No sooner has she settled in as new leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson has upset the pro-Brexit camp. The Member of Parliament for East Dunbartonshire, is calling for a second referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union, while declaring that she would still oppose and vote against Brexit if Leave won for a second time.
And she is not alone. The leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas, has also said something along the same lines. While appearing on the BBC’s Politics Live last week, she was asked if she would back a Brexit deal should Leave also win in a second ballot. “No, I probably wouldn’t,” she answered.
At last, the truth is finally out there. We may be repeatedly told, that a second vote is needed because Leave voters were naïve. Or gullible. And if it wasn’t either of those, then they are racist, right-wing, nationalists. We should not forget those pesky Russian bots, either.
The reality, however, is that those in Parliament calling for a second referendum just don’t want to respect the result of the first one.
It is not so much that the Lib Dems, Scottish Nationalists et al, want a People’s Vote, it is more that they want a vote for their people. They bank on more of their supporters coming out to vote than last time, and upon more people having joined their ranks. Furthermore, they assume that the parliamentary shenanigans and chaos caused by Brexit during the last three years will make the United Kingdom bow to their will. And accordingly, Brexit will be undone.
Yet if the results differ from the expected, Jo Swinson and the like will reserve the right to disregard them. Rather than accepting a second leave result as any kind of ‘confirmatory vote’, they will again turn their backs on the will of the people. They will declare the very vote they brought about meaningless.
This is so arrogant and ridiculous that it is almost funny. Sadly though, there are many with this attitude who remain undeclared. So, while I find Jo Swinson and Caroline Lucas rather contemptuous, self-serving, hypocrites, I can at least respect them for being straight up about it … at last.
The wait now begins, for those who shout for a no-deal Brexit to be ruled out, to come clean about the real reason behind it. Rory Stewart, Philip Hammond, Yvette Cooper, and their cohorts, tell us that it is to avoid economic and logistical chaos. It is the sensible and responsible thing to do. It is in the country’s best interests. However, truth be told, taking no-deal off the table is simply a very good route towards remaining in the EU.
Firstly, it ties the United Kingdom’s hands completely behind its back. It places us at the disposal of Barnier, Verhofstadt et al. They can draw up whatever deal they want to and have a win-win scenario. If the deal is passed, then the EU make a puppet out of the UK. And if the deal is rejected, then it is they who own the remote control. It is, if you like, a secondary win-win situation.
This means that the vastly remain parliament just need to keep voting any proposed deal down. It is true that there are legal defaults in place, meaning that when Article 50 ends, (October 31st currently), the UK is out of the EU, deal or no-deal. However, this was shown to be meaningless under Theresa May and I am sure it is under Boris Johnson also.
As long as enough bills can be tabled, selected, and get the votes, (which in the current Parliament, with the current speaker, looks a formality), then the United Kingdom is virtually trapped in the European Union by its own Members of Parliament.
There are those who say that the European Union is not going to keep giving extensions, the EU among them. However, I believe that they will. Firstly, the EU likes to take control. Secondly, they make being wolves in sheep’s clothing an art form and will relish appearing to be the good guys, while actually enjoying watching the United Kingdom suffer.
And I truly believe, that the EU’s ultimate goal is to kill Brexit off, stone dead. Their happy place is the UK defeated and crawling back on its knees. The EU would then be remarkably strengthened and article 50 forever defunct.
Those wanting no-deal taken off the table know this full well. And they know that this current situation of limbo can’t go on indefinitely. If they can keep it up long enough, they know that there is a good chance that they and the European Union will prevail.
So while they continue to play their game, at the cost of the country, we will wait and see if they will have the decency to follow the likes of Swinson and Lucas, and at least admit it.