Present Government has failed both Pro- and Anti-Brexiters; Call a General Election; Revoke Article 50 or Request a Long Extension

2019-03-30 · Writing

In the 2016 Referendum, a large number of people voted for Brexit, and a large number of people voted against Brexit. Ignoring, for a moment, how close the result actually was (52%:48%), and ignoring, also, that many people have likely since changed their views, the current situation is one that neither pro- nor anti-Brexiters wanted—the present Government has failed both groups. I call for an immediate General Election, and that the present and future Governments exercise damage control by either revoking Article 50 entirely, or by requesting a long extension to it of at least 1 year.

The present Government has reached an impasse. Having spent 2–3 years negotiating the terms of Brexit, it does not have enough support to approve them. Parliament has made its rejection of these terms abundantly clear—3 times, broadly-speaking. Parliamentary procedure should not become a war of attrition; doing so risks losing not only the will of the People, but also the faith of our concerned neighbours. The terms of the present Withdrawal Agreement are rejected. No means no.

Despite the present Government’s defeat of its plans, it still has an obligation to the People. It, together with Parliament, should have the grace, expertise, and humility to admit that there is no consensus, no clear way forward, and thus should call time on the present direction. If you are lost, it is not wise to continue running aimlessly. If the door ahead of you is closed, it is not wise to hit it repeatedly with your head or the heads of others. Therefore, even at this woefully-late stage, the present and future Governments have an obligation to protect the People’s interests, and to implement damage control. Damage control should not mean voting for an Agreement which has been rejected multiple times, which many people and politicians alike feel to be against their better judgement and perhaps even values. Damage control should mean maintaining the status quo until we have a better option, and a clear direction in which to proceed. This means either revoking Article 50 entirely, or alternatively, if that cannot gain enough support, requesting a long extension to it of at least 1 year, to allow for a General Election, and for cross-party, cross-world-view consensus to be built.

The EU is not perfect. But the UK has made abundantly clear that it is far from perfect, too. Rather than continue to play high-stakes games between extreme outcomes very few people actually want, the present and future Governments, together with Parliament, should demonstrate responsibility, recognise our own failings, and enact these measures to try to de-escalate a situation which neither pro- nor anti-Brexiters really wanted.