The independent London newspaper

The Brexiters argument that out means out does not wash any more

30 August, 2018

Cartoon by John Sadler

• THE argument that “out means out” – when it meant such different things to the various people voting for it – does not wash any more.

And it’s a shade disingenuous for Stephen Southam to argue that the general election result last year endorsed a hard Brexit, taking us out of both the customs union and the single market, (Time to present a strong front to the EU bullies, Letters online).

How many voters actually saw the parties’ manifestos, or even summaries, let alone read them? The two main parties’ campaigns, on the road and in the media, resolutely played the issue down. They courted votes on a lot of other issues but treated Brexit as settled in all but a few bothersome details.

No one, surely, would quarrel with Stephen Southam’s argument that the European Union has its faults. No government, no national constitution, no treaty organisation, is without its faults. But that doesn’t mean we give up on them.

The faults he cites, in any case, hardly stack up as an argument for leaving the EU. The United Kingdom has had no plans for many years now to adopt the euro. EU unemployment rates vary country by country with, for example, the UK and Germany boasting respectable levels by global standards.

And the rise of hard right parties can’t be blamed on the EU. At least it attempts to rein them in when they threaten to cross the democratic line. This is a safety net we’ll lose if we go ahead with Brexit, leaving the field wide open to our own hard right.

Why is it that Brexiters are so attached to the popular vote when it goes their way but won’t countenance a fresh popular vote if it might produce a different result?

The mood in the country is shifting. People are getting a better idea now what Brexit means. They should be given a final vote before the country is committed irrevocably to something that most may not want.



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