by Alan Dean on 9 December, 2018
On Tuesday’s Uttlesford DC voted No to my proposal “….. in the event that Parliament cannot reach an outcome (on Brexit) … that will give a high confidence of maintaining or improving the wellbeing of local people, Council calls on Parliament to conduct ….. a People’s Vote to confirm the present will of the people.”
The full motion and my speech can be read here.
This weekend we are on the verge of national political breakdown. There is an increasing risk that the country will crash out of the European Union with no agreement. All but the most ideological Brexiteers accept that this will damage our economy and that councils risk even greater financial squeeze than from the past 10 years’ austerity. What will be next to go after libraries? Child care? Care for the elderly? The NHS, already struggling for cash, doctors and nurses?
Most Uttlesford councillors didn’t want to get involved. All the Conservatives either voted against the motion or abstained. Three Liberal Democrats and six Residents for Uttlesford councillors backed the motion. It was lost by 15 votes to 9.
This weekend the Conservative Party seems to be on the brink of meltdown. That’s no surprise. The party has been promoting anti-EU propaganda for decades. PM David Cameron thought he could spend years attacking and undermining the Union to placate his internal extremists. He then stood little chance of persuading the population that the EU is a good thing — after all the lies, myths and false propagande. He lost badly in 2016.
PM Theresa May has tried to sell a deal in which we would be bound by the EU’s rules but have no say over the rules. The result would not be “taking back control”; the Brexiteers’ basis for leaving. So far, the country has failed to accept that there is no such thing as absolute control of one’s own national destiny, and that cooperation is best for everyone through bodies like the EU. Mrs May’s proposal would bring less national control over our destiny than now.
Crashing out with no deal promises less control, less influence and a much diminished international standing for the UK. The UK itself may be on course for splintering. The Head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) says the UK would become a 4th class nation alongside Bangladesh. So much for those Tories who would have us rely on the WTO.
So it’s not surprising that local polling a week ago showed a marked movement toward Remain and another referendum or People’s Vote. This time, the vote would not repeat the principle of leaving the EU; it would allow people to vote where they want to country to move to. I said on Tuesday it’s a bit like moving house. First you decide that you want to move. Then you check whether you can find the house you want to move to. If you can’t find a better house, most people stay put.
In Saffron Walden’s Market Square a week ago 113 shoppers were asked what they considered to be the best outcome from the Government’s negotiations.
7% backed the Prime Minister’s and Government’s latest deal with the EU.
7% backed walking away from the EU with no deal.
86% backed remaining in the European Union.
The Saturday shoppers were also asked how our country’s future should be decided.
1% trusted the Westminster Cabinet to decide.
9% trusted MP’s in the House of Commons to decide.
90% of local people wanted a People’s Vote to decide – so they could decide.
If that’s not enough evidence of the desire for a People’s Vote on our future, I don’t know what is. I’m disappointed that local Conservative district councillors couldn’t bring themselves to support what local people say what they want – A SAY IN THEIR OWN AND FUTURE GENERATIONS’ FUTURES.
POST SCRIPT ON SUNDAY
Seven days on, next Tuesday evening, Parliament will vote on Mrs May’s Brexit deal with the EU. I am going to make a wild prediction. She will lose the vote. She will not resign. She will tell the people it’s time to choose between 1. No Deal, crashing out of the EU, or 2. Remaining in the EU. So it’s time for a People’s Vote on our nation’s destination. I think Mrs May has been sneakily leading in this direction for over two years; firstly by backing her extremist, ideological Brexiteers like Johnson, Gove and Fox into a corner. By Wednesday they should be cornered, so roll-on Wednesday!
POST SCRIPT ON MONDAY
Wednesday won’t arrive. Parliament is today in turmoil. The UK has been humiliated by Theresa May’s binning of Tuesday’s Commons vote. She claims she’s going to “clarify” the EU withdrawal agreement. Everyone at the EU says: “Oh no, you aren’t changing anything”. This is the worst political chaos in the lifetimes of most people. The Tory Party seems set on self-destruction and looks determined to take the rest of us with them. Because Theresa May is so stubborn she repeatedly today denied the voters a People’s Vote – because she has become a dictator. Remember, it was Hitler who used the phrase “The will of the people” to justify his actions. My country is on track to becoming a rogue state; an international pariah.
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