Dominic Grieve MP chose to say in his Christmas message to members: “My preference remains that we should return to the electorate to consult them as to whether or not we should leave on the terms offered or give them the option of expressing a desire to remain in the EU if that is their opinion”.
A Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association member replies as follows:
Dominic, many thanks for your Christmas message and I wish you and your family the same and best wishes for 2019.
As you say there are some great challenges ahead this year and beyond which require sound judgment from our lawmakers. I concur that this requires constructive debate including on our future beyond the EU.
However, I sense in your words an inference that it is the other half of the debate that has to be more reasonable? And yet I am afraid that the divisiveness that you seek to address will not be healed if the result of the referendum is not respected. In fact, the resulting democratic deficit will cause irreparable fissures in not just politics but society itself.
Firstly, you talk of respecting the original referendum but returning to the electorate on the deal?
Surely, if this were the case you would be proposing a second vote between the PM’s deal and leaving without one?
If the PM’s deal is what you and many others say it is, how can the argument be between that and Remaining? There is nothing on such a ballot paper that can possibly appeal to those who wish to Leave and if this were to happen there would quite rightly be indignation and more.
As I have mentioned before, people do not like being taken for fools. The idea that the original question was abstract is a false one; people knew full well and listened hard to the warnings.
They are also aware that we have acted as supplicants in these negotiations and that the facts have not changed, simply the will of our political class to attempt to achieve a result. You yourself admitted at the BCCA AGM this year that the NI issue had been deliberately politicised.
As we approach March 29th there are two things that need to happen. We need to ramp up preparations, belatedly, for leaving without a deal. Secondly, we need to ensure the PM’s deal, which does not deliver a departure and hobbles our negotiating position, does not pass into law in its present form.
Apart from the recent political ructions in Europe, it should be noted that as the ECB announces the end of QE at the end of the year, this is happening at a time when the Eurozone, including Germany, is showing rapid signs of a slowdown (it is more exposed to cyclical slowdown than the service based UK economy). After a monetary stimulus of €1.7trillion, the ECB has very little to show for it. PMI’s are falling hard, Unemployment, particularly amongst the young remains very high, deficit spending is rising, the number of large zombie companies is at 9% and rising, bank NPLs still represent 5.1% of total loans and banks are under capitalised. The Federal Budget that is needed to stave off a Eurozone crisis is proving impossible to deliver.
If ever there were a time to walk away in order to get a sensible deal this is it. But in any case as has been shown by no deal preparations on both sides, the worst of fears will not occur. Planes will fly point-to-point (as they always would under Open Skies). There will be reciprocity in facilitating truck movements and at passport control. The Mayor of Calais has made supporting statements. Side deals are being done to ensure EU entities have vital access to the City. And so the list will grow as we approach the deadline.
Most importantly the Irish are not planning to erect any structures at the border. As anyone who has read WTO documentation, including the recently introduced TFA, will know, a hard border is not a physical border but a line on a map for fiscal purposes.....something that already exists.
In summary, I cannot support your contention that a second referendum, between the PM’s deal and Remaining, respects the democratic process. Neither of these choices delivers on the referendum result, the manifesto or the result of the general election. The facts have not changed, only the political will and leadership to do as promised and this will not go unnoticed.
Most importantly, it will not be a route to heal the divide, it will assuredly focus it more sharply.
I therefore wish to register my strong opposition to your support for a second referendum.