The Brexit facts driving “people’s vote” centrists into a meltdown

Yesterday the SKWAWKBOX published an article outlining simple Brexit maths that means the opportunity of the arrogantly-titled “people’s vote” (PV) has effectively already evaporated and that the motives of those pushing it were therefore laid bare, entirely unsurprisingly: attack and undermine Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Predictably, the article was widely attacked by ‘PV’-adherents who claimed there were reasons it could still be done.

But those objections didn’t stand up – they did not take into account the latest legal guidance given to the government and the advanced state of the UK’s loss of status in the European Parliament.

The upshot of the latest developments and the collapse of pro-PV objections leaves the following list of facts that are as concrete as they are unpalatable to the PV-lobby:

  • a new referendum requires primary legislation that only the government can bring before Parliament
  • only the government can allocate parliamentary time for such an Act to pass
  • a referendum requires a minimum of 147 days to be legally held
  • by the time Parliament reconvenes, there will be well below 147 days until EU parliamentary elections
  • the EU has already reallocated the UK’s 27 parliamentary seats
  • legal advice provided to the government says that the UK’s EU membership would be ended by it having no MEPs, even if the UK tried to postpone Brexit on 29 March to create time for another referendum
  • in spite of PV activists’ faux outrage, Corbyn won the party’s leadership election in September 2016 on a platform of respecting the referendum result
  • Lab gained 2.5 million votes in last year’s general election on a manifesto that promised to respect the referendum result
  • In September this year, Labour’s ruling conference backed a policy of prioritising a general election and merely keeping open the option of another referendum
  • on 10 October, the EU’s chief negotiator expressed a clear preference for a permanent customs union with the UK – a plan that only Labour has put on the table and which would remove any issues with the Irish border
  • just a week ago, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said that while there is no EU appetite for any renegotiation of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the EU would accommodate negotiations of an entirely new deal – while indicating that this would not be possible under a Tory government

SKWAWKBOX comment:

The weight of the facts is clear – Labour’s push for a general election is not only the best opportunity for a good UK-EU relationship and fully in line with Labour’s policy. It’s also the only one that can both free the country’s suffering millions from the burden of Tory government and avoid the damage of the Tories’ chaotic Brexit.

In technical and practical terms, the magical pursuit of a new referendum is a blind alley that is likely to condemn the UK’s children and vulnerable to yet more blighted years of the Tories in Downing Street – and to the worst form of Brexit.

Those behind it are likely to be well aware of that – and it has led to a desperate pre-Christmas push.

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  1. As was pointed out yesterday, any law passed for a new vote could (and would) vary the 147 day rule. Parliament makes the rules, parliament can change them. And frequently does.
    Just because you don’t like a point does not give you the right to ignore it without losing credibility.
    Just saying.
    And I’m NOT a ‘peoples’ vote’ supporter: I want a GE.

    1. Whilst it is certainly the case that Parliament can in theory vary the 147 days in legal terms this is not the key issue. In fact, in practical terms it’s irrelevant.

      The key issue is time. The practicalities involved in terms of organising which questions and how many questions on the ballot paper; getting them agreed by all parties; not to mention the Parliamentary time to enact the necessary legislation, campaigning period and other practical time consuming functional requirements of such a process mitigate against getting this done in time for the EU elections even with an extension of A50.

      Meanwhile the bread and butter business of Government is and will remain paralysed whilst this is carried out. Which means the country remains paralysed and the conditions which generated the letter so of the Brexit’s vote, and highlighted by the UN Report, will remain not only untackled and unresolved but will inevitably get worse.

      Good luck winning a vote a vote under those circumstances. And good luck, even if a vote for remain is achieved in winning a majority for the necessary change of policies to deal with this & forty years of failed neo – liberal policies pursued by both the UK & EU (ask the Greeks, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians and French) & maintaining the social cohesion necessary for a functioning society under circumstances in which we have put the cart before the horse by having a vote before a General Election.

      1. General elections aren’t forbidden! The next one is due 2022. I can’t see the Tories trying to postpone or abandon it, can you? Patience!

