Saturday 5 November 2016

Finally, a moment of sanity

This week's ruling on Article 50 by the High Court seemed to be a moment of sanity that us Remain voters had been crying out for since the Brexit result.

The decision by the three senior judges means that the Prime Minister, Theresa May cannot trigger Article 50 without approval from parliament.

This would seem a perfectly sensible and reasonable thing to do, before we go ahead with such a crucial decision. We should at least have some idea of the kind of Brexit we're going to get as a country and it's only right that Parliament has a say on such a significant matter.

This however is not the thoughts of your Brexit fundamentalists and the right-wing press. This week's decision for them was a case of unelected, out of touch judges blocking the will of the British people.

The reaction of the Daily Mail and The Express was ridiculous as they descended into a collective melt down. Not only was it totally predictable but I couldn't help but quietly laugh to myself. Brexit was never going to be an easy straight forward affair and so it's proving.

First things first, the UK will still be leaving the EU. Even as a Remainer I accept that decision. What's now important is the kind of Brexit we're going to have.

What annoys me is that Brexiteers think that because they won the referendum, those of us who voted to stay in the EU must now shut up. It's as if we're not allowed to debate or question the terms of Brexit.

What seems to have been completely overlooked is the vote for Brexit was only 52%. It's a majority but not a huge majority. A significant number of people in this country did not vote to the leave the EU and those thoughts and feelings have to be taken into account.

When I think about Brexit and those who most advocated the UK leaving the EU, I'm reminded of a chant commonly sung by football fans around the country.

Fans will be familiar with moments in matches when the referee makes a series of wrong and strange decisions in a short space of time that gives the impression that he's lost control of the game, a familiar chant of: 'You don't know what you're doing' rings out from fans of the team on the wrong end of these decisions.

I think about that chant in relation to Brexiteers and feel compounded to shout 'You don't know what you're doing' every time someone tells me that Remainers should shut up and that Brexit will prove to be a brilliant success.

It's quite clear that within the Brexiteer vote there are different visions of what a post EU world will look like for the UK; there's no clear consensus on what Brexit will mean.

Last week's High Court decision on Article 50 is about implementing the necessary checks and balances needed in this process. Applying appropriate scrutiny and ensuring that over the next 6 months we get some clarification on what the long term plan is.

If this country is now going to leave the EU then I'd like to leave in a way that I think is best for Britain. If you asked people who voted for Brexit you will find a whole range of different reasons for their vote. Immigration, more money for the EU, an end to EU red tape and regulation.

It's quite clear there is no clear consensus or idea on what a post Brexit world should look like for this country. Brexiteers and the right-wing press might want to remember this before they accuse Remainers of being enemies of the people.

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