I just spent nine lovely days in London with my brother and his wife. I was reminded again what a dynamic, vibrant, exciting place London is. But, throughout the trip, I kept wondering how much damage Brexit will do to London and the entire UK on March 29th.
I am pleased to hear that Britain's opposition Labour party has called for a "People's Vote" if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to get a Brexit deal passed by Parliament. It sounds as if a "People's Vote" would include an option to remain in the EU.
While I've only watched the Brexit debate as an outsider, it seems to me that Brexiteers made overly optimistic predictions before the Brexit referendum. Many said cutting an exit deal with the EU would be easy. It has been anything but, as the EU has every incentive to show its members just how painful it would be to leave. Many also said Brexit would be economically advantageous for the UK. But that's never made sense to me. If you make it harder for goods, services, people, and capital to move around between the EU and the UK, how does that help the UK? It may help some specific people, areas, or industries. But, I don't see how it helps the UK as a whole.
It remains unclear if Prime Minster May can get something like her Chequers Agreement exit deal through Parliament or then whether she can get the EU to agree to it. Brexiteers want an agreement that offers more independence for the UK, but if such an agreement goes too far, the EU will balk. And, despite what Prime Minster May has said, crashing out of the EU without a deal would be calamitous for the UK.
Since the Brexit referendum passed, public opinion in the UK has shifted. It is likely that a majority of UK voters would now choose to remain in the EU if there were a second referendum today. They now better understand how hard an exit deal will be and how harsh the economic implications will be.
Prime Minster May and many of her Tory colleagues were themselves Remainers. Labour largely wishes to remain. It appears a majority of voters now wish to remain. I hope Prime Minster May and the Tories will step back from the brink here and embrace the idea of a "People's Vote."
Main blog post image by James Giddins.