Cyril Olsen accuses me of not accepting the result of a confirmatory referendum, now people are so much more aware of the complications of untangling a very close international partnership of over forty years. I wrote in a letter last May about a confirmatory vote: ”If the majority still want to leave, so be it.”
Can I remind Cyril again that the Scottish referendum required a 60% majority for any major constitutional change, so a 51.9 majority would not have brought about independence for Scotland. Also Nigel Farage made clear just before the 2016 referendum, that if Leave lost 52% to 48% he would continue to campaign for what he believes in, as is his democratic right.
The problem is that the promises made by Boris Johnson during the referendum campaign are not deliverable. We cannot withdraw from the “club”, refusing to pay the subscription, and expect to enjoy all the privileges of free access to European markets while not obeying any of the rules. Those rules give us environmental protection, far more effective over a whole continent, high standards of food safety, workers’ rights, the European Health card, the European Arrest Warrant, trans European Research funding and many other benefits. We also enjoy about 60 international trade deals through the EU with the rest of the world which we shall lose if we crash out without a deal. The problems caused for the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement were never given a thought by the Leave campaign.
As one of the biggest member states we do contribute more financially, However, our exporters will suffer if they have to pay tariffs on goods going to EU countries; our supplies of medicines and fresh produce from other countries may well get delayed. Jobs are already disappearing as companies relocate into the Single Market. We are still awaiting the publication of the “Yellowhammer” report giving details of the risks identified by the Government’s own civil servants. It is urgent that a serious attempt be made to negotiate a new deal, and for this to be put to the people with an option to remain. If the people vote to continue with ongoing negotiations for several years to sort out the mess of no deal, if that is all that is on offer, then those of us who value our European citizenship will sadly have to accept the outcome.