We are now agreed on the method
London4Europe Committee member Michael Romberg writes that at last the Remain movement has come round to the one right method for stopping Brexit. Now we must agree on the aim.
Past marches have been generally anti-hard-Brexit/ anti-Brexit/ pro-EU. That’s fine. But that did not – and could not – achieve anything. Without unity of purpose nothing can be achieved. Because the 23 June march is a march agreed on a strategic method it has at least a chance of success.
Something to learn from UKIP
We need to learn from the most successful political movement of recent British history: UKIP. They were always very clear about what they wanted (out of the EU) and how they were going to get it (a referendum).
If Brexit happens then that they never bothered to define what Brexit meant or its purpose would be a major problem in realising whatever it was that they hoped to get out of it. But for campaigning purposes that did not matter.
We need to unite on an aim as well as on a method
We are half-way there. We have pretty well agreed on the strategic method: a referendum on the terms of Brexit with the option to Remain. The arguments against referenda do not stack up. A general election won’t cut it. What was begun with a referendum can only be settled with another referendum.
But some of us – including the European Movement and, you guessed it, me - are for Remain; others – for example Open Britain – are for a soft Brexit.
Until we have a single message the two strands will undercut each other. Support for the referendum is just a marriage of convenience between two incompatible ends. Just as with Brexit (think Global-Britain and end-immigration) it will end in tears.
Those who are campaigning for a soft Brexit because they think it is the best we can get also need to accept it will not happen. Labour’s June 2018 refusal to support membership of the European Economic Area as a negotiating objective makes that clear. The time to soften Brexit is in the negotiations in the transition period, if we do Leave. The job now is to stop Brexit.
(Those who sincerely prefer Norway-style EEA membership to EU membership should of course continue to campaign for what they believe in. I disagree with them of course, but my opposition in this article is to tactical support for EEA.)
Five months or so to the Meaningful Vote. So:
- It’s time for unity of purpose: Remain.
- It’s time for unity of strategic method: a referendum on the terms with the option to Remain.
Blogs on this page reflect the views of the author and not necessarily those of London4Europe.