  2. Spot on! A second referendum is not going to happen, it’s impossible aside from being dangerous. Parliament is deadlocked and needs the blasting of a GE to free it.

    1. ….and if we can’t secure a General Election, what’s next, what’s the plan?

      1. 2022. Unless the Tory government collapses but however bad things get Tories won’t commit suicide any more than the DUP. They will hang on. The law gives no other option.

      2. … but there’s further questions.

        What if a general election (a) happens and (b) is won?

        (A customs union is still a sacrifice of the leverage that the UK now has)

        Anyway – Have a good Christmas whilst pondering them.

  3. As I understand it, the so-called “People’s Vote” originated from Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell and was designed from the beginning with one purpose in mind: to damage Jeremy Corbyn. Just the latest episode in this ongoing “Stop Corbyn” strategy.

  4. Do we really want to give Yaxley-Lennon the ability to pose as the defender of democracy and mobilise hundreds of thousands on the streets?

    He is already trying to do it, his last demo was against referendum ‘Brexit betrayal’. We were lucky this time, it was a flop but only because the timing was premature. He has Bannon, American money and European far right groups behind him now–very dangerous. If the first referendum vote is not implemented, expect the far right to mushroom over night into a very nasty, ugly force indeed.

    1. There will be nastiness if a 2nd vote gives Remain a narrow victory and this unreformed Parliament votes to accept that.

    2. Do you really want to capitulate to a few right wing nutters, its not a good look.. You bulling up Tommy Robinson as some sort great threat only gives him the credibility he so desperately lacks. How long do you intend to continue being an apologist for Tommy’s failures.

  5. My impression of the comments on yesterdays article was that they mostly fell into 2 distinct camps. Those that agree with Labour Party policy that we should push hard for a GE but if that fails then a second referendum is the next best thing and the other camp were those that
    come what may, whatever happens they vehemently oppose a second referendum on the ideological grounds that regardless of what has changed in the meantime the 2016 vote is sacrosanct. So far I haven’t seen any suggestions of what they intend to do if they can’t secure a GE.

    I may have missed the odd comment but I don’t recall any predominance of commentators advocating that they would prefer a second referendum to a GE.

    1. We need to avoid Referundum altogether, they don’t suit our constitution. The Brexit argument will be alive for years, decades to come. Every GE in the foreseeable future will be about trade deals with the EU. It can’t be handled by constant referrals to a Referundum vote of 2016. It’s only by GE’s shaping Parliament that we will get progress.

    2. I’ve no idea what point you’re making but I would like to thank you for voting Labour and supporting Jeremy Corbyn and the promise to honour the result of the referendum.

  6. “on 10 October, the EU’s chief negotiator expressed a clear preference for a permanent customs union with the UK – a plan that only Labour has put on the table and which would remove any issues with the Irish border”

    This really beggars belief. You say we don’t have enough time for a people’s vote, yet we have time for a General election and a new withdrawal agreement? How long will that take, another two years?

    Every single poll suggests that Lexit will lead Labour to a disaster with more than 70% of Labour voters and 2/3rd of marginal seats (today) wanting to Remain in the EU. It’ll also split the party and destroy Corbyn. Labour skilfully avoided any mention of Brexit in GE17, but that won’t work in a snap GE where it will be right at the front of everyone mind!

    If PV has time problems it’s time to find solutions quickly, or else JC will be blamed for running the clock down to the point where a PV isn’t possible. Whatever was agreed in conference it wasn’t that I assure you. With 85-90% of Labour members supporting Remain they won’t forgive that, Jeremy and Labour will be finished, unnecessarily.

  7. If Labour loses the youth vote and the support of Momentum because of Corbyn’s intractable pro-Brexit stance, there won’t be a Labour government in power anytime soon. Jeremy is a lifelong Euro-skeptic and I respect him. But capital flight from Britain is occurring now and threatens to reduce the lifeline benefits and pensions of millions of people, including the sick and disabled. (I have spent seven years campaigning against the draconian welfare reforms and for the interests of vulnerable people.) Debbie Abrahams MP recently said: https://twitter.com/Hephaestus7/status/1075938861350563840. I’m in favour of revoking Article 50 and ending this Brexit madness; but there are signs that Parliament is so spooked by the looming threat of a no-deal Brexit that MPs will hold their noses and vote for Theresa May’s flawed Brexit agreement.

