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Prophecy News – Tony Blair – We need a second Brexit vote so that we don’t betray Britain’s future

Prophecy News - Tony Blair - We need a second Brexit vote so that we don’t betray Britain’s future

The case for the People’s Vote is now overwhelming. The real betrayal of the country would be refusing it.

There have been two years of frankly fruitless negotiations. We are not agreed with Europe or among ourselves. There are at least three different versions of what the 2016 Brexit mandate means. The Chequers proposal is the least popular version on offer, polling miserably. Yet this is what our Government is threatening to stampede through Parliament or else plunge us into the abyss of a “no deal Brexit .”

Our knowledge of what Brexit entails from the single market and customs union to the Irish border is vastly enlarged. Facts have replaced claims. There has been no recession. But the value of our currency has fallen around 10-15 per cent — a prediction by the international markets of decline in our future wealth. Investment confidence in the UK is negative, the motor industry alone down by 40 per cent. Prices are up. The financial sector is moving jobs. And, no, we will not be seeing a £350 million weekly boost to the NHS. Instead, we are spending billions preparing for Brexit plus paying a £40 billion bill to Europe.

At a minimum, this thing has turned out to be much more complicated than anyone thought in June 2016.

In these circumstances it is natural common sense to ask: in the light of all we know now, is the will of the British people still for Brexit or to remain part of Europe?

The case for the People’s Vote is now overwhelming. The real betrayal of the country would be refusing it.

There have been two years of frankly fruitless negotiations. We are not agreed with Europe or among ourselves. There are at least three different versions of what the 2016 Brexit mandate means. The Chequers proposal is the least popular version on offer, polling miserably. Yet this is what our Government is threatening to stampede through Parliament or else plunge us into the abyss of a “no deal Brexit .”

Our knowledge of what Brexit entails from the single market and customs union to the Irish border is vastly enlarged. Facts have replaced claims. There has been no recession. But the value of our currency has fallen around 10-15 per cent — a prediction by the international markets of decline in our future wealth. Investment confidence in the UK is negative, the motor industry alone down by 40 per cent. Prices are up. The financial sector is moving jobs. And, no, we will not be seeing a £350 million weekly boost to the NHS. Instead, we are spending billions preparing for Brexit plus paying a £40 billion bill to Europe.

At a minimum, this thing has turned out to be much more complicated than anyone thought in June 2016.

In these circumstances it is natural common sense to ask: in the light of all we know now, is the will of the British people still for Brexit or to remain part of Europe?

This solution is the only route to salvation. For the country, if Britain votes again for Brexit, that is the conclusion of the matter. Then we set about making a new future for the country.

By contrast, the Chequers proposal will not end anything. The Brexiteers have made it clear that they will carry on the fight after March 2019 to secure a harder Brexit. My side will use the halfway house of Chequers as a stepping stone back into Europe.

For the Conservative Party, the People’s Vote is a way of ridding themselves of the Europe question which has bedevilled them and on which they’re irredeemably divided. Ironically, separate it out in a new referendum and they’re completely united in fighting today’s Labour Party.

As for Labour, its members are massively in favour of a People’s Vote. The drama around the Salzburg summit has obscured why we are where we are in the Brexit debacle.

At the heart of Brexit is a myth: that we don’t control our own laws. The reality is we do. We have created the NHS and could abolish it. Have tuition fees or scrap them. Put taxes up or down. Spend more or spend less. Shut down all immigration from outside Europe or not. Declare war or make peace. Be tough on crime or be softer.

We had a Labour government in the Seventies when Britain was part of Europe, nationalising, taxing heavily and giving trade unions power. We had a Thatcher government in the Eighties which privatised, hammered unions and cut tax. Today we could have a Conservative Government under Jacob Rees-Mogg or a Labour one under Jeremy Corbyn — and let us agree that their consequences would be very different.

The laws where we have chosen to be constrained are those arising from the single market, a unique trading construct where Europe does not merely abolish tariffs — a conventional trade agreement — but has created a unified regulatory regime, with standards and specifications the same between London and Paris as they are between London and Newcastle. This allows a car manufacturer in Britain to make and assemble parts using plants all over Europe and sell the car in one big market of 450 million people, not one of 65 million.

“If we lose access to the single market and go to a Canada-style free trade agreement we will pay a heavy price”

Because those laws sometimes give rise to disputes and 28 different countries are involved, they’re settled by the European Court.

For more than three decades we have been trading in this market. A huge network of interrelated commerce has grown up around it.

What Britain is seeking to do with Brexit is what no other modern developed nation has ever tried: to de-liberalise its trade by exiting its main trading agreement, the single market, only to re-liberalise it by other means.

The problem with Brexit is Brexit. At its core is this dilemma which the Government has struggled with from the beginning and never resolved, not because they’re incompetent — though some of the negotiating has been that — but because there is no resolution.

If we lose access to the single market and go to a Canada-style free trade agreement we will pay a heavy price. And there will be a hard border in Northern Ireland. Theresa May’s criticism of Boris Johnson’s position is right.

On the other hand, if we don’t pull out of the single market, we will remain bound by its rules, the rationale for Brexit disappears and so the Johnson criticism of May is also right.

The dilemma — “what’s the price vs what’s the point” — is the reason for the breakdown in the negotiations and the absence of consensus in the country. Neither is palatable. The issue is: if that’s the choice, do the people prefer to leave or stay in the EU?

The idea that there will be riots in the street if we ask them is fatuous. The opposition to such a vote is not fear of defying the people but, 30 months the wiser as to what Brexit really means, fear of what they might say.

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