I am a Remainer. I continue to believe Britain’s future should be within the EU, not outside of it.
I have marched at anti-Brexit rallies. I have waved placards outside Parliament. I have spoken at anti-Brexit demonstrations.
In September 2017 I started a petition on the House of Commons website calling for a “referendum on the final Brexit deal”. The petition gained 100,000 signatures in one week and was debated in parliament in December 2017. It demands a referendum that allows the people to choose between Accepting the final deal (and leaving the EU), Refusing the final deal (and leaving the EU) and Remaining in the EU (by revoking Article 50).
Only when a final deal is known are the British public in a position to choose what is best for them. To borrow a phrase from the People’s Vote – “You wouldn’t sign a bill without checking it first, so why should the Brexit deal be any different?”
My position hasn’t changed. I still believe we need a referendum on the final Brexit deal. So why am I refusing to participate in the People’s Vote March on the 23rd June?
“The People’s Vote campaign seeks to ensure that the government’s Brexit deal is put before the country in a public vote so that we can decide if a decision that will affect our lives for generations makes the country better or worse off”.
Surely, you may be thinking, this is the same as what your petition called for?
There is one vital difference.
The People’s Vote campaign has, at no point, declared its support for Remain being an option in any final deal referendum. Scour their website for such a statement – it does not exist.
The People’s Vote campaign will have met their stated aims if the Government offers the people a choice between a No Deal Brexit and a Bad Deal Brexit – but most of those marching on the 23rd June will have been cheated of their desire to vote to remain.
We risk squandering the efforts of tens of thousands of people because the People’s Vote campaign made a demand so woolly that it could actually help the Brexit movement. Indeed this campaign might actually bolster the chances of a Hard Brexit – given the choice between a No Deal Brexit and a Bad Deal Brexit, many of the public may well plump for a No Deal scenario – tumbling us into a WTO nightmare of tariffs (10% for cars and car parts – a major British export) and arduous border checks (including on the Irish Border).
No doubt some will accuse me of splitting the Remain camp – playing into the hands of Brexiteers. The truth is that the People’s Vote Campaign, as it stands, does not stand for Remain – but for a dangerous path towards a Hard Brexit – and that is something no Remainer should support.
So what can you do?
Contact the People’s Vote Campaign today on Twitter and Facebook. Ask them to support Britain’s membership of the EU by explicitly including the option to Remain in their demand for a vote on the final deal.
Until they do, I’ll be staying at home on the 23rd June.