After months of denying it would happen, Theresa May has “shocked” the nation by calling a general election. Her motivations are many. But as you go to the voting booth on June 8th, you should have only one objective: To correct the UK’s course on Brexit.
If you believe that the UK as a whole supports a hard Brexit, leaving the EU, the European legal system, the single market, the customs union, Euratom and all else. AND you believe this will make the UK a richer, safer, happier place, then fair enough, vote for the Conservative party. If not, then this election may be your last chance to prevent a very unpleasant unravelling of UK’s successful modern history.
Because whatever the newspapers, the pundits and your Social Media mates tell you, the UK has done very well throughout my lifetime, that is the last 40-odd years. Unemployment is at a record low. True, wages are struggling, but this is a global phenomenon, not an EU problem. And to be honest, the ways people suffer today are measurably less depressing than the ways they suffered 40 years ago. Economic development, driven by globalisation, has been a boon to the developed world. And the UK, as a landing pad for global businesses and people entering the EU, has benefitted more than most. Sure there are problems, but there should be no doubt that the EU has hugely benefited almost everyone in the UK.
It sounds glib, but think about it. If the UK has benefited from being in the EU, it will suffer for leaving. That means you will suffer. The Prime Minister doesn’t even deny it. She talks about getting “the best deal possible” and fervently avoids questions highlighting how the best deal possible is worse than the current deal. Because either we lose the single market and business suffers enormously (ie employees suffer enormously), or we keep the border open, which is unpalatable to Leave (ignore for now all the legal things the government has failed to do to control immigration). If we manage to keep access to EU markets, companies will be obliged to conform to EU rules, but the nation will no longer have a say in writing them. And thousands of jobs will go anyway, because key EU assets, like the European Banking Authority and the European Medical Agency (along with all their satellite businesses) will definitely remain inside the EU, and that’s just for starters.
Hard Leavers, who hate the EU on principle, will tell you not to listen to me. They have a point: I am a self-confessed “expert.” We experts did say that the UK economy would suffer a huge shock in the case of a Brexit vote. And it hasn’t happened, yet.
But expert opinion hasn’t changed. There is still not a single major economic institution that thinks the UK will be better off outside the EU as compared to inside. That means whatever money the government can save from its net contribution to the EU budget will be more than given back in lost business activity. That, in turn, means not only no £350 mln for the NHS, or other worthy causes, but LESS money for all government funded concerns, and of course no money coming from the EU for regional development purposes.
The chaos and confusion that has followed the Brexit decision, including a government which, nine months later, still hasn’t run an economic analysis of the risks of no deal being reached, adequately highlights that Brexit is a bad idea. It was a punt by the Tory party to fend off a far-right split, but was shambolically organised. Millions of overseas voters were denied a voice, and the Leave campaign wasn’t obliged to state a clear plan for what Leave meant. In the wake of the vote, the Conservative party right-wing has run amok, and now aims to force a hard Brexit, which was never on the ballot paper, and will cause immeasurable unnecessary suffering. Not just for those in work today, but for the nation’s youth, and generations to come. It is 2017, there is no way back to the 1960s, whatever we do. The UK is no longer an empire, and is all the better for accepting an honourable role in the world, punching above its weight with the support of the EU.
“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off.” Do these two really look like they wanted the win they got on 23 June?
But, what can you do? It’s not too late. One thing is abundantly clear. The final Brexit deal will inflict harm to millions of people, including many who voted for things that were promised but won’t be priorities or – like the $350mln for the NHS – were never deliverable. The way out of this mess, the only honest and fair way to unite the nation, is to hold a referendum on the terms of Brexit. Failure to do that renders the whole Brexit process an undemocratic scam, little more than a coup d’état by a small group of rich, xenophobic, power-hungry egomaniacs.
At the general election on 8th June, you can vote tactically for any party that has a local shot against the Tories. If the nation stands up to dishonest, corrupt and manipulative politicians, it can still force the Conservatives to be honest about Brexit, and prevent the nation from being dragged into a darker, poorer future.
Vote tactically, don’t give Theresa May a free hand to destroy the nation’s future. Block the far-right Conservatives in the 2017 General Election!