A number of people have written to ask why I continue to campaign against Brexit, given the decision has been made. Why, they ask, waste my time pointing out the damage that a hard Brexit will do to the UK and to our area?
My concern begins with the fact that many people (not all, I know) many people voted to Leave the EU because of a campaign that even the Daily Telegraph now accepts was mired by scaremongering and the misuse of statistics. The Remain campaign was not perfect, but driving a double decker bus around the country plastered with that NHS lie took campaigning to a whole new low.
Then, there is no escaping the fat our exit from the EU is going to speed globalisation and its influence on the UK such that, although people rich enough to deal in dollars may benefit, the man on the Turnpike omnibus, including many Leave voters, will be hurt badly.
Meanwhile Theresa May and the Conservatives are pushing us not just towards Brexit, but towards the hardest of hard Brexits – not something that was on the ballot paper.
As Andrew Rawnsley said recently in the Observer : By narrowly voting to leave the EU, the country answered one question, but in doing so it raised a host of other questions about the precise shape that Brexit should take. This was up for grabs. The hard Brexiters understood that instantly. They didn’t stop campaigning when the referendum result came in. They continued agitating and with a burning ferocity that was amplified by the Brexit press at its most megaphonic. They did so to ensure that they could impose their interpretation of what the referendum meant.
With all this in mind, I will not stop campaigning, until the opportunity for a positive, constructive influence is gone, dead and passed. I will point out the damage that leaving the EU will do across the UK, including in our area; that the referendum result was not any sort of landslide; that there is a better way and could be a softer Brexit.
I respect the vote, but the devil is in the detail. The UK voted for a journey, not a destination. The government should hold a referendum on the detail of the actual final Brexit deal. How can it be reasonable to say that the people should have a vote on a theoretical notion, but should not have a choice on the actual, final exit-deal negotiated with the EU?
If Theresa May and her Tory Brexit government are proud of what they are doing, they will be happy put their exit deal to the British people before it is pinned down. The very least the people of Britain deserve is for their representative members parliament to have a meaningful vote on the EU deal.
Meanwhile, my job to protect the people I seek to represent and their children and their future until the final moment – and I hear no fat lady singing just yet.