Everyone now seems to agree with me (https://bernardjporter.com/2016/06/16/is-it-really-about-the-eu/ – though I’m sure they didn’t get it from me: it’s pretty bloody obvious, and scarcely anyone reads this blog) that the great EU Referendum last year wasn’t about Europe at all, except for a few fanatics, but about other issues, chief among them the effects of ‘austerity’. (For example, in today’s Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/14/austerity-brexit-doomed-tory-party-economy-budget-may-hammond). As well as that, a good slice of opinion – shall we call it ‘educated opinion’? – also shares my view that basing such a huge national decision on the narrow result of a foolishly-called one-off referendum goes against the Constitution (such as it is) of the UK, as well as against all common sense. Why that result should still stand when we can be pretty sure that a crucial proportion of the original ‘Brexit’ voters are now dead (see https://bernardjporter.com/2017/10/15/does-the-people-include-corpses/), rather than testing – again – the opinion of the still living, also appears self-evidently ridiculous, and surely not ‘democratic’. A second referendum would have the advantage of determining the opinion of the people now, and with the repercussions of Brexit – in other words, what we’re asked to vote for – more clearly spelled out. But of course the Daily Mail regards any suggestion of that as ‘treason’. (Isn’t it interesting, and rather shocking, by the way, that Theresa May should have decided to attend a dinner the other day to celebrate Dacre’s 25 years as Editor?)
Last night, returning from a performance of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler at the Hull New Theatre in a rather low mood (it’s a depressing play), I was cheered to hear that the Government had given in to pressure for a final Commons vote on the terms of its Brexit deal; which would restore the constitutional supremacy of Parliament. I slept well. Waking up, however, I was cruelly disabused. The vote will be a ‘take it or leave it’ one: either accept the deal, or reject it and still be cast off from Europe into the inky blackness. It’s going to be ‘Brexit’ whichever way they vote. That’s no sort of ‘choice’.
And what are we to think, incidentally, of the arch-Brexiteer Redwood (previously known as the ‘Vulcan’) advising people to move their money abroad before Brexit strikes? (See https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/13/labour-accuses-john-redwood-of-talking-britain-down.)