18/09/2019

Something to vote for....


The current UK political scene moves so quickly that by the time this is posted – and certainly after a few weeks- things will probably have changed again. However what I am reassured about at the moment is that there’s now a party I can vote for in the event of General Election in the coming months. The Liberal Democrats have decided that their manifesto will include a commitment to reverse Brexit by revoking Article 50. You could predict what the response from some quarters would be and indeed it has been. “Its undemocratic” they cry without understanding that this would only happen after an election in which as many if not more people would vote than did in the EU Referendum. Any policies enacted by a government that were in their election manifesto are democratic by the fact that people have already voted for them. Second, “the Lib Dems would never win a general Election under any conceivable scenario”. True perhaps but the point of this policy is not to suggest they are preparing for government but that they have drawn a line in the sand. It is as clear where the Conservatives stand on Brexit just as it as unclear where Labour do on the topic. Now there’s an actual choice with a party committed to the EU. Besides dismissing them because they won’t win is overlooking how the Lib Dems could actually hold the balance of power.


They are not likely to enter into any more coalitions but if they end up with 30 plus MPs they could hold quite an influence. I am sure we’ll leave the EU anyway, not least because even Boris Johnsn isn’t silly enough to call an election before 31 October. However what the Lib Dem policy of revoking Brexit does mean is that the next natural development is that they would then incorporate into a future manifesto a commitment to rejoining the EU.
Brexit should not be a full stop or an end and people who believe in the idea of the UK being part of the EU are not just going to give up and go away. This will be more so when the ramifications of Brexit start to take hold. Just like how people are now moaning about the lengthy Brexit impasse – as if it was ever going to be different- after a while they will start to moan about rising prices, an erosion in health and safety,  more complex tax and business rules and so on. Even ardent Brexiteers are now suddenly talking about `short term pain` realising that to pretend everything will be completely ok is just unrealistic. Then again didn’t they say that about austerity? Is a decade `short term` pain?
The third thing people are saying is that even though they agree with the Lib Dem’s stance on revoking Brexit they can’t vote for them because it was the party’s propping up of the Tory government that enabled the idea of a referendum to happen in the first place. There may be something in this- certainly I was wary of the Lib Dems for the same reason - but politics doesn’t work if the electorate holds grudges. Parties, personnel and politics change and it seems as if that change is more rapid as time goes on. I’m sure if we held grudges like that a lot of people would never vote for anyone.
The political landscape will alter again. The media currently presents a skewed positive coverage of Brexit because of some significant players being influential but things can change. For example, I’ve read that there was some burning public wish for the EU referendum but I have to say that nobody I know or work with ever mentioned the topic till the vote was first announced. It may have been an issue in the political bubble but most of us had other priorities which have been overlooked because of the all consuming Brexit circus. So when a post EU UK starts to falter, don’t be surprised if more people turn on the idea of Brexit.  Indeed the irony of Brexit may yet be that the EU affects all of us far more adversely than had we stayed.


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