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Tag Archives: second referendum

Should a second referendum happen before the General Election and what should accompany Remain on the ballot?

Some have suggested that an interim abC Prime Minister (abC = anyone but Corbyn), appointed by parliament after dismissing Johnson in a vote of no confidence, should hold a second referendum before a General Election. If the idea of this is to end the Brexit issue before an election, I think it is misguided for one simple reason. Johnson is likely to boycott the referendum. The reason is straightforward. Brexit is the issue that could win him the General Election. If the polls are correct and...

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Why the UK cannot see that Brexit is utterly, utterly stupid

If you talk to almost anyone overseas, except those at the right wing extreme (like Trump) or part of a tiny minority of the left, their reaction to Brexit is similar to the formerPrime Minister of Finland. What the UK is doing is utterly, utterly stupid. An act of self harm with no point, no upside. Now sometimes outside opinion is based on incomplete or biased information and should be discounted, but on Brexit it is spot on. So why are so many people in the UK unable to see what outsiders...

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How Leavers can believe that a People’s Vote is anti-democratic

How many times have you heard Brexiters, or Theresa May, argue that to hold a second referendum is impossible because people have already had a vote. The people have decided and the government is carrying out their instructions. To hold another referendum would break that contract between the people and government, and would as a result destroy the people’s faith in democracy. And so on. Some even say flatly that it is anti-democratic. When people put forward similar arguments I have found...

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MPs need to get real about Brexit

If, as is widely expected, MPs reject the deal that Theresa May has done with the EU, they will have put this country in a very dangerous position. I say this not to encourage acceptance of the deal, but to emphasise that this negative act needs to be accompanied by a collective positive one. If it isn’t then we either leave without any deal (an outcome that only the ill informed, the mad and the Brexiter wish for) or MPs will just end up accepting May’s deal. Like annoying noise on a railway...

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On the many meanings of ‘politically impossible’, with applications to Brexit

Many people, and perhaps particularly economists, will have been told at some point that whatever policy idea they are trying to put forward may make perfect sense but doing it is ‘politically impossible’. Sometimes this has some real meaning which the proposer needs to address, but sometimes the statement can stand for little more than village gossip, or the wisdom of crowds, where the village or crowd is Westminster, Washington or wherever. Take, for example, simplifying the tax system. Any...

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If May loses her Brexit vote, what happens next?

If the withdrawal agreement is defeated in parliament (due to too many Brexiters and Tory Remainers voting against and not enough Labour rebels voting with May) what happens next? Answering that question has some impact on whether the agreement with the EU will be voted down, of course. As I noted in an earlier post, what May says will happen before the vote will have virtually no implications for what actually happens because May has no interest in keeping her word. I want to pursue one...

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The Next Referendum Question

I wrotein January about the “unanswerable case” for a referendum on the Withdrawal Agreement (it is not a second referendum but nor is it a referendum on the final deal), and I have not changed my mind in the slightest. To say such a referendum would not be democratic is self-contradictory. I personally would be happy for parliament alone to call a halt to Brexit, but if MPs believe that to do so would be seen as undemocratic then we have to have a referendum on the Withdrawal Agreement (WA)....

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When two mass movements clash

Last week saw leading lights in one mass movement, the Labour party, attack elements of another mass movement, those who want to remain in the EU. What led to this attack seemed to be postersissued by an organisation called OFOCdepicting John McDonnell in the pocket of arch Brexiter Jacob Rees-Mogg. My own view is that these poster were a waste of money and hardly worth bothering with. But leading lights in the Labour movement tried to suggest to grass roots Remain supporters that they are...

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Amendment wars and Corbyn wars

In the real world, UK business is tearing its hair out not knowingwhat on earth Brexit is going to look like. The EU warnsits manufacturers about the dangers of sourcing parts from UK firms if the UK leaves the Customs Union, as Theresa May intends. Meanwhile the UK cabinet continues its arguments about which plan to choose out of two the EU has already rejected. And Remain twitter talked about Corbyn betrayal. While May is definitely in fantasy land, Remain twitter was also a little behind...

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Remain fundamentalism

An argument I have often heard is why are people talking about getting a softer Brexit (by staying in the Customs Union (CU) or Single Market (SM) for example) when what we should be doing is staying in the EU. There is a more extreme version of this which says that attempts to get a soft Brexit are dangerous, because they make the prospect of remaining in the EU less likely. I will call this more extreme position Remain fundamentalism. I want to argue against Remain fundamentalism by...

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