27th July 2016 – 34 days after the Referendum

It may be possible to stop Brexit, and you can help – Vote For Europe. http://www.voteforeurope.org.uk

The only way to stop Brexit is to stop Article 50 being invoked. The only way this is likely to happen is if the is a general election before it is invoked, and a majority of MPs that would not back the UK leaving the EU is returned.

Vote for Europe plans to help do just this in the event of a general election. Vote for Europe is a pressure group making daring attempt to get people to vote tactically for the candidate in their constituency that will pledge to try to keep the UK in the EU, whatever their party. Vote for Europe will endorse one candidate per constituency, and will also lobby constituency parties of all major parties to select candidates that will pledge to do this. If ever there was a time to put aside party rivalries, it is now. For just one election, if it happens, please forget the party on the ballot, forget what that party may have done or not done, and vote just for the person who will represent you on this issue. Please follow the link below, sign up to support, and, if you can, become a local volunteer. This is currently the best chance that we have to avert the senseless self-harm that Brexit will bring to the UK and to other Europeans.

Why is this needed?

It’s now more than a month since a majority of UK voters decided to vote to leave the EU. I’m not going to crow, as this is not what I wanted, but it is abundantly clear that this is not going well so far, and that the people who voted to leave, on average, are the ones who are going to be hurt most should the UK actually leave. But it hasn’t left yet, nor has the UK begun the formal process of leaving, the legendary ‘invoking of Article 50’. In fact rumours are abounding that the UK may not actually leave at all, as it becomes apparent that the process of leaving would be an absolute shit-show for all concerned.

Do not be taken in by this. All of the UK-wide parties in Parliament (Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, Green, UKIP (obviously) now have it as official policy that they will “respect the will of the British people” and invoke article 50 at some point. The unelected May government has hinted that this will be at the beginning of 2017, but views on when it will happen vary. The government legal service has also said that it is of the opinion that the PM has the right to do this unilaterally and without the say of Parliament under prerogative powers. Even if this were not the case though, the UK parties’ policies mean that Parliament would be unlikely to back a rejection of the referendum result at the moment, even though the vast majority of MPs are pro-EU.

What about a second referendum?

The Lib Dems, and some in the Labour party have called for there to be a second referendum on the final deal, but, unfortunately, this is a political smokescreen. By the time a final deal on leaving the EU is reached, the UK will only have the option of accepting it or simply leaving without a deal. Once Article 50 is invoked, the Treaties will cease to apply in and to the UK 2 years later, whether or not the UK agrees to the deal on the table.

Can’t Article 50 be reversed?

Legal opinion is split on this. Whatever the legality though, can you imagine that the 27, having gone through horrific negotiations, financial uncertainty, and an existential crisis for the EU, would just heave a sigh of relief and welcome the UK back into the fold? Would the UK do that if the shoe was on the other foot? Of course not.

Isn’t it right that the outcome is respected? The vote was democratic.

A few points. Firstly, it is in the law on the referendum itself that it should be non-binding and advisory, and MP’s official briefings confirmed this. Secondly, had the margin been huge, then this argument may hold some water. Before the referendum, Farage said that a 52/48 result in favour of remain would not be enough to be definitive. This is a question that will define all of our lives for the next 50 to 100 years, and to do so on a 4% (or, as pollsters would say +/-2%) margin is absurd. Thirdly, it is now absolutely clear that the referendum was won by the Leave campaign by being utterly false and deceitful about almost everything, particularly what leaving the EU would actually entail. If the Leave campaign had been subject to normal advertising standards, they could have been prosecuted, and they still may be prosecuted for misconduct in public life. This campaign of lies and wilful deceit was conducted with the assistance of elements of the press that have no regard for truth whatsoever, and continue to print things that are simply, provably untrue. In short, while the vote itself was democratic, the idea that this is the settled will of the public, expressed after a democratically and honestly conducted campaign is nonsense. The people were conned by liars and hucksters.

Most constituencies voted Leave so their MPs should as well.

This is the excuse being hidden behind by MPs who are afraid of going against their party and who don’t want to have to contend with a backlash from Leave voting constituents. Did they ask their constituents this before every other decision of import? Did they poll constituents on the war in Iraq, for example, or on student fees? No, they didn’t, because they are not delegates. Their mandate is their stated policies, and their judgement. Pro-EU MPs who will not pledge to oppose invoking article 50 are, to all intents and purposes, better categorised as anti-EU MPs, as they will have the same effect as those who actually call themselves anti-EU MPs.

Honestly Steve, just get over it!

Nope. This was a referendum held for party political purposes and conducted dishonestly and with utter contempt for reason, truth, and the future of the people of the UK. The UK constitution keeps extremism at the fringes by relying on Parliament to moderate the worst excesses of populism, and this is exactly what this campaign is attempting to do. The politicians know that leaving the EU is a dreadful idea, but without pressure to the contrary, they’re going to do it anyway.

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