The tectonic plates of British politics seem to be shifting in bizarre ways. David Cameron called the referendum on EU membership mainly in order to heal splits in the Conservative party. Now both the Conservatives and Labour are more deeply divided than ever. Extreme Brexiteers dominate the leadership of both parties. So we have the old Socialist Corbyn forcing the Labour shadow cabinet into supporting Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees Mogg, the DUP and their far-right pro Brexit agenda. The far right seem caught up in fantasy of recreating the British Empire and the far left into creating a 1970’s style Socialist fantasy. Both leaderships seem totally out of touch with reality.
The People’s March against Brexit took place in London last Saturday. About 700,000 people took part, making it the biggest demonstration in the UK since the anti Iraq war demo in 2003. I couldn’t be in London on that day, but like countless others was with them in spirit. Seeing the photos and comments on Twitter I clearly missed what was a very good natured but determined event.
Ever since we joined the EU it has been the butt of many jokes. The UK’s negotiations have always been portrayed as US against THEM. This whole Brexit nightmare has made many people take stock and realize the many extraordinary achievements of the EU and the benefits of membership. More and more people seem to be identifying themselves as European. We might also be British, but that is becoming the weaker affiliation. We see this most strongly in Scotland, where many people are saying, if the price of keeping the benefits of EU membership is breaking up the UK and going for Scottish independence, then, so be it. Also in England, Wales and Northern Ireland more and more people are identifying themselves as Europeans.
The Brexiteers won the referendum based on a pack of lies, cheating and illegal spending. It is now time to have a People’s Vote on the outcome of Theresa May’s negotiations with the EU. Clearly staying in the EU must be an option, and all the opinion polls now indicate that remaining in the EU would be the most popular option.
A growing number of politicians support this point of view. Many of them spoke at the huge demonstration in London last Saturday. Perhaps they could form some kind of National Coalition Government to extricate us from the chaos of Brexit. It would certainly be interesting to see a government made up of say, Nicola Sturgeon from the SNP, Caroline Lucas from the Green Party, Leanne Wood from Plaid Cymru, Vince Cable from the LibDems and perhaps Sadiq Khan, David Lammy, Chuka Umunna and Andrew Adonis from Labour, with maybe Anna Soubry, Dominic Grieve, Kenneth Clarke and John Major from the Conservatives. We might bring in a few people from outside Parliament, such as Femi Oluwole. I’m sure that this cross party grouping could cooperate much more effectively than either our current cabinet or the shadow cabinet!