    1. Corbyn is not a Euro-sceptic he has publicly stated that he voted to remain in the EU but he bowed to the result of the Referendum because, above all, he’s a democrat.

      I also voted to remain and would do the same again. I do not believe that the second referendum was fair or honest. There was no explanation of the pros and cons of leaving or remaining – just a red London bus with a mendacious message, written large across it. “We send the EU £350 million a week. Let’s spend it on the NHS instead”. We also know now that the funding for the leave campaign was illegal.

      Since then, most of us have been made aware of the true costs of leaving and the benefits of remaining.

      We are also witnessing bankers and other companies leaving the UK. They came from Europe to work in our NHS and other businesses because we were in the EU. Many more will leave us if we finally cut ourselves out.

      I want our young people to have the same opportunities as we have enjoyed, to expand their minds and enrich their lives with the ability to travel to Europe with ease, as we have since we joined the EU.

      I will be 79 years of age on the 25 January and it would raise my spirits if another referendum – this time with all the benefits and disadvantages laid out before us.

  8. Us Brexiteers know even more now than we did then as to be supremely confident and determined for a final ‘People’s Brexit’ to triumph. Us Brexiteers are not such cowards as to balk at another EU Referendum so long as the choice is a binary ‘IN’ or ‘OUT’ as previously listed on the ballot. None of yer nobbling three discombobulating choices as to be a manipulation to split Brexit’s options and see Remain sneak in with duplicitous guile.

    1. oldwaif 24/12/2018 at 11:42 pm
      Wow. It will be fascinating to see how many of your fellow Brexiteers join you in expressing their support for a second referendum, to date they have exhibited a very marked reluctance to do so.

      I note your reluctance to have 3 questions on the ballot paper because you believe that this would split the leave vote.

      I believe that posting 3 questions
      1, Remain
      2. Leave with whatever deal has been negotiated by either Labour or the Tories
      3. Leave with no deal and negotiate to join the WTO

      I acknowledge your concerns about the leave vote being split but this concern could equally apply to the Remainers vote being split. Fortunately these concerns can be easily and completely negated by using the STV system for the vote.
      It is fair and inclusive so everyone gets the chance to express their first preference, it is easy to understand and it also tends to produce a decisive result.
      What’s not to like.

      1. ‘Leave’ the victors of first referendum don’t want you as ‘Remain losers’ to decide on Leave’s behalf what the terms of ‘the battle’ won by Leave should be. Victors in ‘battles’ don’t usually consult ‘the defeated’ about what the best terms for the defeated should be. The suggestion of a second referendum with a three choice ballot is wholly orchestrated toward the benefit of Remain. And, you and your duplicitous ilk know it. We all know it. How about a fourth choice of a plain Brexit ‘Leave’ (4. Leave) unattached to any provisos or insidious inclusions about ‘deals’ or ‘WTOs’, etc?

      2. oldwaif 25/12/2018 at 1:26 pm

        I will be more than happy to answer the queries you raise in your post as soon as you clarify what you mean by ‘Leave’. It should be borne in mind that the only 3 choices available at the moment are Remain, May’s deal or Leave without a deal. The EU has already clearly stated what things will look like from their perspective if we choose to leave without a deal.
        The sooner you let me know what version of Brexit should be enacted in the case of a second leave vote then the sooner I’ll be able to reply to the points you have made above.

  9. the red bus did not say “We send the EU £350 million a week. Let’s spend it on the NHS instead”.

    it said – “We send the EU £350 million a week. Let’s fund the NHS instead”.BIG DIFFERENCE!!!

    I JUST WON 50 BILLION, I’LL BUY YOU A MEAL – don’t mean i’ll buy you a 50 billion meal

    1. jennybn 25/12/2018 at 8:50 pm

      Whilst I agree that it is important to be accurate it doesn’t alter the fact that what was written on the side of the bus was meaningless PR drivel that was designed to deceive.

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