Firstly, to use a painfully overused phrase, let’s be clear – Brexit is likely already dying. This may not seem obvious right now for reasons I’ll outline below but let’s take a reality check:
- All Brexits are damaging – some, such as staying in SM & CU are less so but all will cost jobs & have an impact on the economy
- There’s a weak majority in Parliament, so Labour support will be needed to pass any Brexit
- But Labour will have to justify supporting an economy and job damaging Brexit, difficult given their membership
- The great British public are fickle – they were promised a free Brexit, not an economy damaging one and long term prosperity promises won’t override short term pain
In the end a deal may or may not be struck but it won’t be great, and meanwhile the bad news will unfortunately but inevitably build. This isn’t pessimism, it’s sad realism – Brexit is based on foolish assumptions about trade and the UK’s place in the world, and is being led by people who are simply not up to the job. This in turn will have a knock on effect on all aspects of British life.
There are vested interests on the left and right who want to keep Brexit alive. They don’t have any good news that people will really care about and the arguments about sovereignty & “independence” will likely fade when reality bites. So they instead will say “Brexit is settled”, “we voted, get over it” and will put up all kinds of barriers to debate around ending Brexit.
Seventh, sorry, but I’m convinced that overturning the referendum result would cause catastrophic, possibly irreversible damage to our democracy. It’s quite clear that one of the factors which drove Leave was disillusionment with the political elites. If a referendum result presented as the definitive word is overturned, what exact message will that send out? That you can vote for something, but tough? Imagine 52% voted for Remain and the government went, sorry, but tough, we’re leaving anyway?
The above from Owen Jones is a classic case in point – the language is of “overturning” the referendum and undermining democracy. Why would anyone do that? Similarly there is talk of riots and civil unrest if the result is reversed.
Fundamentally, Brexit vested interests in Labour & Conservatives will try to drag you into the problems of a 2nd ref, new election or parliament vote. They will point out all the issues with these 3 methods (which are significant), make stopping Brexit appear impossible and therefore Brexit itself inevitable. They will say Article 50 can’t be reversed or that there is no going back.
Because the method of ending Brexit doesn’t matter at this point.
And discussing how hard it is to end Brexit serves Leavers, not Remainers.
The reality is there’s only hard Brexit on the table at this point but the route to pushing it through has been lost. Theresa May didn’t hold the GE to strengthen her hand in Brussels nor was it directly because she wanted to crush Labour – she realised that she needed a strong buffer of Tory MPs to push through the upcoming poor deal. That spectacularly backfired and now, although Corbyn has done an amazing job of hiding his tacit hard brexit support, cracks are starting to appear – Labour cannot be seen to wave through a damaging brexit a full 2 and half years after the vote.
There is only one way of ultimately stopping Brexit, and that’s when a majority of the public turn solidly against it. And as events progress they almost certainly will. The bad news will build and the reasons for voting leave will fade. The humiliations for the government will grow and the transparency of the EU will give them no place to hide. Meanwhile business will vote with their feet. It will become obvious to the majority that Brexit is a bad idea.
Or it won’t, but all we can do is keep repeating the message – we were lied to, Brexit is damaging, and it can be stopped. Getting pulled into rat hole discussions on how to end it only makes it seem more difficult.
So honestly, don’t worry about how Brexit will be stopped – once sufficient public opinion has built against it our MPs will find a way to stop it because they cannot push through a bad Brexit against the public wishes and survive. 2nd Ref, vote or GE, it doesn’t matter because a way will be found. And as said below:
Because finally, the reality is 80% of people won’t care about how Brexit is stopped, they’ll just want it stopped.
So, my suggestion? Forget the how, the how doesn’t matter – just keep fighting & keep the message strong – Brexit is fundamentally wrong on all levels, bad for the country, based on lies and must be stopped. Transparency and debate on Brexit itself is the way forward, not pointless “do we keep asking till we get the right answer” discussions. Ignore the naysayers, they’re not on your side.