with trade deals that make it harder for us to prosper because we don't have the bargaining power any more - then we will have a poorer country to live in.

But this is, surely, also a betrayal of the 48% of referendum voters who voted to stay within the EU.

I cannot speak for all 16 million of them I think it is safe to say that when they voted to stay in the EU they really didn't mean well if we lose the referendum then we want the extreme version of it - the leaving of the single market - everything. The aren't many things you can be sure of on a referendum on such a simplistic point of wether we leave or stay in the EU.

On the other hand - for some leave voters it may have been about immigration - for some it may be about the vague notion of sovereignty (whatever that means) and making our own laws or for a number of other reasons.

But my money is on one thing- that the 48% who voted for remain didn't want - and surely still don't want - a hard, damaging Brexit from both the EU and the single market.

I believe we have to leave the EU itself because of the result of the Referendum - not to leave would be un-democratic. But the vote wasn't about leaving everything - the single market wasn't mentioned on the ballot paper.

Theresa may and the Tories have obviously made a political calculation that they can be more certain of retaining power for longer by doing a hard Brexit and that they can safely ignore the 48% because they don't need their votes. I think it is safe to assume that because one thing the Tories are good at is hard practical, cynical, decision making when it comes to retaining power and getting votes.

When the next elections come along the 48% of citizens who voted to stay in the EU should remember that Mrs May could have showed them that she respected their opinions. Even though she felt obliged to leave the EU itself - she could have decided to stay in the single market - because that must surely be something that the 48% wanted.

If I am right - then those 16 million people should cast their votes in next council and Parliamentary elections keeping in mind her betrayal of their wishes. She didn't have to do this way but did it anyway.