We all know that a "Hard Brexit" will be damaging. Many people talk hopefully about a "Soft Brexit".
The Catch 22 is: The European Union will not officially and seriously negotiate until Article 50 notice is served. Nobody knows what deal will be possible. So the worst case scenario that you have to be ready to accept is : No deal. We are out in two years, on WTO rules, having lost privileged access to our biggest and nearest trading partner. An economic impact in excess of £120bn over the next five years alone. Forget about the budget surplus forecast for 2017, the national debt will grow again dramatically. Greece and Italy will be laughing at the UK for a change.
What should Parliament do?
The obligation and duty of Parliament is to fully consider the advice expressed on 23rd June. To then balance that advice against other factors such as the national interest, and any changes in the political, economic and social context since June 23rd.
There have in fact been considerable changes.
oThe consequences of 'Brexit' have since been examined in great depth, and things will clearly not be so simple as claimed before the vote.
oXenophobia and racial hatred have sharply increased.
oThe enormous costs of leaving have been confirmed by the Chancellor and independent bodies.
oYou may be able to think of others.
There is no such option as an assured "Soft Brexit". There are only two options::
Either: Serve Article 50 Notice, then hope for the best, but be ready for the worst - Hard Brexit.
Or: Have a free debate and vote in Parliament, and if sanity prevails a decision to Remain, in the best interests of the nation.
Labour says they will not vote against an Article 50 Bill. They repeat the mantra 'The people have spoken'.
The People may have Spoken, but the People were Fooled. Things have changed since June 23rd and there is evidence that voters are far better informed of the consequences of leaving, that public opinion has changed, and that now more than 50% would vote to Remain.
Leaving the Union now could very well be against 'the will of the people', as well as against the national interest.
I close with a quote from the Telegraph: 'A weary Conservative MP told the Telegraph that there would be "riots" if Mrs May delayed Brexit beyond 2019. The source said: "Can you imagine the reaction if we went into the 2020 general election, still a member of the EU? There would be riots." '
So there it is. Government policy dictated by fear of UKIP and their fellow thugs. The sad demise of British democracy. Ruled by fear.
The country needs need Labour and Conservative MPs who will stand up against the Rule of Fear, remember their Code of Conduct, to serve the best interests of the nation first and party last, and show that they have the moral fibre and integrity to take a firm stand and stop this self -destruction of the United Kingdom.