As the dramas unfold in parliament, it is clear there is no agreement amongst our parliamentarians on the deal that Mrs May has come back with which has taken 2.5 years to negotiate and no agreement as to how to resolve the impasse. It is an appalling deal. We will have had our voice and vote removed completely when we should be in the heart of Europe continuing to shape it with our partners.
You cannot have the benefits without the membership fee. You cannot shape the EU without the membership card to get you in. You cannot have the SM and CU without embracing the four freedoms. You cannot have the exact same benefits of EU membership, SM or CU without being members. The other option, No-Deal, contrary to public opinion does not mean we remain as we are just not in the EU, it means we literally fall out of every single treaty and framework agreement with no arrangements going forward. All the systems and regulatory and business-related apparatus that we rely on to manage our complex economy and public services and way of life will have to be rebuilt or remade in some form. Either way, May’s deal of the blind future or no-deal of complete chaos, it will not be the end of Brexit. Either option will lead to many years of arguing and negotiating and distraction when we could just be getting on with growing our economy and shaping our futures at the top table with our friends.
It is time for us all to accept that the problem with Brexit is Brexit. After 40 years of membership, our systems of trade, of movement and, in our private lives, our mix of cross EU relationships and families which have grown and developed are all inextricably linked. Is that a bad thing given the enormous benefit we have seen to peace and the improvements in the protections of citizens in many areas and the fantastic opportunities that Freedom of Movement has given us and of course genuine frictionless trade with access to FTA agreements across the world beyond the EU? Leaving is like trying to take the ice out of the ice cream so in the end it just leaves a melted lukewarm mess in your bowl. It will leave our bank balances lower, our futures more uncertain, our public services desperately damaged especially the NHS which will become extremely vulnerable to becoming a two-tier system of more health insurance vs a public service struggling to make the budgets work and find enough staff. The NHS is already struggling in these areas. Brexit will make it worse.
I agree with Chris Matheson, in his thoughtful column on the issue of Brexit recently and the dangers of no-deal and I am very glad he is not prepared to compromise by agreeing to Mrs. May’s bad solution. There is another way. We can choose to change our minds and remain. There is only one way we can legitimately and fairly break this impasse. We need to have a referendum and test the May proposition properly, a proposition which Parliament by the looks of it cannot agree on and examine the costs and the consequences and the so-called benefits to our lives. Then we need to re-examine our EU membership by the same standard. Then we need to decide whether May’s deal is what we really and truly want.